Joshua 20-21

The Faithfulness of God.

“Not one of the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.” ­– Joshua 21:45 NASB

Sometimes we fail to recognize the faithfulness of God. In fact, we oftentimes doubt it and complain that God is not doing His part. We take a look at our circumstances and determine that God has not done for us what we assumed He could or should do. If we find ourselves going through difficulty, we assume that it is NOT from God, and therefore He has dropped the ball and inadvertently allowed the difficulty to take place. At other times we may feel like God is nowhere to be found. He is absent or preoccupied with other things and too busy to help us. Or perhaps we think that God is angry with us and has decided to punish us for something we have done or haven’t done. In all these cases, we fail to understand the unfailing faithfulness of God. The end of chapter 21 of Joshua is a welcome reminder that we serve a faithful God who never fails to follow through on His promises.

Joshua reminds his readers that God had done all He had promised to do. “So the Lord gave to Israel all the land he had sworn to give their ancestors, and they took possession of it and settled there. And the Lord gave them rest on every side, just as he had solemnly promised their ancestors. None of their enemies could stand against them, for the Lord helped them conquer all their enemies” (Joshua 21:41-44 NLT). Now the reality was that they had not yet occupied ALL the land. There were not enough Israelites available to take possession of all the land that existed. But they had taken possession of great portions of the land, and as the previous chapters indicate, they had divided up the land between all the tribes, including the Levites. Now it was up to the Israelites to do their part. God had done His. In verse 45 Joshua seems to be illustrating the fact that God had been faithful to His promises up to that point in time. He had promised possession of the land, rest on every side, and victory over enemies. And the truth was, Israel had experienced all of these to some degree. God had been faithful to the “good promises” He had made to them when they had prepared to cross the Jordan (Joshua1:1-9).

God had been faithful and would continue to be so. The only reason the Israelites would not take possession of some of the land would be due to their own infidelity, not God’s. Any future conflicts with their enemies in the land would be their own fault, not God’s. God had given them the land and victory over their enemies. It was up to the Israelites, by faith, to make it a reality. But they would prove to be unfaithful. Just like we tend to be. We don’t lack peace and joy because God is unfaithful to provide it, but because we turn to anything and everything else to get it, other than God. It is ours for the taking, but we will only find it in Him. Chapter 21 tells how the Israelites gave portions of their land and cities to the Levites, the priestly family. This assured that priests were close by all throughout the land. The priests were to instruct the people in regard to the Law of God and help them keep it. In Shiloh, the tabernacle was erected, the place where God’s presence dwelt. Shiloh was in the middle of the Promised Land. So God’s presence was always in the middle of the people of Israel. God’s priests were always close at hand. They had no excuse for not following God. But they would do so any way, and on a regular basis. But so do we. God has given us His Word, He has provided us with places of worship and ministers to instruct us in His Word. But we still turn to other things for comfort, happiness, and significance. God has been faithful to us, but we regularly reveal our unfaithfulness to Him. If only we could open our eyes and recognize His presence and power in our midst. He is there. He is faithful.

Father, help me grow in my awareness of Your unfailing faithfulness. I have no reason to doubt You. You are a constant presence in my life – whether I see You or not. You are there and You care. Your promises are as good as fulfilled. Even your promise of eternal life. It is a done deal. Nothing can change it. Thank You. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

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