January 20, 2014.
Daily Reading: Joshua 11-15.
Background: Joshua 6-10.
Concepts and Connections.
The Lord is in control: One of the most prominent themes that runs through the book of Joshua is God’s charge of “do not be afraid.” The first chapter of the book has this phrase several times as God is preparing Joshua to lead the children of Israel across the Jordan into the promised land. Now, as they continue to drive out the inhabitants of the land just as was commanded by the Lord through Moses, God once again encourages Joshua not to be afraid because He was in control. The fame (or infamy if you look at it from the perspective of the inhabitants of the land) of Israel had spread throughout the land and the people were becoming scared of the children of Israel. For this reason, they decided to band together to show a united force against their enemy. But even though their army numbered as sand on the sea shore, God told Joshua that He would deliver them into his hand. God is in control. He always has been and He always will be. There were mighty nations in the land of Canna, both giants and men of war. When they all banded together, they likely looked like an unstoppable force. But not compared to the Almighty, the One who made it all. We can pull from this chapter the fact that the Lord hold charge of everything, from major world decisions to guiding everyday life. No matter what we do, He will continue to be in control. It is up to us to decide whether or not we are going to be on His team.
Moses and Joshua: Before crossing the Jordan to enter the promised land, the children of Israel had fought other enemies along the way in the wilderness. Moses lead the people into battle just as Joshua did on the other side of the Jordan. Moses was a mighty figure in the sight of the people, and when Joshua took over, he had some big shoes to fill. This could be the reason that Joshua and Moses are compared to each other throughout the book. In this record keeping chapter, Moses and Joshua are directly compared by the wars they had won through the Lord against the people who had gone against them.
Finishing the job: Joshua was getting older and older, but the task of driving out the inhabitants of the land was yet to be complete. God came to Joshua to give him a little push, for his time was running out. The land had been promised to the seed of Abraham so long ago and the time had come to fulfill this promise. It was time to finish the job. Sometimes when we start on a project or a task, we will go at it consistently for a while, but then our productivity will fall off. We need to have that little push that gets us back on track to finish the job. Let us take a lesson from God’s words to Joshua here and use this as an encouragement to finish the task at hand, especially if it has to do with the work of the Lord.
Caleb’s reward: When the twelve original spies were sent out to spy out the land of Canna that the Lord was giving to the children of Israel, only two came back with a positive message (see Numbers 13). All the spies came back with a message of the beauty and prosperity of the land, but ten of the spies said that they would not be able to overcome the people. Caleb and Joshua believed that the Lord would be able to deliver them. Because of this faith, both Caleb and Joshua were blessed by being given the opportunity to enter the promised land when all the adults of their generation wouldn’t be able to. Caleb was specifically given the promise of a specific inheritance of the land, which is what he calls upon in this chapter. Caleb, now 85 years old, had the strength he did 40 years prior. More importantly, however, was the fact that he had the same faith in the Lord. He asked Joshua for the hill country of Hebron where the Anakim, a race of giants, dwelt. Caleb did not fear the giants for he knew that his God was bigger than them. Caleb trusted fully in the Lord, and for this he was blessed with his reward. We too need to put our full faith in the Lord just as Caleb did here. The Lord will reward us for such a faith.
The importance of the inheritance: As we are reading through the bible, sections like these are some of the hardest ones to get through. There are just a bunch of names and places that we have never heard of, or at the least don’t have a firm grasp on, and the list gets somewhat monotonous. However, to the Jews, these chapters of record keeping was very important. For those who are familiar with the promised land, these names of cities will actually mean something. There have been many maps made of the allotments of the inheritances of the Israelites, and these maps are very helpful for those who live in a different part of the world are are not as familiar with the cities and landmarks of the middle east. These are a good resource for us to use in conjunction with the chapters about giving out the inheritances, so that we don’t get lost in the words.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Psalm 6-8.
Be strong and courageous.