April 17, 2018
GOD HONORS THOSE WHO HONOR HIM
After the death of Moses, Joshua led the Israelites into the Promised Land. He followed the Lord’s instruction in assigning the land to his people. The lands were allotted according to the twelve tribes with one exception, the land allotted to Caleb. Caleb was one of the two men who had given a faithful report when Moses had sent twelve men into the land to spy it out. He and Joshua were the only two who returned with a good report, while the other ten gave a fearful one, causing the people to turn away and wander in the wilderness for the next 40 years. Caleb and Joshua were the only men still left alive from that whole generation. And God did not forget Caleb. The Lord “commanded” Joshua to assign land from Judah’s allotment to Caleb and in a fashion true to his character, the 85-year old Caleb chose the mountains where the giants of Anak dwelled.
So, Caleb was given the town of Hebron, the place where Abraham and the patriarchs had been buried in the Cave of Machpelah. For the Lord did not forget Caleb. As the Lord has said, “those who honor me I will honor” (1 Sam. 2:30).
April 21, 2017
Joshua, sensing that he was at the end of his days, called all the Israelite leaders from every tribe together to hear his final words. He and Caleb were the last of those who remembered their slavery in Egypt. He had witnessed the ten plagues. He knew the meaning of Passover first hand. He had crossed the Red Sea on dry ground. His thirst had been quenched with water from the Rock and his hunger satisfied for 40 years with a daily provision of manna from heaven. Some in their midst may have been children during those days, but Joshua and Caleb alone had experienced it as grown men. Joshua had been faithful as a servant to Moses, faithful to spy out the land and give a good report, and faithful to lead Israel after Moses’ death. Now Joshua was faithfully preparing to take the next step in his journey, he was going the “way of all the earth,” namely, he was about to die. Yet, his final words were to encourage his people to remain faithful to the Lord, just as the Lord had been faithful to them.
Joshua is an example to all who would be faithful to the end. His last words were like the first words that the Lord had given him as Israel’s new leader, “Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).
April 18, 2017
“Shiloh” was a town located in Ephraim where the Tabernacle with the Ark was kept from the beginning of Israel’s conquest of the Promised Land until the time of Eli’s wicked sons in 1 Samuel. The name “Shiloh” was first mentioned in Jacob’s blessing over Judah and is often used synonymously for Messiah: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people” (Gen. 49:10). It comes from the word “shalom,” and has been translated to mean, “the coming of rest, the coming of peace, or place of rest.” It was at Shiloh that Joshua divided the land for the final seven tribes according to the Lord’s designation.
Now, our Shiloh has come. His name is Jesus. He is our peace with God. He is our rest.
April 14, 2017
How big is your God?
Joshua, with all Israel bearing witness, called out to God that He would cause the sun and the moon to “stand still.” And the Lord answered his prayer. With our modern scientific knowledge, we understand the insane nature of Joshua’s request. Joshua didn’t know about gravity, the rotation of the earth, and the exact motion of the celestial bodies; therefore, he had no idea what a crazy request he had made. Yet, God lengthened the day as Joshua asked. From Joshua’s perspective, and from that of all Israel, the sun appeared to stand still.
Whether we try to interpret this as poetic expression, or attempt to explain the possible ways that God could’ve performed this miracle without breaking the solar system, one truth remains: Joshua’s God was a big God! Joshua actually believed that God could do anything. Joshua may not have known as much as we do about science, but he knew considerably more about God.
I doubt that we would even think to ask God to cause the sun to “stand still.” We try to make things easy on God. We don’t want Him to over-exert Himself. We ask for small things because we have a small God. But Joshua’s God was huge!
You can tell the size of your God by the size of your prayers.
April 13, 2017
The key to passing the faith on to the next generation is that we are faithful to give them the Word that was given to us.
Moses gave Israel the Word that the Lord had given to him. And Joshua, after Moses had died, gave the people the Word that Moses had passed to him. Joshua did not leave out a single word, but passed it on whole to all of Israel, even the “little ones” and “strangers” living with them.
We are called to do the same. As the apostle Paul instructed Timothy, “Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture…” (1 Tim. 4:13).
April 10, 2017
The Lord commanded Joshua four times to be strong and courageous. Three times He told him in the positive (verses 6, 7 and 9), “Be strong and of good courage.” And one time in the negative, “Do not be afraid, nor dismayed” (v.9). The negative version of the command helped to reinforce and define the positive version. Each time the Lord repeated the command, He gave another supporting way for how to keep it. Here are the four supporting ways that the Lord gave Joshua to be strong and of good courage:
1) Rely on God’s power.
2) Remember God’s promises.
3) Reflect God’s precepts.
4) Rest in God’s presence.
Carefully read through Joshua 1:1-9 and see if you can discover the same four supporting ways to be strong and courageous in the Lord.
April 20, 2015
All of the promises that God gave the Israelites while in the wilderness were finally realized. The people weren’t always faithful, but God was. What promises of God are you believing during these uncertain times? Do not despair. All of His good promises will come to pass. God’s Word will not fail.
April 16, 2015
Caleb was one of the 12 spies who Moses sent into the Promised Land. He and Joshua were the only two who gave a positive report. The people were swayed by the majority report and became fearful, doubting God. This resulted in 40 years in the wilderness to raise up a new generation of faithful warriors. Only Caleb and Joshua remained from the adults who first left Egypt. Caleb was 40 years old when he first saw the land flowing with milk and honey. He was 85 years old when he asked Joshua to give him the mountains, to give him the giants, for he was still as strong as he was 45 years before. He could have asked for anything. He could have requested a nice walled city or a grassy plain, but he asked for the hills of Hebron and the land of the giant Anakites who made men feel as grasshoppers in comparison. When others would want their retirement and days spent fishing, Caleb still wanted to accomplish things for God. Many men begin well, but few finish well. Caleb finished better than he started. If the Lord allows me to live until 85, may He grant me the passion and strength to ask for the mountain!
April 14, 2015
The Gibeonites deceived Joshua and the Israelite leaders and persuaded them to make a covenant with them. The leaders, fresh from a victory, examined the condition of the men’s clothes and food and believed their story. However, once again, they proceeded without counsel from God just as they had in their first encounter with Ai, which they lost miserably. They had a slow learning curve when it came to seeking counsel from God before making a decision. We often have the same tendency. We cry out to God when we face an overwhelming challenge, but when something seems simple, we neglect godly counsel and act with human wisdom. I wonder how many disastrous decisions have been made by well-meaning people because they forgot to ask for God’s counsel? It’s the small decisions that often get us, making us say, “I got this.” When, in fact, we don’t.
April 10, 2015
Rahab, the Jericho harlot, hid the Israelite spies whom Joshua had sent to reconnoiter the city. After making an amazing confession of faith in the Lord, she made a deal with the spies that she would hide them in return for protecting her family when the Lord gave the city over to Israel. The spies agreed. They told her to hang a “scarlet cord in the window” of her house to identify it and to keep everyone inside the house, otherwise they would not be responsible for them.
The “scarlet cord” reminds me of the blood of the lamb that was applied to the doors of the Israelites’ homes in Egypt, so that the angel of death would pass over them. It also reminds me of the blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, which was shed, so that those who trust in Him might live.
Rahab’s family was spared when Israel destroyed Jericho. Those inside the house with the “scarlet cord in the window” were saved. Rahab and her family became part of God’s people. So that, even Rahab was listed in Matthew’s genealogy of Christ (Matt. 1:5).
Do you have a “scarlet cord” hanging from your window?