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October 17, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“These are the kings of the land whom the children of Israel defeated, and whose land they possessed . . .”—Joshua 12:1 (NKJV)
The Book of Joshua has an interesting structure to it. As we’ve made our way through this remarkable record of Israel possessing the Promised Land, we’ve been given a lot of specific details up to this point.
It’s as if the Holy Spirit, as He inspired this book, pulls back the curtain on the movements of the nation to reveal the happenings within the hearts of the individuals involved. Joshua, Rahab, Achan, Adoni-Zedek—we learn from their examples (good and bad) by zooming in on their lives, thoughts, motivations, and choices.
But now the book takes a different turn. Starting here in Joshua 12, we zoom out and move from a micro to a macro level. Instead of focusing on specific events and individuals, we’re given more of a panoramic perspective and view the sweeping actions of Israel as a whole for the next several chapters.
For example, the division of the land among the different tribes, the founding of the various cities, and the appointment of the “Cities of Refuge” are all detailed in this next section of Joshua. These details are important to understand how this ancient civilization was formed and became the foundation for most of what we read about in the Bible.
All of this to say, while there’s tremendous value in doing a deep dive into the way God works in individual lives, there’s also a time for pulling back and looking at the big picture of what He’s doing. The Christian life is a prime example of this. We come to Jesus individually, seeing Him as our personal Savior and Lord. We confess our own wayward ways to Him and come to know His grace, forgiveness, hope, and salvation for ourselves.
But we also need to understand the Lord is working on a level beyond our own lives. In the big picture, His Spirit is sweeping across the globe, moving and drawing souls from every continent to comprise His Bride, His Body, His Church. He’s been doing this for the past two-thousand years, and He will continue to do so until the final soul is brought into this family of faith. And when that moment comes, the Lord will usher in a sequence of events that will culminate with His return and reign over the earth with us at His side.
As blessed as we are to know God’s personal touch on our lives, may we never lose sight of His sweeping agenda worldwide, and may we see our place in His big picture.
DIG: How does the Book of Joshua change at chapter 12?
DISCOVER: What lesson can we take from this change in focus?
DO: Spend time today praying about your place in God’s big picture.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.