Short Thought continued.....
The Promised Land
When Joshua was entrusted by the Lord with leading the Israelites
after the death of Moses, He speaks this promise over him:
“No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live.
For I will be with you as I was with Moses.
I will not fail you or abandon you.”
(Joshua 1:5 NIV)
Imagine the nation of Israel at this time:
They have a new leader, Joshua, to respect.
They have the Book of Instruction, handed on by Moses, to obey.
They spied the land across the Jordan.
They are prepared, purified and poised.
A new generation of Israelites stand on the land promised to their ancestor Abram.
I cheer them on: “They have made it at last! Surely life will be easier here.”
I want them to settle, rest in the ‘land of milk and honey’.
This is not how their story goes.
They re-establish covenant ceremonies. The Lord declares:
“I have given you Jericho, its king, and all its strong warriors...”
(Joshua 6:2 NIV)
Then He gives precise instructions how to do this.
They follow His instructions: Jericho falls.
Still I cheer:” Hooray! They’ve destroyed the city. Life will be easier now.”
Yet this is not how their story continues.
The Lord leads His people into battle after battle.
Kingdoms fall, territory is taken, and the land begins to be established as Israel’s.
Near the end of his life, the Lord speaks to Joshua:
“You are growing old, and much land remains to be conquered...
I myself will drive these people out of the land ahead of the Israelites.
So be sure to give this land to Israel as a special possession, just as I have commanded you.”
(Joshua 13:1b, 6b)
Cities of refuge are designated.
Land is divided amongst the tribes according to God’s instructions.
Joshua leads the Israelites to renew their covenant with God,
and dies at the ripe old age of 110.
What an amazing witness to our God that he served.
God clearly upheld His promise to Joshua.
Even now I cheer: “Great, they’ve made it. Life will get better.”
This is not how their story ends.
Their need to fight, to stand firm, to follow God and to obey His instructions
continues throughout their history, through Jesus’ story into yours and mine.
It’s not easy to possess that which God has promised.
Yet I want it to be.
When life is hard, I get discouraged. I tend to assume I am wrong,
or am being disobedient, or haven’t heard God properly.
I believe that my perspective is wrong.
Jesus warns us: ... “on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.
But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NLT)
When I see my life through the lens of Joshua’s, through the words of Jesus
then what is revealed is that our stories are about PURPOSE not ease:
the purpose of a loving God to bring about His plans for our lives.