He must have wept. Meditations on Joshua 21:43-45

He must have wept as he wrote these words.

Thus the LORD gave to Israel all the land that He swore to give to their fathers. And they took possession of it, and they settled there. And the LORD gave them rest on every side just as He had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the LORD had given all their enemies into their hands. Not one word of all the good promises that the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.

Not one word of the good promises failed. Not. One. Word. What were Joshua’s thoughts as he scratched this on papyri? Did he think about the thousands of friends and family who died in the wilderness because of doubt or complaining? Did he think of his leader full-of-faith Moses who lead them through thick and thin behind the trail of the glory of the Lord? Did he wonder how Moses would have felt to write these words? Did he nudge his buddy Caleb, the only other survivor of their generation?

After leading battle after battle, having to kill kings and warriors, Joshua could finally write about the rest that God had now given them in the land that he promised them. Think about the acute perseverance it took for Joshua to get here. Think about the relentless pain and trials he had to endure. Think about the boundless trust and faith in YHWH he had to have in order to see this day.

Joshua knew what many of us either refuse to believe or have forgotten. When Joshua received command of Israel from YHWH following the death of Moses, God told him this,

Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses…Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inhereit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go…Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:3, 6-7, 9)”

Throughout the entire wandering, Joshua believed this to be true. When the command of Israel was given to him, he was reminded of these things and continued on in the truth of them. When all was said and done, and Israel had the land that God promised to them, Joshua points to the faithfulness of YHWH, not to the strength of his army’s might, for their complete success and rest. Joshua took the command of YHWH to trust him implicitly, he saw the promise that his faithful God was offering, and he trusted and believed. And God, as always, was faithful, fulfilling all of the promises given to the people of Israel.

Let me share some more Scripture with you:

2 Corinthians 1:20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.

Jude 1:25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

The promises given to Abraham, to Moses, to Joshua, to David, to Mary…to us…find their fulfillment in Jesus Christ alone. He has been promising and fulfilling promises throughout all ages, and He does not cease. He has promised to be faithful, and He will be faithful, no matter how tough and strange situations might be. Consider that Joshua saw literal giants in the promised land, yet he persevered in the commands of God to take the land because of the faithful character of the promising God. And God, not to the surprise of Joshua, proved Himself to be faithful. And as I am sure Joshua was overcome with emotion as he reflected upon the completed promises of God, my heart overflows with anticipation as I reflect upon the future promises of God surely coming to pass. We will one day be with Him in all of His glory in a place that has no more tears, no more sorrow, no more weeping (Rev. 21:4). One day we will see Him as He is because we will be like Him (1 John 3:2). One day every knee will bow and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:10).

Our God has not changed and He will not change.

I wait with unrivaled anticipation for the day that He returns and completes what He started so long ago.Until then, I go on fighting the battles He has called me to fight, loving the people He has called me to love (e.g. everybody), being the obedient God-fearing man He has called me to be because, like Joshua, I believe He is who He says He is and that He will do what He has said He will do.

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