By Kelly Carr
This week we begin a three-part series looking at the time when Israel finished wandering in the desert and finally were able to enter into the land God had promised them. We will delve into the books of Joshua, Judges, and Ruth.
Not Move-In Ready
The thing that strikes me as I look through the book of Joshua is the process by which the Israelites had to take over the land. When I hear the term “promised land,” it sounds like an easy gift to receive: “Oh, look! Here is this great acreage that’s been waiting for us. And it’s move-in ready!”
However that was not the case. God’s people had work to do in order to accept their present from him. The land wasn’t empty—there were inhabitants to oust! Instead of sensing relief like a light at the end of the tunnel (“Yay, we’re here!”), that light was really an oncoming train (“Armies and battles and ambush—oh my!”).
But the Lord was with Israel and caused their enemies to melt in fear (Joshua 2:24). And he had some pretty creative ways of making his people victorious—he knocked down Jericho’s wall through the Israelites’ marching, shouting, and trumpet blasts (6:20); another time he threw hailstones at the enemy during battle (10:11). (I hope God has a recording of these events for us to watch when we get to Heaven, don’t you?)
A Little Intimidating
To make it through such battles and take possession of their land, the Israelites needed a strong and godly leader. Joshua was that person.
I’m sure it was more than a little intimidating for Joshua to step in after Moses’ leadership. “For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel” (Deuteronomy 34:12). Um, yeah—that’s nerve-wracking; nothing like having people’s expectations ramped up before taking charge. They wouldn’t make any negative comparisons, right?
But whatever Joshua was feeling, he projected confidence (Joshua 1:6-9). Perhaps it was because he was filled with God’s spirit of wisdom (Deuteronomy 34:9). Joshua trusted in God’s promises and abilities rather than his own. He had seen God in action and had no doubts.
I’m always impressed by Joshua’s trust in the Lord. From the moment he stepped up to lead (Joshua 1) to the moment he said farewell (Joshua 23, 24), his words were filled with faith in the amazing might of the one true God.
What a lesson for us today. Read Joshua’s words when you feel inadequate for a task. He was one motivational speaker. I’m often hesitant about stepping forward, but Joshua’s speeches would have persuaded me to take on any challenge.
We can feel the same confidence as Joshua, no matter what battles we face, because we serve the same God. God has not changed in the years since the Israelites settled in the promised land. He remains mighty. He remains a holy and jealous God. And he continues to be with us wherever we go.