“And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the LORD God of your fathers hath given you?”
Under the leadership of Joshua, the occupation of Canaan was under way. Cities were being conquered. Several of the tribes were busy subduing the land of their inheritance. The tabernacle was set up at Shiloh. Yet, there were tribes that had done nothing in regard to their inheritance. In the words of Joshua, they were “slack to go to possess the land.”
We cannot know all the reasons for their inactivity, but we can be sure that in the mind of Joshua, it was time to get serious about their responsibilities. We can all learn from this passage. Joshua’s question needs to be answered in our hearts. “How long are ye slack?” The word “slack” usually describes idleness, procrastination, or slothfulness. Just as the children of Israel were not to be idle about their responsibilities, we are not to be idle about ours.
Personally, I doubt if there has ever been a time in my Christian journey when I could not benefit by honestly doing an evaluation to identify slackness in my life. Have we not all been guilty of putting off things we know we should do? Are we aggressively seeking to advance the kingdom of God, as we should? Does our prayer time reflect the faith and urgency that the needs of the world demand? Have we been diligent to search the Scriptures and study the Word of God? Excuses and procrastination can result in wasted hours, wasted days, and wasted years. Joshua’s question was, “How long?” He did not want the children of Israel to become comfortable in their idleness. It is one thing to rest when weary from the fight; it is another thing to be idle and disengaged from the purpose God has for us.
Often God will use His servants, the preachers of the Word of God, to stir us from our apathy and indifference and to motivate us to service. One day, our day for duty will cease. We must be motivated to diligent service. There will come a time when our opportunity is over for occupying the land or possessing our inheritance. We cannot afford to wait or be idle. “How long” will we be slack about our solemn responsibility to our generation? What we are going to do for the cause of Christ and the help of lost souls must be done now.