Lent 2022 Day 19
Wed 23 Mar
Joshua 1:1-9 Joshua is commissioned
1 After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant: 2 ‘Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the River Jordan into the land I am about to give to them – to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates – all the Hittite country – to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.
7 ‘Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.’
Moses has died, and Joshua is appointed by God to be the one to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. It would be a bloody affair, as the people already living there would have to be ousted, or worse.
When I was a sixth-former, I helped as an usher at the Ipswich Civic Concerts at the Gaumont cinema (now the Regent). Your reward was a free seat wherever you could find one. My friend and I saw an empty box as the conductor came on, and we decided to sit in that. Luxury. Ten minutes into the concert the door opened and two older ladies walked in and asked very loudly what we were doing in their box. We quickly left, as their angry voices rang round the auditorium. Culture, eh!?
There’s a sense that God is wiping people away without a care in order to give his people, dare I say it, lebensraum. That’s what non-believing people are likely to think, and we have to come to terms with this ourselves. I wish I could give an easy response, but God is God, and I cannot water down who He is. People are going to be wiped out, or moved, from what they thought was their place. God explains it by saying that the people living there are godless people.
You may recall that, because there was some Israelite disobedience, God allowed the Philistines to remain and be a thorn in the flesh for the Israelites.
Joshua is told to be strong and courageous, thrice. Firstly, to move into the lands God has given them. Secondly (this is my interpretation), to move into a right way of living before God. The Law is to be uppermost in all aspects of Joshua’s life, in his thoughts and meditations, and in his actions. Thirdly (and now I run out of ideas), as a reminder! By the third time we may all have picked up that this is not an encouragement from God – it is a command, and from following that command Joshua will be blessed and successful in all he does. Compare this with God’s words to his people at about the same time in Deuteronomy 8:1-5
How do you feel about Jewish settlements in Arab sectors?
How do you feel about our (and other nations’) colonial past?
Who owns the nations?
Where does strength and courage fail you?
Father God, I do not understand your ways, and I trust that your wisdom, insight, holiness and righteousness are such that you cannot but do the right thing. I trust in your mercy towards me. Amen.