The Land At Last!

Today's Bible reading: Joshua 3:1-17

We sometimes speak of Israel taking or capturing the Promised Land of Canaan.  But the Book of Joshua has a different story.  Account after account is meant to remind us of this central truth: God gave the land to Israel.  Thus, it is He who provides a clear path across the Jordan, just as He parted the waters of the Red Sea.  From that moment on, it is a foregone conclusion that the people will possess this land.  Great armies and walled cities are no match for this motley horde of ill-equipped people that come in from the desert.  What does all the strange marching around the city of Jericho, with trumpets blaring mean?  Was it some new military tactic designed to terrify the locals?   Well, these marches - especially the final one on the seventh day - did frighten the people of Jericho … but the real point of it all is clear.  Long before the walls crumble, Israel is celebrating the truth announced by Joshua: “The Lord has given you the city.”  All the following battle stories illustrate the same truth: the land is a gift, not a prize taken by human strength or courage.  And the gift of this land involves responsibility.  Israel is a tenant only as long as it obeys God.  He therefore has the right to exclude them from the land if they fail to obey.

Prayer: Praise to You, O Lord, that Your hands control our enemies, Satan, sin and death, and that the hands of our risen Savior were once pierced for our salvation.  Amen.