Bible Readings for July 10th
The end of Joshua 11 marked the final warfare under the leadership of Joshua. In Joshua 11:23, we read this summary of the Israelite conquest of the Promised Land: “So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD had spoken to Moses.” Now, it’s important to understand that this does not mean Israel had actually taken every last bit of the Promised Land. Yahweh makes this clear in Joshua 13:1, saying this to Joshua: “You are old and advanced in years, and there remains yet very much land to possess.” This bit of information doesn’t contradict the summary that “Joshua took the whole land,” but simply qualifies it. At a broad level, Yahweh has kept his promise to Israel, bringing Israel fully into the land, but there nevertheless remained work to be done.
The best analogy to this would be D-Day, the invasion of Normandy during World War II on June 6, 1944. When the Allied Forces captured Normandy, the mission of invading continental Europe was largely accomplished—according to many historians, D-Day was the point at which the eventual victory of the Allies was sealed. Nevertheless, there was still much fighting to be done, so that the war in Europe was not completely over until V-E Day (Victory in Europe Day), eleven months later on May 8, 1945.
But at the same time, the story is also set up for Israel to fail to complete their mission in the book of Judges. It is as though, having captured Normandy, the Allied Forces decided to declare victory and stop fighting. By leaving peoples in Canaan, Israel falls into a long cycle of idolatry and subjugation by foreign powers again and again—up to the point that Yahweh sends his people into exile under the Assyrians and the Babylonians.
But we must continue reading the story of Israel beyond their exile. There, we discover that God was faithful to keep every word of his promises, even when Israel disobeyed—and even when faithfulness required God to hand his beloved Son over to be crucified at the hands of wicked men. At the cross, God proved his utter faithfulness for all eternity.
The tragedy of the book of Joshua is that this victory would not last. After Joshua’s death, Israel would again forget God. Joshua, then, stands as a warning for us not to make shipwreck of our faith. Do not give up the fight of faith! Jesus promises to go with us to the very end of the age (Matt. 28:20), and to fulfill that promise, he has given us his own Spirit to lead us and guide us every step of the way until the day Jesus himself returns to bring his victory completely into this world. Therefore, be strong and very courageous, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go (Josh. 1:9).
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.