For September 14, 2019
About two thousand years before the birth of Christ, God promised to bless Abram and Sarai in a way where everyone on earth would benefit. In Genesis 12:3 (NLT), God speaks to Abram:
I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you!
Twenty-five years passed, and Abram was one hundred years old when he and Sarai would have a son, Isaac though whose son’s lineage, Jacob (Israel) the promise would be fulfilled. To mark the event, God changed their names to the more familiar Abraham and Sarah.
(Ultimately, Jesus Christ would be the fulfillment of this promise when He freely gave His life to purchase our forgiveness of sin and redemption to God through His shed blood at Calvary. What a wonderful Savior!)
Now, fast-forward about six hundred years to one of Abraham’s descendants, Joshua who was standing beside the overflowing Jordan River. The Lord commanded him to lead His Chosen People across the river to occupy the Promised Land.
Joshua was the successor to Moses, who was the most influential prophet and leader since Abraham. Thirty days passed since Joshua was entrusted with the responsibility of providing spiritual, moral and civic leadership to the Children of Israel. In Joshua 1:2-9 (NIV), the Lord says to Joshua:
Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. 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.
Joshua and Caleb were the only two of his generation to occupy the Promised Land, because they chose not to rebel against the Lord by giving an “evil report” after they searched the land. He was well equipped to serve as Moses’ successor. He was with Moses at Mount Sinai when the Lord gave Moses the Law, he also helped Moses lead God’s people through the wilderness, and he led many assaults against the opposing forces east of the Jordan River.
Joshua instructs the priests to take the Ark of the Covenant and stand in the riverbank. When their feet touched the overflowing river, the water stood in one heap, and the people crossed over. That day, the Lord magnified Joshua in the eyes of the entire assembly—as He had done forty years before to Moses at the Red Sea—from that day forward, Joshua served as the consummate successor to Moses, the Man of God, to lead the Children of Israel into the land of promise.
He practiced an unwavering commitment to the Lord. Even towards the end of his life, his desire to remain faithful to The Lord was so evident in the speech he delivered in Joshua 24:14-15 (NIV), that it still serves to inspire God’s people today (my emphasis):
Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord!
We can choose whom we will serve today. I too choose to serve the Lord! Won’t you join me?