Well, faithful readers, I realized that we started this venture into the book of Joshua back in June. If you’ve hung in with me that long, thank you.
We come now to a very difficult aspect of God’s plan to understand. That little piece of land that we now call Israel, has long been the land God told Abraham he would inherit. The land was promised, thus the Promised Land.
Early on, when Joseph brought the family to Egypt to survive the famine, they stayed over 400 years. God provided the way for them to return. However, in that time, other people groups had come in and inhabited the land, Canaanites, Amorites, and all the other “ites.” These were idol worshipers, not God-fearing people, not one-God believers.
God determined that Joshua be the commander to conquer the land and God would be with them. That sounds noble. Sure enough, God gave the instructions to march around Jericho and with a shout,
… the walls collapsed; so every man charged straight in, and took the city. Joshua 6:20b
And somehow that sounds noble, until we consider what happened.
They devoted the city to the Lord and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep, and donkeys. Joshua 6:21
I picture women running and screaming, children crying, men grabbing their swords, and animals making frantic bleating and roaring sounds, not to mention blood everywhere. It makes “taking the city” not seem quite so noble.
In our post-Jesus world, we find it difficult to understand this kind of a command. No wonder that God urged Joshua to “be strong and courageous.”
There would come a time, centuries later, when they stayed in a disobedient attitude for too long and were exiled from their precious land into Babylonia.
Still, God chose these people, fickle though they were at times, to be the ones to carry His laws and His love to all the world. They must understand God’s power, His omnipotence, His demand to worship no other gods, even as they rested in His provisions for them.
We would do well to grasp more of His Sovereignty ourselves. (Notice the word reign in that word.) Unless we behold and obey Him, we too could fall into self-centered life-styles, shifting attitudes of disobedience, failing to love Him with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind, and failing to love our neighbors as ourselves—the essence of God’s Ten Commandments, which Jesus repeated.
Joshua would end up following God’s command and continued taking over other towns and cities with God’s help until they were finally able to establish twelve areas for the twelve tribes. You will find all of that in the latter chapters of Joshua.
Joshua died at age 110.
Israel served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had experienced everything the Lord had done for Israel. Joshua 24:31
Well done, good and faithful servant.
~ Joyce ~