The last few mornings in reading in Joshua has been a bit of tough sleddin’. Just like reading Biblical genealogies . . . or the detailed instructions for the construction of the tabernacle in the wilderness . . . reading Joshua chapters 13 through 21 is sometimes more skimming than reading because they detail out the allotment of the promised land to the tribes of Israel. In pain-staking detail the Holy Spirit details out who were the inheritors, the boundaries of each tribe’s allotment and often the names of all the major cities within the apportioned land. This morning I read about the “finishing touches” with the appointing of the 6 cities of refuge and the 48 cities given to the Levites, those appointed to the priesthood, because the tribe of Levi was never given their own territory.
So, as I try to power through and pay attention, it’s easy to find myself asking, “Why was this preserved as part of the Holy Scriptures?” One reason might be so that there remains a clear definition of the land that was given by God to Israel. The other reason, the one that grabbed my attention this morning, is found at the end of Joshua 21 . . .
Thus the LORD gave to Israel all the land that He swore to give to their fathers. And they took possession of it, and they settled there. And the LORD gave them rest on every side just as He had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the LORD had given all their enemies into their hands. Not one word of all the good promises that the LORD had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass. (Joshua 21:43-45 ESV)
That’s how the God of all creation operates . . . not one of the words of His promises fails . . . all come to pass . . . what God has said, God will do.
It’s emphasized 4 times in these 3 verses. The LORD gave to Israel all the land . . . just as He had sworn to give to their forefathers. The LORD gave them rest . . . just as He’d promised to their ancestors. Not one word of what God had determined to accomplish had failed. Every promise . . . every one . . . had come to pass!
Behold our God!!! He is the Promise Keeper. He is the One who will deliver on what He has declared.
Now, if I think back to all that has transpired since God first called Abraham in Genesis 12 and gave him the promise of land, seed, and blessing . . . if I the think about the round about way the people have taken to get from Egypt to the land . . . if I think about the defeats along the way . . . I’m reminded that man’s choices along the way can sometimes “detour” the promises of God. But reading these verses in Joshua 21 also reminds me that neither our rebellion and whining and transgression, nor the circumstances, enemies, and trials beyond our control along the way, will derail the purposes and promises of God.
God is faithful . . . and God’s word is sure!!! In Jeremiah, the LORD tells His people that He has plans for them — plans for good and not for evil (Jer. 29:11). And these details in Joshua of God’s “urban planning” in the promised land remind me that He will, in His timing, bring those plans to fruition. There may be trials, there certainly will be “wanderings in the desert”, my own “independence” (aka sin) may take me down an errant path for a season, but in the end, when all is said and done, God will deliver on His plans and His promises.
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God, my Father! Great is Thy power! Great are Thy promises!!! Amen.