Joshua: Day 9

The Lord Gives the Land to Joshua

by

Today's Text: Joshua 10:16-43, Joshua 11:1-23, Psalm 110:1-7, Ephesians 1:3-14

Text: Joshua 10:16-43, Joshua 11:1-23, Psalm 110:1-7, Ephesians 1:3-14

I only watch action movies for the romance. You know, the love subplot, where the guy-and-girl tale is interspersed between all the scenes of war and gore. Battles don’t interest me, nor do bomb explosions, car chases, guns, or swords. No matter the era or context of the film, something in my brain shuts off when the action picks up, and then that something turns back on to watch love rise from the rubble.

When reading Joshua, I find myself doing much the same thing. I’m tempted to glaze over the battle scenes, the names of the countries conquered, and all those kings’ names I can’t pronounce. Until I get to the “good stuff,” I tune out, then tune back in once I get to… well, Psalms.

But something interesting happened as I was reading over this week’s passage. At first, I only saw scenes of conquest, of Israel taking each and every enemy in its path—Makkedah, Libnah, Lachish—a slew of battle scenes depicting how God’s people took over the north and south territory of Canaan. However, as I read the passage again, I began to see that, in the midst of all the action, another plot emerges.

These verses are more than a retelling of conquest and victory. We see this when we pay attention to the repetitive language in the text—language that emphasizes God’s devotion to Israel:

“And the Lord also delivered [Libnah] and its king into the hands of Israel” (Joshua 10:30).
“And the Lord delivered Lachish into the hands of Israel” (Joshua 10:32).
“Do not be afraid…I will deliver all of them” (Joshua 11:6).
“And the Lord delivered them into the hand of Israel” (Joshua 11:8).

Similarly, repetitive language is used to describe Joshua’s devotion to God’s command:

“So Joshua conquered all the land… as the Lord God of Israel had commanded him” (Joshua 10:40).
“So Joshua did to them as the Lord had told him” (Joshua 11:9).
“He utterly destroyed them, as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded” (Joshua 11:12).
“As the Lord had commanded Moses his servant, so Moses commanded Joshua, and so Joshua did. He left nothing undone of all that the Lord had commanded Moses” (Joshua 11:15).

As the dust settles on the battlefield, look for it: the making and fulfillment of a promise. Devotion, obedience, and a commitment to one another, at all costs. In the midst of the struggle and the fear is this command: “Do not be afraid” (Joshua 10:25).

It sounds like a love story, doesn’t it? The love of God for His people—a love that spans much further than the physical territory Joshua conquered. It’s a love that would eventually come down in human form to save not only Israel from their enemies, but also you and me from a fate we surely deserved: “We have redemption in Him through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding” (Ephesians 1:7-8).

I no longer want to turn my head from the battle scenes of Joshua. I see my own redemptive story in there now, woven in and out with the assurance of deliverance and of promises fulfilled. Victory is found in Christ alone. This is the greatest love story we will ever know.

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  • does anyone else struggle with the images and realities that God had joshua killing so many image bearers? i’m assuming men, women, and children. where is their salvation and grace in all this?

    • Anonymous

      This is a great question. I think when we approach things like this from our limited, finite perspective it can be really challenging to comprehend. I try to remind myself that my perspective is always limited (Isaiah 55:9 “for my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts”). It is so easy to feel like we deserve grace and mercy, when really it is freely given to us and totally up to God to decide whom he is merciful and gracious to. At the end of the day, we know we can trust in his love and goodness, even in the midst of challenging passages like this where we see the just, wrathful side of his chatacter too.

    • Rachel

      I think this is one of those instances that people like to look over or “forget about” when dealing with the character of God. Yes, he is loving and gracious and long-suffering and merciful and faithful, but He is also wrathful toward sin and towards those who hate and reject Him. Wrath is as just a part of His character as is love and grace and mercy. If God was not wrathful towards His enemies, He would not be God; He would not be faithful to His own promises to deliver the Promised Land to His chosen people after years and years and years of wandering, death, famine, disease, and suffering. When I read this, I choose to look at God’s faithfulness in delivering His people from thousands on thousands of warriors who hated Him and seek to destroy His chosen people. God is just, He is gracious. As to all the children who probably died in these nation-slayings, God is faithful! He does not condemn any man, woman, or child who does not deserve it! After all, God is still good!

  • I no longer want to turn my head from the battle scenes of Joshua. I see my own redemptive story in there now, woven in and out with the assurance of deliverance and of promises fulfilled. Victory is found in Christ alone. This is the greatest love story we will ever know….
    Thank you Jesus..
    Amen..

  • Kasey Summers

    Jesus is our victory. Him alone.

  • Keri McCue

    “Victory is found in Christ alone. This is the greatest love story we will ever know.” – When put like this, it surely does bring a new view into this passage. I am the same, I tend to skim over passages and chapters like this. I had to stop and refocus a few times because I was letting my brain drift. Thank you for allowing me to see the story within the story :)

    http://www.littlelightonahill.com

  • [My Take Away]
    THE SECRET TO CONQUERING YOUR PROMISED LAND:

    1. Believe, claim, and stand on God’s promise that He will give you victory!

    2. Be strong and courageous! Leave no room for fear knowing that you are fighting FROM victory, and NOT for victory.

    3. Do your part: CAREFULLY OBEY wherever God leads you, and whatever He tells you to do.

    4. Rest in the assurance that throughout the battle, it is God who is fighting for you.

    • Denise

      This is an excellent, succinct , concise well written take away. Thank you for this great summation.
      This will be copied, printed and placed on my mirror.

    • Maddie

      Wow! This is so good! Thank you for writing and posting this. It is written in my journal for today! :)

    • April L.

      I needed to see this today.

  • I love the idea in Psalm 110 that the Lord provides for the future. It is a great reminder that we can continue to trust Him as we move forward.

    https://sunriseandselah.wordpress.com

  • I love the idea in Psalm 110 that the Lord provides for the future. It is a great reminder that we can continue to trust Him as we move forward.

  • Wow! Thank you for sharing. While reading through the passages today my heart hurt because of the repetition of the phrase “devoted to destruction”. My heart broke at the thought of thousands upon thousands of people dying at the hands of Israel. But, in the midst of God showing his judgement, His love can clearly be seen for his people. Thank you for sharing this perspective!

    • Samone

      I felt the same way. It is hard to see God in a vengeful sort of way. The positive side is always easier to connect with than the opposite. God has more in store for us than we can ever fathom.

  • We have no reason to fear or be discouraged because he WILL deliver!
    http://www.in-due-time.com

  • Cristy Newlin

    I am reminded today that I don’t always have to be fighting on the defensive. I am not just a good soldier defending my little bean patch. I can be a warrior – a mighty woman of God – and aggressively take from the enemy what is rightfully mine as a child of God – my family, my peace, victory over all the wiles of the enemy!

  • As long as I am following God’s Word and heeding His commands, I need not be afraid or discouraged as I battle any enemies in my path. My enemies can take on so many forms! I need only to wake up, listen, and obey God, and He will be by my side through it all, and my day will be victorious.

    • Cecilia

      Amen!

    • Robin W.

      I was thinking how brutal the imagery has been in these battles, then I have started to think that perhaps God uses this story to help us see that no matter how ugly the situation, physical or spiritual, He is right there with us. There is no scenario much worse than what we read about in Joshua, yet God was there.

  • “As the dust settles on the battlefield, look for it: the making and fulfillment of a promise. Devotion, obedience, and a commitment to one another, at all costs. In the midst of the struggle and the fear is this command: “Do not be afraid” (Joshua 10:)” This is my life right now. I have been battling the enemy for my husband for several years now. What a struggle it has been. It almost took his life back in May. But as much as I wanted to just walk away the Lord wouldn’t let me do that. He reminded me of my commitment to Him and to my husband, no matter the cost. He lead me to be devoted and obedient. I had to give all my fears over to Him. He has taken all that fear and is replacing it with victory! One battle at a time. His mercy is new each morning!

    • Robin W.

      I have no idea the situation you are in, but I stand with you in prayer, asking for victory over the enemy and for the words, “do not be afraid” to be the battle cry that brings peace, comfort and assurance. ❤️

      • Lynne

        Elaine, I am praying for you this morning. Our awesome God know your heart and your needs. When my heart is especially heavy, I find much comfort in Psalm 94:16-19. I hope this gives you encouragement and peace, too.

    • Veronica

      Praying for you this morning! The enemy can be overwhelming, but he has already been defeated. I don’t know your specific circumstance, but praying for God to intervene and bring life and light to this sitcuation.

  • Barbara Thompson

    I think we are unable to comprehend the love of God that will remove all enemies that would compromise our devotion to Him.

  • In these types of passages that are hard to read, I remember Rahab and her family that acknowledged God and were spared. I read the verse that these people didn’t make peace because of hard hearts. And I think about the definition of “good” and “innocent” and sin. Do I keep my “respectable” sins close because they aren’t that bad? Or do I recognize their vileness in the presence of a holy God and put that sin to death in me? I am thankful for a God who is wholly just because that means he won’t let the evils of this world go unanswered, but also so thankful for a God who is infinitely merciful and put Himself in the path of that wrath that we might be spared!

    • Robin W.

      Love your thoughts. Thanks for sharing.

    • DebbieinAZ

      “Do I keep my “respectable” sins close because they aren’t that bad? Or do I recognize their vileness in the presence of a holy God and put that sin to death in me?” Ouch! Very convicting. I needed that! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • churchmouse

    I hurried through these Scriptures. I don’t care for blood and gore and, to be totally honest, scenes that resemble the actions of ISIS . I hurry past accident scenes, no gawker I. But Andrea, your devotion made me go back and reread, looking for the subplot you mention. I’m so glad I slowed down. I’m challenged to now do the same when I’m in a battle, the spiritual battles that arise daily. May I slow down, not just praying for relief, but looking for how God might be using that battle to reveal Himself. Thank you for this perspective this morning.

    • Sarah M

      I agree that the modern images of destruction and violence were playing in my mind as well. Our pastor pointed out a passage to us when we were recently studying this topic and it really brought things into perspective for me. In Genesis 15, God makes a covenant with Abram that He would give this land to his descendants, but not for another 400 years. The reason is found in vs 16, “And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” (ESV) so, essentially, God was giving these nations 400 years of mercy and they spent that time in becoming more evil in the sight of the Lord. They were diabolical – stealing, killing each other, sexual depravity, sacrificing their children – these were terrible people. And when Joshua invades with the army of Israel, he is God’s hand of judgment on their sin that has festered in the land. God was purifying the land and the only atonement for sin is the shedding of blood. Rahab had heard and believed, but these tribes were bucking, fighting, and continuing in their sin up until their destruction.

      Hopefully that helps others through this difficult passage. It reminds me, too, of God sending Jonah to Ninevah and how they repented and God spared them wrath until much later, when they had gone back to their ways of sin. Even in the Old Testament battles, our God was a God of mercy.

    • Lindsay

      Totally my line of thinking going through this, too. It really made me confront the gravity of sin, MY sin, and the seriousness of the enemy and the battles in which we face the enemy every day. Our God is as merciful as He is just, and He is as just as He is loving.

    • Cecelia

      Thank you, Churchmouse for that perspective. It’s something God has been speaking to me about for awhile. It’s the journey. It’s the process. He will never leave us there but there is great treasure to be found if we can open our eyes. Oh, Father! Open my eyes to see where you are even when I’m on the battle field.

  • God has such perfect timing!

  • Yes! Amen!!

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