Scripture Nugget 1.17.2017
Scripture Read – Joshua 11-15
Nugget Joshua 11:4-9, 15-16a, 17b-18, 20-21a, 21c, 23
“They came out, with all their troops, a great army, in number like the sand on the seashore, with very many horses and chariots. All these kings joined their forces, and came and camped together at the waters of Merom, to fight with Israel. And the LORD said to Joshua, ‘Do not be afraid of them, for tomorrow at this time I will hand over all of them, slain, to Israel; you shall hamstring their horses, burn their chariots with fire.’ So Joshua came suddenly upon them with all his fighting force, by the waters of Merom, and fell upon them. And the LORD handed them over to Israel, who attacked them and chased them as far as Great Sidon and Misrephothmaim, and eastward as far as the valley of Mizpeh. They struck them down, until they had left no one remaining. And Joshua did to them as the LORD commanded him; he hamstrung their horses, and burned their chariots with fire. … As the LORD had commanded his servant Moses, so Moses commanded Joshua, and so Joshua did; he left nothing undone of all that the LORD had commanded Moses. So Joshua took all that land: … He took all their kings, struck them down, and put them to death. Joshua made war a long time with all those kings. … For it was the LORD’s doing to harden their hearts so that they would come against Israel in battle, in order that they might be utterly destroyed, and might receive no mercy, but be exterminated, just as the LORD had commanded Moses. At that time Joshua came and wiped out the Anakim …. Joshua utterly destroyed them with their towns. … So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD had spoken to Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal allotments. And the land had rest from war.”
Devotional thought: The quality of our earthly life is directly connected with our obedience to God’s will. Our present is an outcome of our past, out future depends on our present. Joshua (and Caleb), two leaders who stood faithfully with God were shouted down and voted against by other leaders. The outcome of the vote caused the Israelites to wander in the desert for 40 years waiting for that generation to die out so they could then be given another opportunity to enter the Promised Land. Here we find Joshua, exhibiting Over-the-Horizon Faith, still prepared to live into God’s Over-the-Horizon Promise. He fights to secure the promise, he utterly destroys the enemies of God. He stands up to those who oppose God (Israelites and their enemies). He does so completely, with perseverance, for a long time, as God told Moses to do, then Moses told him, so Joshua did. In the present, we are still called on to fight evil forces, to fight against those who would inhibit the move of God, those who stand against the Kingdom of God. To the point of “hamstringing their horses and burning their chariots”, then continuing the fight with the gifts and graces God provides, not being tempted to use the tools of our just defeated enemies. It is a long fight, this fight against evil, it is one that requires faith in God’s promises and one that that requires steadfast perseverance; God directed discernment and absolute surrender. O that I/you/we not be distracted by loud majorities who cause disobedience but that we would be bold and courageous and lead others into obedient response the first time. That we would do completely that which God commands. Then we will find rest from struggle. At least the old ones, until new struggles, new enemies present themselves.