August 19, 2012

Unfinished Work

Joshua 13:1-7

“There are still very large areas of land to be taken over.”
—Joshua 13:1


Your work is never done. You may relax a few hours after your workday, but soon the next day comes, and the factory, office, school, yard, field, and more summon you again. Even if your car or house is paid for, it requires maintenance and updating now and then. And if a wealthy relative dies and leaves you her property, there’s more work to do.

That’s how it is in God’s world. All his gifts—life, health, a good job, and especially forgiveness—come with fine print: they need regular attention, and batteries are not included.

In Joshua’s day, much remained to be done in the land; everything was not yet in submission to the Lord. The work of reclaiming the land for the Lord would keep Israel busy for years. In the meantime, God gave the tribes a place to call their own, to settle into as they continued to do the work God had called them to. And God would be their ever-present aid in this work of proclaiming his rule.

That’s how it is in God’s world. None of us is finished with God’s work. Christ’s disciples work every day to offer their bodies as living sacrifices to God (Romans 12:1), to pursue holiness “out of reverence for God” (2 Corinthians 7:1). They also make sure that the Word goes out to people who have not yet come to know the Lord. In the meantime, they have a place to call their own: the church, the body of Christ.

Thank you, Lord, for the time in worship to be reminded of our work for you. Give us strength for each day. Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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