Reading: No scheduled reading
Thoughts and Reflection: Today is the scheduled “Catch Up” day for the first week of March (1-7), and so no reading is assigned for today. Below, though, are some thoughts to consider in light of this past week’s reading.
- An issue that rises frequently in a study of the conquest of Canaan is imperialism–that is, one people taking and occupying land that belongs to another people. The conquest was not simply an act of aggression on the part of Israel, rather they become God’s instrument of punishment against these nations for their great wickedness. See Genesis 15:16, Deuteronomy 7:1-5 and 9:4-6. As a matter of fact, this is one reason that over 400 years transpired from the time the land was promised until it was occupied. Any earlier conquest and it would have been premature judgment.
- Sometimes Scripture tells us just enough to cause us to want to know much more. Such is the case with the “commander of the army of the Lord” whom Joshua encounters (5:13-15). Joshua bows down and worships him. What is more, he tells Joshua to remove his sandals because where he stands is holy. This has led many to conclude this is an appearance of Jesus in the Old Testament. Possibly so.
- A well-known Negro spiritual is based on the events of Joshua 6. It is aptly titled, “Joshua Fit de Battle of Jericho.” It speaks to the exceptional faith and leadership of Joshua.
“You may talk about your man o’ Gideon
You may brag about your man o’ Saul
There’s none like good ol’ Joshua
At de battle of Jericho”
The song also makes a wider and appropriate application.
“Yet bold and brave he stood
Salvation in his hand
Go blow them ram horns Joshua cried
‘Cause the devil can’t do you no harm”
And yes, the song very likely spoke strongly to the African American battle against slavery as they looked for those “walls come tumblin’ down.”
Strength and Courage; Courage and Strength
Can you remember a time when you wished you were stronger? An opponent gained the upper hand due to superior strength or work remained undone as the stores of strength dwindled.
At other times strength wasn’t the issue, but courage. Fear crept in and kept us from doing what we could have and should have done.
How apropos that when it fell to Joshua to lead Israel finally into the promised land that God charged him to be both strong and courageous. And He didn’t do it just once, but three times (Josh. 1:6, 7, 9, 18).
Joshua knew the people whom he was to lead. God himself said they were an “obstinate people” (Ex. 32:9). He also knew they were about to embark on a mission unlike anything they had ever done. For the past 40-plus years they had been traveling through the wilderness. Yes, there had been the occasional battle to be fought, but now it was a campaign of conquest and occupation. Not only was it a massive undertaking, it was all brand new.
What is more, their lives were to be led by the law given by Moses which was not be deviated from “to the right hand or to the left” (Josh. 1:7). It was time for courage and strength.
Considering the “present evil age” in which we live, the spiritual warfare in which we’re engaged, the influences and temptations that allure us at every turn, not to mention the ongoing struggle to deny self and carry our own cross, the seeming impossibility of keeping “oneself unstained from the world,” strength and courage are indeed the order of the day (see Gal. 1:4; Eph. 6:12; Matt. 16:24; Jas. 1:27).
Also remembering that He will be with us and never forsake us, and knowing that He is “able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,” there is every reason to be strong and very courageous (see Josh. 1:9; Eph. 3:20).
Strength and courage are an unending need. Thank God He gives an unending supply.