For ten, or more, years my mom urged me to attend Bible Study Fellowship as she was. Each time she mentioned it, I had a great excuse. BSF meets in the morning when I have to be at work. She kept after me for years! And for years, my excuse worked…until an evening women’s class began in 2013. My age-old excuse would have to change. I finally gave in and decided to try it for a few months....
That year, we studied the life of Moses. As it turns out, that was the perfect year for me to start. I don't play catch-up very well, and this study started near the beginning. I was already familiar with the Creation scriptures, and our study began at Exodus 1—you can't get much closer to the beginning than that. For nine months we studied how Moses, following God’s commands, and with the assistance of his brother Aaron, led the Israelite people, God’s chosen people, to the Promised Land—the Land of Milk and Honey—Canaan! From my understanding the trip should have taken about 11 days, but it took 40 years because the “stiffnecked” Israelite people complained and grumbled the whole way. After we studied the life of Moses, we spent a year studying Revelation. The next year we studied John—this study prompted me to write a devotional. The next year we studied Romans. This year our study is, The People of the Promised Land. We are right back where we left off—Moses has died and Joshua will actually lead the new generation of Israelites into the Promised Land. I am excited! Last week’s study was the first five chapters of the old testament book of Joshua. I know from previous years of BSF, that during this study, I will learn big things and little things. As we continue through the year, the big things, will overshadow the little things. I want to keep a record of everything, so in this blog post, I will share a glimmer of light from each of the first five chapters of Joshua.
As He told Moses in Deuteronomy 31:6, God tells Joshua to, be strong and courageous. His exact words are (Joshua 1:7-9) “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” God's provision is in exchange for our obedience. This verse uses the words “successful” and “prosperous.” These are not meager, background, descriptions as we sometimes think Christian lives should be. These terms are what we all want for our lives—prosperity and success. The requirement for success is strict obedience to God’s will.
"Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. 'Go, look over the land,' he said, 'especially Jericho.' So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there." (Joshua 2:1) When I read this, I didn’t know where it was going, but I do have an imagination. Rahab, hides the men, the Israelite spies, on her roof until it is safe for them to continue their business—the business of looking over the land they will soon take. Rahab says to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us…” (Joshua 2:8) This verse gave me chills. How did she know who they were? Was she not just opening the door because it was two men and she was a prostitute? How did she know? And why did they pick her house for their stop? I don't believe in coincidences, so I have to believe this is the work of the Holy Spirit. They were obedient and God provided. What I learned from this chapter is that God can use anyone to promote His plan.
So the spies returned to Joshua and the others, and gave a report of the land. In three days they would be ready to cross the Jordan River and make their entry. Joshua 3:15-16 says, “Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap…” How often does God speak to us revealing His plan, or give us instructions, but we wait for Him to show His presence before we act? We tend to be very courteous at giving the Lord a headstart. Here we see an illustration of true faith. The water didn't stand up before they reached it, their feet were wet when it stood up. And they were carrying the Ark of the Covenant, so if the Jordan had not stopped flowing they might have lost their balance and dropped it. They knew that God was faithful and believed with all their heart that He would do what He said he would do. I have to ask myself – is my faith to this degree? The message to me is, God will do what he says He will do. I just need to be obedient.
In this chapter, Joshua sends twelve men, one from each tribe to collect a stone from the dry land of the Jordan while Israel is crossing. Joshua 4:20-22 says, “And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. He said to the Israelites, ‘In the future when your descendants ask their parents, what these stones mean, tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’” Among other things, this chapter made me think about all the things we pray about, and how a lifetime of answered prayers may come and go without a second thought. Once God answers our prayer, we may thank Him and move on to pray about something else. Sometimes a look back at answered prayers can help us to be strong and courageous for the future. We should all keep a memento of answered prayers.
In this chapter, the Israelites have made it to the Promised Land, and Rahab was right, the inhabitants were afraid and had no courage to face them. Joshua is commanded to circumcise the men since they were born in the wilderness and had not yet been cut. This occurred, with no complaints recorded in the Scriptures. They remained at camp until they were healed. Then the reproach of Egypt was removed. They celebrated Passover eating the produce of their new land. “The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate the produce of Canaan.” I had to read this twice. Manna? I couldn't recall reading about manna since Deuteronomy. There is a lot of Bible between Deuteronomy and Joshua, I couldn’t believe they were still waking up to manna! My glimmer of light is this: Even when we don’t realize it or think about it, God is there, working in the background for His people. Amen! AMEN!
Thank you for reading! Now that I've caught you up, you can join BSF, too!
Please share this post, someone else needs to read this too!
Have a blessed week!
Copyright 2018 Kimberly Griffith Anderson
If you like this style of writing, you will enjoy Turn North: A 30-Day Devotional and Journal written by the author of this blog.