Text: Joshua 12:1-24, Deuteronomy 29:7-8, Nehemiah 9:22, Psalm 136:16-21
I’m not sure what prompted the woman in seat 4B to share such intimate details of her life. Her husband, a pastor, had been kidnapped and killed just eighteen months earlier. Dabbing her eyes with a tissue, she quietly described to me the sorrow her family had endured.
My mind struggled to comprehend her pain. Honestly, I wanted to race back to the airplane lavatory and bolt the door against the suffering that was so palpable in the seat next to mine. Instead, I managed to get this sentence past the lump in my throat:
“Are God’s promises true?”
This was a woman who knew Christ and yet had truly suffered. I wanted to know—I needed to know—if God even climbed into valleys as dark and deep as this to keep His promises to His people. The woman’s response?
“Every single one of them.”
This sweet stranger had come face to face with darkness and found that Jesus truly is the Light of the World (John 8:12).
She had walked through the Valley of the Shadow of Death and discovered Jesus is the resurrection and the life (Psalm 23:4; John 11:25).
She had buried her treasure but found that the treasure of God’s presence had remained (Matthew 13:44).
God’s faithfulness in her life helped me remember His faithfulness in my own. When circumstances cause my anxious heart to question if God’s promises are really true, I need look no further than my own life to remind myself of His faithfulness.
This is what we find God’s people doing in Joshua 12. They had seen the walls of Jericho come a-tumbling down (Joshua 6), then watched as the Lord stopped the sun in its track for an entire day and rained hailstones down on their enemies (Joshua 10). God had kept His promises to defeat Israel’s enemies and clear the path for them to enter into the promised land. But there were still many battles left to fight, “still very large areas of land to be taken over” (Joshua 13:1).
I so often see myself in the stories of God’s people as they wandered. Like me, they were a wimpy-hearted bunch, prone to discouragement, defeat, and despair. Despite God’s unbroken track record, their confidence was easily shaken.
So here, in Joshua 12, we find a roll call of the kept promises of God: a list of the kings God’s people had conquered, the lands they’d captured. Each one is proof of God’s love and provision:
The king of Jericho, one.
The king of Ai, one.
The king of Jerusalem, one.
The king of Hebron, one…
For 31 kings, the list goes on. Over and over, God came through. There’s not a single example of Him dropping the ball. It was God’s track record, not their own, that emboldened God’s people to keep fighting, to keep walking toward the land they’d been promised.
It’s hard for fickle folks like us to fully grasp, but God is the promise keeper. Failing to come through is not in His nature. His faithfulness gives us the courage to keep moving forward, pressing on toward the prize (Philippians 3:13-14). And as we march toward the promised land, we can rest assured that He will keep His promises still.
Every. Single. One.
Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.