The message I took out of the first four chapters of Joshua is especially timely. We are living in unprecedented times. Not unprecedented in history, but certainly within our own lifetimes. Obviously, I am speaking of the coronavirus epidemic. No one knows how long the effects of this will last, or when things will get back to “normal” But do not fear. God is still on His throne.
After forty years of wandering in the desert, God finally allows His people to enter into the promised land behind the leadership of Joshua. The pivotal moment is when the Lord held back the flood-swollen waters of the Jordan river, allowing the tribes of Israel to cross over on dry land. Of course, this bookends the forty years in the wilderness after escaping Egypt by similarly crossing the parted waters of the Red Sea on dry land.
But after this crossing, God instructs Joshua to have each tribe take a rock from the middle of the river, and stack them up on the side of the river they were crossing onto.
Joshua chapter 4, verses 20-24 say, “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 do these stones mean?” tell them, “Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.” For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.’ ”
Our Heavenly Father knows that we are a forgetful people. I am an expert at it. But certain things are worth remembering. Like when God has rescued His people, fulfilled promises, or performed miracles. God instructed people to remember certain events throughout history. Thankfully, we have the history of such events at our fingertips in His word. We know that He has fulfilled every promise that has come to pass, and so we should have confidence that the Godly promises that have not come to pass will also be fulfilled.
But what about events that are not written down in the Bible? What about events in our own lives? Has God ever demonstrated His power and love to you personally? Think about such events, and how they can serve as our own monuments for us to hold onto and recount that God is there with us. If God has delivered you through difficult times before, have confidence that He will do so again.
Finally, remember that no matter what the future holds, no one can take away the promise of the future Kingdom that we will have a part in. Nothing that ever happens on earth will take that promise away, and today, and every day going forward, God is in control.
For you parents, remember that this is a great time to model real faith to our children. It is easiest to show faith in God when everything is going great. But how will you model your faith and trust in God during these difficult times? That is what matters most.
I have added some verses of encouragement below (starting with one from today’s reading), and then after that, a link to a youtube playlist I created that has songs of encouragement.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Timothy 1:7
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Welcome to the Books of History in our
Today’s passage, Joshua 1-4 can be read or listened to at