Updated: Mar 31, 2022
Walkin' and Walkin' and Walkin' So' Mo'
Oh hey, short on time? No worries! I'd love to join you on your commute or daily walk/run, or shoot, even while you take care of that to-do list. We can't let these things get in the way of this friendship. It's just starting to get good! Click below to listen to the blogcast.
Quick recap from last week -
God delivered His people from Egypt by miraculously parting the Red Sea and drowning Pharaoh's armies.
In His great love and desire for relationship, God gives His people commands to follow and invites them to build a temporary tabernacle so He can dwell with them.
The Israelites do not trust God the first time they try to enter the promised land and God punishes them with 40 years of wandering.
Picking up where we left off last week, Moses is reminding them of the covenant God made and urging them to have faith as his time as their leader has come to an end. Guess who he hands the baton to?
Here's a hint - it's one of the spies who did not waver in his belief in God.
Yep, good ol' Joshua.
Then Moses went out and spoke these words to all Israel: “I am now a hundred and twenty years old and I am no longer able to lead you"... Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them... The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” - Deuteronomy 31:1-8
I have to think it's a baton kind of like a hot potato. We know, with great blessing comes great responsibility. Leading the people to the promised land won't be easy. First of all, this crew has a tendency to sin and complain. That alone is enough to put your finger on your nose real quick and say, "No's goes." (Or, is it "Nose goes"? I don't really know. But hopefully, you're still tracking with me.)
If the grumbling isn't enough, it's not like they get to walk into the land of Canaan and say, "This is our land; God said so" and all the people living there just respectfully leave in a single-file line. Not at all. What did God say through Moses, "Go in and take possession of it."
Faith must take action. There will be a battle.
Josh will need both strength and courage to lead God's people into the land He has promised them.
But, may we never forget, the victory belongs to the Lord!
Moses didn't get to enter the land God promised. He spent His whole life serving the Lord and didn't get to experience the promise He so fervently believed God for. Yet, God does something for Moses which draws me to my knees and anchors my heart directly to the heart of God every time -
God takes Moses on a high mountain and allowed him to see the land. Although he didn't get to enter it, God let him see it. And then, Moses is laid to rest - by God Himself! To this day, no one knows where Moses is buried because he was not buried by human hands.
The tenderness in that moment. Oh, can you imagine? God Himself lays the human body of a soul sold out in faithful obedience to Him to rest.
This story is one of wandering but it's one of God's patience and one of obedience. If the Israelites had trusted God the first time they approached the promised land, they would have entered from the southern desert. They could have walked in. Forty years of wandering later, they approached from the east where they had to cross the Jordan River. And get this, it was flood stage.
Hmm, maybe there's somethin' to be said about obeying God the first time...
Josh in the Lead
A new leader has been raised up. His name is Joshua. And now, they must conquer the city of Jericho. (If you're thinking, "Wait, Jericho? What about Canaan?," you're tracking just fine. Jericho is a city in Canaan.)
Again, spies are sent in. But this time, an unlikely woman named Rahab agrees to hide them in her home. After hearing of how He had parted the Red Sea and defeated the Amorites, she feared God. Rahab, though, is unlikely to join this holy story because of her past.
Could God really use a woman with such a scandalous past? One marked with prostitution?
Rahab is proof there is no sin is too deep for the love of the Father. There is no soul out of reach of heaven's arms. There is no past too costly the blood of Christ has not already paid for and redeemed.
Let's make a mental note about Rahab. We'll come back to her soon.
In return for keeping the spies safe, she asks for her and her family to be kept safe and be able to live after they conquer Jericho. The spies agree, and in order for the Israelites to identify her home, she is instructed to place a scarlet cord out her window.
This, my friend, is one of those moments in scripture which gives me goosebumps! I had heard this story many times before this connection became clear. Thinking about the scarlet cord being placed out her window for safety, does this remind you of anything we've talked about before? Perhaps another time we saw the color red placed on a home for death to pass over?
Yep, the blood of the spotless lamb back in the passover during the last plague in Egypt!
I'm tellin' ya, GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD. Everything ties together. (Get it? A cord tying everything together... Mmk, so if I have to explain my jokes they're not any good, but let's be glad I didn't try to make a lamb joke. Ya know, something like "...the blood of the spotless lamb baaaaaa-ck in the passover during the last plague in Egypt!")
(Insert soft smile. Around here, jokes are thrown in for free. You're welcome for that.)
Point being, nothing is coincidence!
Now, it's time for our shoes to get a little wet. The Israelites are all set to enter, but like we said, they have to cross the Jordan River at flood stage. Not as easy as it was intended to be the first time around. And, they're carrying something heavy.
Have you ever done a dumbbell press where you lift the weight over your head so that your elbows lock? Well, that's basically what they're doing - one long dumbbell press, but with the Ark of the Covenant above their shoulders.
As they enter the promise, God is with them. It's beautiful, isn't it?
God allows the water to stop as the priests (from the tribe of Levi - remember those twelve tribes) begin to walk through the Jordan River. Once they make it through, Josh commands one member of each tribe to get a rock so they can build a memorial.
In the same way we have memorials to remember events in history, they would build memorials to remember and remind future generations of God's faithfulness and how the river stopped flowing when the Ark of the Covenant went across.
So, step 1 of God's command is done. "Go in," check!
What's step 2? Ah, yes. "Take possession" aka time for a battle.
Joshua may be the General of this Israelite army but God is and forever will be the Commander in Chief. God tells them to walk around the walls of the city of Jericho for six days and on the seventh day to march around praising God with trumpets and singing.
Sounds like Navy Seal Combat Strategy 101, right?
Yeah, not in the least. But God's ways are not our ways. Josh knew what happened when they disobeyed before (led to 40 years of wandering) so even though this sounded completely crazy, he obeyed. And guess what?
The walls of Jericho came a tumblin' down!
Soon, the land is divided among the tribes - each get a plot except for the priests. (The priests come from the tribe of Levi, of which Moses' mother and father came from, and they do not get land because the Lord is considered their "land.") Then, of course, Joseph, as we remember, was Jacob's favorite son, and he doesn't get any land himself but his two sons (Manasseh and Ephraim) both get a plot. So in a way, Joseph gets a double blessing!
Anyone else have an Oprah picture in your head? The audience is made up of the tribes and Joshua saying, "You get land! You get land! You get land!..."
Before Joshua passes, he reminds the people of God to fear Him and to understand they must obey Him and revere Him as the one, true God. Choosing not to do this is choosing to step out of His protection.
Good stuff! We covered some ground ...literally!
May we find strength in the Word of God. May our joy for reading scripture grow as we intentionally choose to set aside time to spend reading it each day. May our peace overflow as the Word of God reads us and changes us from the inside out. Then, we will know rest this world can't give.
Remember how we said 5 minutes a day can change your day, your life and even your eternity? Well, here's what I'll be reading this week. I really hope you'll join me!
The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.
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