The book of Joshua chronicles the long awaited trek of the Israelites into the promised land. Trust me when I say that it is a much needed reward (both to the Israelites and to me) from the frustrating, painful, and bloody mess that was Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Finally! The Israelites are entering the promised land. Woop! Woop!
As I was cruising along with Josh, I had an ah-ha moment right between chapters 11 and 12. The journey into the promised land for Israel is very much like our spiritual journey. Check it out.
1. God starts out with something crazy and miraculous.
Israel’s first victory at Jericho was no doubt a miraculous one. You remember the story…march around the city once for six days. March around it again on the seventh day, but this time blow some horns and yell really loud and the walls will come tumbling down. (May I be so bold as to suggest that the miracle of this moment was not that the walls came tumbling down at the shout of the Israelites, but that the Israelites actually went along with this unconventional battle plan?) Not only did this scene prove their obedience to the Lord, but by seeing those walls come crashing down it built up their confidence to trust God in His ability to keep His promises and to fight for His people.
When we are on our journeys, whether it is in our daily walk with the Lord or we are pressing toward a mission or promise that He has revealed to us, God often starts out with a bang. Something that totally knocks our socks off. Something that can only be explained by Him. It is up to us to take a step of faith (which might require us to do something seemingly senseless) in order to see His deliverance and promise.
2. Whenever we go without God we lose. Period. ‘Nuff said.
3. Satan increases his attacks the closer and closer we get to God.
The further and further the Israelites went into their territory, the more intense the battles became. Five kings gang up on them. Then, ten kings. The armies become bigger and bigger. Similarly, the closer and closer we come to reaching what God has in store for us the more nervous Satan becomes. He responds by increasing his forces in battle. Are your battles getting harder and harder? Perhaps you are right around the corner from your promised land.
4. The harder Satan comes at us, the more intense and intentional we have to be in our walk with God.
Just as the Israelites had to increase their armies as the ferociousness of the battles increased, so we have to increase our efforts with more prayer, more bible study, and more of ourselves.
5. When the battle intensifies, we are to remind ourselves, just as Joshua reminded the Israelites of God’s commands:
“Do not be afraid…”
“Be strong and courageous…”
“Do not be discouraged…”
6. God always wins through whatever means necessary. Whether it is breaking down walls, making the sun stand still, hardening the hearts our enemies, or throwing people into confusion. God always wins and His resources are unlimited.