Lights. Camera. Action.
The time to enter the promised land is here and the Israelites do it. And they do it with the wondrous strength and awesome display of God’s majestic power.
God’s newly appointed leader Joshua has taken charge. God promises him that He would be with him just as He was with Moses…and….no surprise….God is faithful to His word.
I do not have time to go into every wonderful detail in this book but want to briefly share a couple of things that really stood out to me.
1. Make an effort to remember God’s faithfulness.
Just as God parted the Rea Sea under Moses’ leadership, God now parted the Jordan river during its high flood season under Joshua’s leadership. But this time God had the Israelites do something different. Each of tribes were to collect a piece of stone/rock from the center of the river bed (which they had just walked across) so that those stones will serve as a reminder of God’s faithfulness in parting the river en route to the promised land. And those stones of remembrance were intact for years after that.
What stones of remembrance have you collected over the years? How have you collected them? One such “stone” of remembrance for me is a butterfly shaped pillow. It was given to me by a dear friend during a very poignant and precious season in my life when God was doing a deep trans-formative work in my heart. During this season I felt as if I was going through a complete spiritual metamorphosis where my old self was being stripped away and new life was emerging. And the butterfly which rises out of a cocoon symbolized that transformation. I still have that butterfly (actually one of my kids have it along with their stuffed toy collection) and every time I see it, I am reminded of God’s faithfulness to me during that season of transformation.
2. God does not take sides.
Before the Israelites could conquer Jericho, Joshua has this awesome encounter with someone who refers to himself as “the captain of the army of the Lord”. Joshua finds himself on holy ground and is asked to take off his sandals (not unlike Moses during the burning bush encounter). In this state of awe and fear at the same time, as Joshua inquires if this person was “for them or against”, he gets the simple reply “neither”.
This used to puzzle me a lot. Why would the Lord not give a straight answer to Joshua’s question? Wasn’t it obvious that God was on the side of Israel and against the Canaanites? After all the Israelites were gonna win and the Canaanites were gonna lose.
But now I have a glimpse of revelation on what this means. God does not take sides. However it is up to each one of us to choose if we will be on God’s side or not. If the Israelites were to love and obey God like they were commanded, then they will continue to reap the favor and blessings of God. If the Canaanites recognize the Lord as the true God and follow Him, then they too are welcome to be on God’s side and reap the blessings of God’s family (like how Rahab and her family did).
With that, I will leave you with one of the final words of Joshua before he dies…
And now, here is a short video by The Bible Project team that covers the overall theme and topics of the book of Joshua using easy to understand illustrations. And if you wonder about all the fighting and bloodshed the conquest of enemies involved, then this is highly recommended because this video does a also helps one to look at those events from a different interpretive lens.
And now that I have (hopefully) piqued your interest to explore more about Joshua and his many adventures leading the Israelites to conquer the promised land, here is rest of the info for you to embark on this journey on your own….
God demonstrates He faithful to fulfill His promises by leading the Israelites into the promised land and conquering all of His enemies with mighty display of power as long as His people are faithful to love and obey Him.
Weekly Reading Plan
And if you want to read more during the week, here is the weekly plan:
If you want to dig deeper here are some of my suggestions:
- Read full text suggested above noting how often the “Lord said” something to Joshua. What other patterns stand out for you in the narrative?
- Read Psalm 77. Note how verse 11 changes the tone of the Psalmist midway. What does the Psalmist do in verses 11 and 12 that helps change his “pity party” into one of hope?
- Read Micah 6:5. Why does Micah ask the people to remember their journey in the wilderness?
- Optional: Read Psalms 31-33
And that is it for week 11!
Happy Bible Learning!