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May 16, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“I brought you to the land of the Amorites who lived east of the Jordan. They fought against you, but I gave them into your hands. I destroyed them from before you, and you took possession of their land. When Balak son of Zippor, the king of Moab, prepared to fight against Israel, he sent for Balaam son of Beor to put a curse on you. But I would not listen to Balaam, so he blessed you again and again, and I delivered you out of his hand.”—Joshua 24:8-10 (NIV)
As we continue our study through the Book of Joshua, we’ve landed in the middle of a message Joshua is delivering from the Lord to the people of Israel. Today’s verse is a continuation of a recap through chapter 24 in which the Israelites are being reminded of the events that have taken place since they crossed over into the Promised Land. Specifically, God is making note here of the battles they fought and the victories they experienced because of His direct involvement in them.
Why is this significant? First, because as humans, we often suffer from spiritual amnesia. We tend to forget what God has done for us. Repeatedly throughout the Bible, we’re told to remember the great things our heavenly Father has done (Psalm 77:11; Deuteronomy 8:2; 2 Peter 1:13-15) and not to forget them.
Secondly, today’s passage of Scripture makes it clear that God is continually working behind the scenes on our behalf (Romans 8:28). Notice how God points out that He is the one who led them to the land of the Amorites; He gave them into the hands of the Israelites; and it was Him who destroyed Israel’s enemies, not them. In fact, there isn’t a single victory that the Israelites could take credit for, as their defeat at Ai earlier in chapter 7 proved. Further, God reminds them that even when Balaam tried to curse them, He intervened so that Balaam did exactly the opposite and blessed them repeatedly instead!
In other words, God is strategically reminding the Israelites of two truths: 1) He is sovereign over all events and circumstances, and 2) He is faithful to fulfill His promises. The reason these facts are so important is because Joshua is about to reestablish God’s covenant with His people. But before he does, they need to make a choice (Joshua 24:15) as we’ll read about in the next couple of days. The same is true for us as well. We must choose to continue following Jesus every day and remind ourselves of His goodness and faithfulness.
But if you find you’ve wandered away from the Lord lately, take a moment to look back and remember what He’s done in your life and how faithful He has been. Even when we are unfaithful, He will welcome us back with open arms every time. As Chuck Swindoll points out, “God is the ultimate promise-keeper. As faithful and present as He was with Israel, so He is with us.”
DIG: Why is the Lord, through Joshua, recounting recent events to the Israelites who were there to witness them with their own eyes?
DISCOVER: Reflecting on recent battles you’ve endured, in what ways have you seen God’s handiwork behind the scenes?
DO: If you feel like God has abandoned or forgotten you, or perhaps you just don’t understand what He is up to in your life, take a moment to stop and thank Him for His faithfulness in the past. Ask Him to reveal how He is working things together for your good, and then choose to continue following Jesus as you renew your faith and trust in Him. You won’t regret it!
Rob Nieminen is a seasoned writer and editor who has written devotionals for Calvary since 2015. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, FL. He serves in the Worship Ministry at Calvary Boynton Beach and is an avid reader, an erratic golfer, and an aspiring photographer who loves to cook and spend time with his family.