The land had been allotted. The cities of refuge established. The Levites given towns throughout Israel where they could live. Mission accomplished. Operation “Possess the Land” was, for the most part, in the books. Time for celebration? To be sure. Time for a pat on the back? Not really. While God’s people had faithfully entered the land and engaged in the battle, it was the Lord who had fought the fight and won the land. Just as He promised.
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)
The LORD gave Israel all the land . . . the LORD gave them rest on every side . . . the LORD had given all their enemies into their hands. Just as He had sworn to their fathers. Not one word of the promises He had made had failed. It all came to pass. Just as He promised.
It’s not that the fight hadn’t been intense for Joshua and Co. Not a walk in the park by any stretch of the imagination . . . though the walk around Jericho’s walls had been kind of cool! And it’s not like they never blew it along the way . . . remember the defeat at Ai? But there they were. In the land. Cities assigned. Deeds distributed. All through their faithful determination, but all because of God’s sure promises.
Hover over that for a couple of minutes and you can’t help but be encouraged. Remember that God has a track record of doing what He says He’s going to do, and it has a way of making you want to lean in again, though the going’s been tough. Rest in the word of God . . . and believe in the God of the word . . . and the blood, sweat, and tears are put into perspective. Know anew that all God’s promises find their “Yes” and their “Amen” in His blessed Son (2Cor. 1:20) . . . and the inner man is revived and the weary heart is restored. It’s all going to happen. The victory will be ours. Just as He promised.
He says that He will finish the work He has begun in us (Php. 1:6) . . . that He will conform us into the likeness of His Son (Rom. 8:29). It’ll happen . . . just as He promised. He says that, even now, the King of Kings has gone to prepare a place for us and will come again and take us to be with Himself (John 14:3). That’s what’s going to go down (or, go up) . . . just as He promised. He has said that death is to be swallowed up in victory . . . that “this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality” (1Cor. 15:53-54) . . . count on it! Just as Joshua and Friends stood in the land, we too, one day, will stand before the throne . . . the work begun, finished . . . the likeness we bear, that of the Lamb’s . . . the bodies we inhabit, immortal and imperishable . . . all of it, just as He promised.
And who will get the glory? Who will receive the praise?
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 1:24-25 ESV)