Joshua was one of the greatest warriors of the Bible, faithful, courageous and constant. And here he is addressing the Israelites as he is near death.
Since he wandered in the wilderness with them for 40 years, he has a solid idea of how easily they can turn their backs on God; how quickly they defer to what they can see rather than the God in which they should place their faith. So here he is trying to encourage them... to stir up their faith to continue possessing the promised land. For though he conquered much as their leader, there were still enemies in the land God promised to give them.
And Joshua reminds them of the miraculous victories BECAUSE the Lord fought for them. So it's tragic to see, after his death, that they failed to remember long term.
The Lord was with Judah and enabled them to take possession of the hill country, but they could not drive out the people who were living in the valley because those people had iron chariots.
And God was still with the Israelites. Judah, the leading tribe for all the warriors was to take possession of the hill country. We read that God ENABLED them. That means He empowered them to do this. And just as before, they could have seen the victory of the Lord. But instead they backed down BECAUSE of what they saw... iron chariots. These are war chariots. And to be sure they must have been very intimidating. Since the Israelites had no such means of war, this must have reminded them of Egypt. For their ancestors were slaves under the Egyptians who also had chariots.
But God does't want us to focus on the seen. God doesn't want us to look back at our former captive life to trouble. He is still with us... enabling us to take possession of the life of abundance He planned.
Let us not, like the men of Judah, back down at the sight of iron chariots... at the sight of something overwhelming that is a temporary threat. God, our eternal Champion, will fight for us, and He will do so in a very visible way... if we will only let Him.
I've heard people say that the Old Testament is irrelevant; that since we now have the New Testament, grace now overrides anything that was written in the Old Testament.
But that's simply not true.
Yes, we live in an age of grace were we no longer need to take animals to the priest for a sacrifice to cover our sins. And I am grateful for the Lamb who was slain for me... Jesus Himself, our Good Shepherd transformed His role to be the offering which erased my sin and shame.
But that does not negate or replace all the wonders of the Old Testament. In fact, it amplifies them. It brings to light the difficulties and struggles people had without the Holy Spirt living in them. It shows the faithfulness of a God who chased after His people over, and over, and over again.
And it demonstrates the unfailing love of God who keeps His promises. Let us never deny the totality of the Bible as a holy word from God. It is living and active and powerful to save our souls.
The Old Testament cries out to be joined with the New, showing the cycle of redemption that God planned before time began. And still, He has made good on every promise, been true in each covenant and fulfilled everything prophesied thus far.
Our God is Unfailing in His Word to us. How many people can you say that about? Unfailing... He has never failed, never been less than, never lacked.
Let us magnify His Holy name.
For He is certainly worthy of worship.
He is absolutely fitting for praise.
Caleb is truly an amazing man. One of the first 12 spies to enter the promise land 45 years prior, he and Joshua go way back.
And here he is, 85 years old and still as strong and faithful as he was back then. For he stood firm in his desire to enter the land. And Joshua agreed. But those other ten spies spread a bad report... and the Israelites listened and feared these inhabitants.
So Caleb and Joshua were bound to those thousands of complaining people in the wilderness for 40 years. And here, finally on the other side, Joshua is privileged to bless Caleb with his long awaited inheritance.
How awesome is our God who keeps promises. How great is He who rewards those loyal to Him. And how faithful is He who stays with us in the battle. For God blessed Caleb with long life and strength as if he were still forty.
Caleb drove out from there the three sons of Anak: Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai, descendants of Anak. From there he marched against the inhabitants of Debir whose name used to be Kiriath-sepher...
Caleb conquered because God rewarded him for his loyalty. Let us be thankful that when we are loyal to God, He will strengthen us for the battles of life. And He will reward us.
The Lord kept.
The land had rest.
How generous is our God. He is good for His word. For just as He promised to Abraham, He gave the land to his descendants through the leading of Moses.
The Lord spoke to Moses: “Go, leave here, you and the people you brought up from the land of Egypt, to the land I promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying: I will give it to your offspring.
We too have a promise of inheritance.
So then, brothers, we are not obligated to the flesh to live according to the flesh, for if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. All those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, and if children, also heirs--heirs of God and coheirs with Christ—seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.
Let us receive strength and courage from the Spirit, that we may live... no longer slaves to our feelings. Let us take hold of what Jesus died to give us. For God is faithful to keep His promises, leading, guiding and giving.
Then we too can rest in the land in which we live.
Abba Father, I thank You that I can trust in Your promises. Strengthen me today and give me courage to trust fully in You as the Giver of all good things. Lead me and guide me away from my feelings and into Your will for my life.
Thank You for adopting me as Your child. I desire to take what You have offered and rest from all my striving. I accept You as my Generous Relief. In Jesus name, Amen!
Ever feel outnumbered? Like everyone and everything is against you and you can't seem to catch a break?
Believe it or not, God is on your side, rooting for you, eager for you to win. Just look here at Joshua and the Israelites. Not perfect people by any stretch of the imaginations, but led by a man who greatly desired to fight for the glory of God to be revealed.
This was not a battle that Joshua began. In fact, this was a war waged by five kings who heard about the victories of the Israelites and how God was fighting for them, and they were afraid. These kings didn't want to be defeated by this miraculous army whom God led out of Egypt, so they banded together in an attempt to outnumber them. These five kings actually picked on another city first, knowing that Joshua had made a treaty with them... hoping to rope the Israelites into another war.
So I'm guessing Joshua might have felt like we do when everything seems to be going wrong... when you think you're doing it right, but you still feel attacked on all fronts. Even getting ambushed by new problems you never expected. Even when you're just trying to help others out, like Joshua was for this city with whom he had made a treaty.
But God was on his side... as He is on ours. And He told Joshua not to fear, but to be courageous...
The Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them, for I have handed them over to you. Not one of them will be able to stand against you.”
And here, even as the war was raging, God sent a hail storm. But the miraculous part is that it killed only the enemy and not the Israelites. In fact, more of the opposing men were killed by hail than by the sword.
Because God had told Joshua that He would fight for them... that they would have victory. But who could have seen this crazy hail coming as the way to win? But that's how God often does things. He steps in and fights for us when He knows we are doing our best for Him. And He doesn't want us to get a big head afterward, like we did it all ourself... like we won without Him. He wants the credit... because He's God and deserves it.
So what is it that is standing in your way to victory? One enemy or many? One frustration or multiple? God wants to help you have victory, He wants to see you succeed. He is only waiting for you to call upon Him for help.
Then wait to see what our Miraculous Victor has in store. It may take you by surprise... it may take you're enemy by storm.
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