Joshua 12 details the kings that the Children of Israel had to defeat to occupy the promised land. I think I often heard the promise, heard the story of God showing them the land and telling them it was their's, and imagined that they just moved right in. I knew there were people there, and I heard about the wars that were fought, I do not think it ever REALLY struck me that they had to FIGHT for the land that God had designated for and promised to them. Why not just hand it over? Well, technically He did. As long as they followed and obeyed Him, and gave Him the glory, they never had to worry about being defeated, but they still had to fight the fight. They still had to go through the battles to take full advantage of all that God had promised.
I do not know why this was the case. Maybe the fact that we always cherish more what we have to work for. Maybe to help detour other nations from trying to take over, seeing as they may be less likely to attack a nation that has defeated so many already. But I do know this. We have promises from God today, just as they did then. These promises will not be just handed to us. We may have to fight battles to get to them as well. (Keep in mind I am not talking about salvation. That is ours, a gift to be accepted only and never taken away. We do not and cannot earn that, no matter what we do, so He gives it as a gift, we only have to accept it.) Promises, based on what we see with Israel, may be different. We might have to suffer through illness, poverty, sadness, or any number of things before we can fully enjoy whatever the Lord had promised. However, as long as we keep our eyes on Him, obey Him, and give Him the glory, we can be assured we WILL win, even if winning doesn't look like exactly what we thought it might.