Day 3: Joshua 1:10-18
The book of Joshua tells of Israel’s conquest of the promised land. They’d been in Egypt for some time, they’d wandered in the desert for far too long, but finally they were on the brink of getting back to where they were supposed to be.
In verses 1:1-9, God speaks to Joshua and tells him the plan and that he should be strong and courageous. Without delay, in verse 1:10, he starts getting the people ready showing that same strength and courage. Something to note here is that Joshua was brand new on the job, some hesitancy would be understandable, but he doesn’t hold back from what God had told him. His first command to the people was to “get your provisions ready”. This was a command to prepare.
At the time of writing, it is 5 days until our family holidays. Holiday reading has been purchased, piles of clothes are dotted around the house ready to go into suitcases, and we have begun to plan our activities. We’ve found that you get the best out of a holiday when you prepare for it. Preparation is all part of the process.
The Israelites, (and us for that matter), are on the brink of a new season, (not our holiday), but a season where we are starting to return to our new form of physical, in person church. Lots of preparation is taking place in church, but a challenge for each of us is how are we preparing. I don’t mean have we bought hand sanitiser and masks, but are our hearts ready? Are we playing our part to make sure that we come back on fire for God and ready for what he has planned for us.
They Israelites had lived for years and years in tents on the move from place to place. They’d developed a nomadic way of life, and they were about to put roots down in a new place. This was not just a change in location, but a change in lifestyle. There was no time and place for resistance, only an embrace of the new.
God describes moving into the promised land as ‘receiving rest’. The promised land was the place promised to Abraham all those years before in Genesis 12. It was the place God’s people were supposed to be. The plan of God was interwoven with this geographical location and by being back in the promised land, God was advancing his plans, and after years on the run, his people were at last able to find some form of rest.
The rest talked about here is echoed in the book of Hebrews. In Hebrews 4:1, where the writer tells us that the promise of entering his rest still stands to this day. What does it mean to enter God’s rest today? It means entering a relationship with Christ, being in a state of communion with him. It means to grow in God, and to take hold of everything that Christ has won for us when he died on the cross. It means to live in freedom, without fear of condemnation.
In Chapter 1:16-18, the people gave their enthusiastic yes to Joshua with one ask, and that was that God went with them. In 2020, will we give our enthusiastic yes to this new season, strengthened with the knowledge that as we move forward God goes with us?
Ps Dan Hoyle
Bishop Auckland Campus Pastor