“No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua and Caleb were the two of twelve spies who were ready to enter the land 40 years earlier. And here he is, ready to take the mantle of Moses and cross the Jordan river as God had promised!
“Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” He said, “No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the LORD.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, “What has my lord to say to his servant?” The captain of the LORD’S host said to Joshua, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.
God’s power is perfected through humility. Humility arrives as we encounter God. This is such a cool story. God is for Himself, and we are the beneficiaries.
“So the people shouted, and priests blew the trumpets; and when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted with a great shout and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight ahead, and they took the city. They utterly destroyed everything in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword.”
Context is key here. God manages individual souls in the contexts of nations great and small. When humans choose idolatry we are living in death. God’s displays His power over nations so that mankind may fear Him. Here Yahweh is displacing both His ownership and His right over life. Sobering!
“Then afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the book of the law. There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded which Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel with the women and the little ones and the strangers who were living among them.”
Joshua faithfully wore the mantle of Moses before the people. Sadly, the people would soon begin to make alliances and allowances for people in the land, and soon they would be plagued with idolatry within their nation. These alliances eat our lunch and consume our devotion in a big way.
“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 divisions by their tribes. Thus the land had rest from war.”
The conquest of the promised land was relatively brief. These nations were not passive. They loved their gods and their practices and often set out to stop Israel from taking their land and cities. The details of the what and the why of these nations will only be fully known at the end of the age. One thing is sure, just as Pharaoh had ruled as Egypt’s god, these nations were devoted to the dishonor of the Living God – and the soul idols of their choices and traditions for devotion.
“These are the territories which Moses apportioned for an inheritance in the plains of Moab, beyond the Jordan at Jericho to the east. But to the tribe of Levi, Moses did not give an inheritance; the LORD, the God of Israel, is their inheritance, as He had promised to them.”
The sons of Levi were set apart as priests. Rather than a physical land inheritance, the Levites were given God as the object of their affection. What a great picture of desiring “a better country.” We also are believer priests, and our inheritance is God Himself. So cool.
“I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land, and I brought word back to him as it was in my heart. Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt with fear; but I followed the LORD my God fully. So Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land on which your foot has trodden will be an inheritance to you and to your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God fully.’ Now behold, the LORD has let me live, just as He spoke, these forty-five years, from the time that the LORD spoke this word to Moses, when Israel walked in the wilderness; and now behold, I am eighty-five years old today. I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in. Now then, give me this hill country about which the LORD spoke on that day, for you heard on that day that Anakim were there, with great fortified cities; perhaps the LORD will be with me, and I will drive them out as the LORD has spoken.”
What a great testament to Caleb’s courage and vision. Because he believed God he was rewarded with both strength and land.