Establishing Our Godly Inheritance
Dr. Valson Abraham
In December 2011, ABC News carried the story of an anonymous Kansas City woman who received $6.1 million, the largest unclaimed money award in U.S. history. Generations ago, her ancestors had invested in a long-forgotten company, and she was the lawful beneficiary of all that had accumulated. The story also said that throughout the U.S., $32 billion of unclaimed money is waiting for its rightful owners. Sometimes, those waiting funds can be huge.
The lesson here is obvious: when we do not claim our inheritance, we may lose out-big time.
The Bible tells us that His chosen people lost out on their inheritance-big time. God gave to them the land promised to their forefather Abraham hundreds of years earlier. Claim all the inheritance, God told them through Joshua, their leader, and they would drive out all their foes. But if they compromise their integrity, make alliances with godless people, disobey the laws and marry pagan women, they would suffer indescribable hardships.
Israel’s inheritance from a gracious God went beyond value in time and money. God’s great inheritance carries with it great blessings that can bless untold numbers of peoples. This is always God’s heart-to bless as many people as possible with the inheritance He gives us. Anything less than the best becomes a snare, a trap, a whip on our backs and thorns in our eyes.
But history shows that the Israelites forsook the blessing of God. They compromised with the world. They forsook the precious inheritance of God for what is passing and trivial.
They forgot God. The nature of God’s inheritance includes not only what He gives, but reflects the nature of God Himself. With God, inheritance is always relational, because God is relational.
How do we secure the inheritance that God has given to each of us? God shows us in Numbers 33:52-53.
First, we must conquer that which opposes the will of God. Even as God commanded the Israelites to drive out all the Canaanites, we must drive out everything that would compromise our relationship with God. We must destroy all things that tempt and distract us from our relationship with God. We must bring down all false gods that compete with the true and living God. We must leave no room for anything that would compromise with evil.
The flesh must be put to death and buried, not place it in a museum where it distracts us, but in a place where we will never see it again. We are to destroy anything and everything that reminds us of evil.
We do this, not by treating ourselves or others unkindly, but by renewing our minds through the power of the Word of God. We drive out evil and lies by replacing them with the truth of God’s Word. We replace bad habits with good habits.
All of this takes time, like a woman giving birth to a baby. Personal growth, or the growth of a healthy church, involves birth pangs. It involves a long process in which many changes take place. Sometimes, there are difficulties and complications. Not everything goes smoothly, but often in fits and starts. Growing a baby or church can even be painful. Sometimes the baby becomes sick. It is easy to become impatient or discouraged at such times. But God never becomes impatient or discouraged with His children as long as they want to grow and mature. God’s problem with the Israelites was not that He lost His patience but the Israelites stopped learning and growing.
Claiming our inheritance always means building a strong and healthy church. Even as a house has a strong foundation, so also a strong church has its strong foundation in the Word of God. Building a strong house takes time, effort, patience, and a skillful builder. A strong house depends upon a strong structure on a strong foundation. The structure that is not riddled by termites and other defects. In the same way, the church must rid itself of all false gods, false teaching and sin that eat away the message of God’s Word and compromises the church’s witness to the world.
But unlike a house, the church is alive and organic. It is made up primarily of people, not of static traditions. A strong church must remain flexible to make sure that the Gospel is preached in ways that communicate effectively with the present generation. What worked yesterday may not work today. What works today may not communicate in another 50 years.
There is a strong temptation not to change, but we must resist that temptation. The message always remains the same, but the means of delivery is constantly changing because the world around us is changing.
Like the Israelites, God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing. He chose us before He created the universe. He has adopted us as His children. He has redeemed and forgiven us. He has showered upon us the riches of His grace. He has given us an inheritance whose height, depth, width and breadth are without measure. He made this available to each of us at no cost for us but the highest cost for Himself.
“Delight yourself in the Lord,” writes David, the man after God’s own heart. Become enamored with the perfections of God. Let God’s perfections become the model for the way you live your life.
God’s inheritance exceeds monetary value. What He is willing to give exceeds our ability to imagine. God is delighted when we take His challenge to stretch our imaginations to take in all of His grace and claim all our inheritance.
There are still millions of people in India and elsewhere who need to know God’s inheritance for them. Let us make sure that they do not miss out on what God intends for them!