Face it – when we read the book of Joshua, there are parts of the epic saga of Joshua’s lifetime that are easy to skim over. The first couple of chapters are pretty exciting, filled with intrigue, sensational accounts of miracles, Rahab – the “gardener” and Veggie Tale songs (if you don’t count Chapter 5 ….which would just be weird).
By about Chapter 7 or so you get to the battles in foreign lands ruled by kings with names that are hard to pronounce. But even those chapters are still pretty exciting with nuggets of information and descriptive details that spark the imagination.
And long about Chapter 13 you start to stall and it’s easy to skip over the lists of names and places that are like listening to Joshua’s last will and testament as read by a dry, boring attorney.
But – I’d like to encourage you, yet again, to re-read the ENTIRE book and this time REALLY read the names of the people and the places that are listed in this incredibly epic account of a period in the past that ended up being named after just one man.
Joshua was a truly great leader and by all accounts an amazing person. But guess what? This book is NOT about one man! It’s about clans, tribes and relatives – men, women and children claiming their birthrights – friends, neighbors and enemies (and the guy who got stoned ….literally). It is the history of an entire nation of people that went to battle following God’s instructions.
So – think about it like this ….. When you start to assemble that bookshelf from IKEA – you need some women to read the instructions (because – face it – guys just don’t). You need some neighbors to loan you power tools and some relatives to help you move the gi-normous piece of furniture to your new apartment…..not to mention the friends who bring pizzas, a case of beer and their pick-up truck.
THAT’s what the book of Joshua is about – not just one man, but an entire horde of people, following the instructions as they reap God’s blessings on the other side of the Jordan River.
Coming soon to a theater near you – JOSHUA Et Al – The Epic Saga of a Nation
Bandit: “What do you think they do for excitement in this town?”
Cledus Snow: “Probably sit around and watch cars rust.”
My husband is a car guy. Always has been; always will be. He has had some AMAZING cars over the 37 years that I’ve known him. But far and away – IMO – one of the coolest cars he has ever had was a black 1977 Pontiac Trans-Am complete with gold firebird (and, yes before you ask – it had T-tops).
We would take it to car shows and laughingly joke that we “wish we had a nickel” for every time someone would yell – “LOOK! Smokey and the Bandit!” – then run over and take their picture with the car. It was fun. We had some good times and got to meet a lot of nice people.
Factoring in inflation and all – I wish I had a dollar for every time Moses told Joshua, or God told Joshua, or Joshua told the Israelites to “Be Strong. Be Courageous”. Sounds AWESOME….gets you kind of pumped up……like a rally cry. Over and over again I see those same words in the account of the journey into the promised land.
But then I get one of those “hang on – hold the boat – wait a minute” moments. Be strong. Be courageous. – over and over and over and OVER again. Let’s pay attention to that…..and maybe ask –
Because God knew, and Moses knew and Joshua knew it was going to be difficult and demanding. It was going to be brutal and challenging. It was going to be hard, strenuous, rough, scary, intimidating and terrifying.
You don’t have to be told to be strong and courageous if something is going to be easy. You don’t have to be strong if something is going to be effortless or uncomplicated. You don’t have to be courageous if something is going to be soothing and calming.
Going into the next chapter of their lives wasn’t going to be fun. They weren’t going to have good times and meet lots of nice people, or sit around and watch cars rust for excitement. There was WORK to do – HARD work – DAUNTING situations.
God’s blessing of a new land came with a caveat – ***Some Assembly Required***
God’s instructions came with a warning – ***Be strong. Be Courageous.***