Numbers 34:1-5 “The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Command the people of Israel, and say to them, When you enter the land of Canaan (this is the land that shall fall to you for an inheritance, the land of Canaan as defined by its borders), your south side shall be from the wilderness of Zin alongside Edom, and your southern border shall run from the end of the Salt Sea on the east. And your border shall turn south of the ascent of Akrabbim, and cross to Zin, and its limit shall be south of Kadesh-barnea. Then it shall go on to Hazar-addar, and pass along to Azmon. And the border shall turn from Azmon to the Brook of Egypt, and its limit shall be at the sea.’”
As the nation of Israel prepared to enter the Promised Land, God instructed Moses as to what the borders of their land would be. All of this was land controlled by the ungodly before Israel entered. The people of that land had reached a point in which God could no longer say as He had to Abraham when prophesying this very moment “the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet full (Genesis 15:16).” You see, “the Amorites” in this statement typified the entire Canaanite civilization, of which the Amorites were one part. Now it was God’s people who were to enter the land and exert His influence upon it. God gave very specific instructions as to the borders of the land which they were to occupy.
So, what does this have to do with you and me? As believers, has God given us land to occupy? Are there places where we are to take His influence, places that are now under the control of those who don’t know God? If so, where are those places? What are our boundaries? For an answer to this, we need only to look to Jesus’ last words to His disciples as He ascended into Heaven. At that moment Jesus told them that they were to “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation (Mark 16:15).” So, in a spiritual sense, there are no boundaries to the territory that believers are to occupy. While we aren’t called to physical warfare to occupy the cities and nations of this world, we are called to spiritual warfare using the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. As we preach God’s powerful Word wherever we go, we combat the lies of the enemy who has bound the people of this world in sin for their entire lives.
Yet, while God has told us to go into “all the world” to preach the life-giving gospel, there are limits to what any one person can do to fulfill this command. Each and every believer has a territory in which we are to operate spiritually. It may be our work place where few or none know Christ today. It may be our family, our neighborhood, or the places we go to recreate. It may even be a hospital room where we’ve suddenly found our self. Wherever God has placed you and me in the world today there is territory in which He wants us to work. He wants us to preach the gospel to every creature and thereby “occupy” that place with His Word. He wants us to upset the status quo there by preaching the gospel to those who may have never heard.
So, is that how you see yourself? Do you understand that God has placed you where you are at this time in your life to be a person through whom He can reach the lost in that place? As you enter each day and plan your travels, is it your prayer “that words may be given to (you) in opening (your) mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel (Ephesians 6:19).” If not, it should be, for our Lord has told us that we are to “Occupy (i.e., be about the work He has given us) till (He) come (Luke 19:13).”
May God give us eyes to see the “territory” in which we are to work, to minister, to share His Word, for it’s in those day-by-day battles for the truth that His kingdom advances one soul at a time.
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