Sunday, August 02, 2009

God, help! This land stuff is boring me!

by David Morris

I recently read through Joshua and, as is sadly often the case in the Old Testament, began to get bogged down. Joshua 1-12 was pretty exciting. There were plenty of battles, drama, intrigue and excitement. But then I hit chapters 14-21, and the going got a bit rougher.

Chapter after chapter, verse after verse dealt in excruciating detail with cities and borders and land allotments. The first 12 chapters had talked a lot about the land too, but in exciting war narratives of conquest and adventure. 14-21 reads more like an ancient surveyors guide, like a great big Platt book of places few know or really care about today.

Thankfully, then it hit me. I’d been reading through the Pentateuch before I got to Joshua, so I should have expected it all along. The Land was central to God’s promises and to everything He was doing with the Israelites. Those chapters about division of the land are the detailing of the gracious and faithful character of God. Every border that was established and tribe that got their allotment is a testament to a promise-keeping God. Nothing could prevent God from keeping His word about the Land.

What a privilege to see those promises worked out in detail, and to know we have the same Yahweh today. God will keep every promise He has ever made, and even a quick scan of our Bibles reveals He’s made a lot of them. These promises aren’t just for anyone, however. They’re for God’s people. We have no right in ourselves to claim the promises of God. We have access to all the great and precious promises of God because of our Christ. In Christ, all God’s promises are yes to us.

Christ has elevated us beyond the status of enemies or even lowly slaves. He’s made us sons and daughters, with all the entailing rights and privileges. The book of Joshua clearly reveals a promise-keeping God, and in Christ that God and His promises are ours.

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