When God told the Israelites he was giving them a land, I wonder if they imagined exactly what that would look like and how it would go down. The journey alone tested their patience, endurance and faith, individually. And here, though victory is all but guaranteed, they have to fight for it. Literally.
In reading these chapters, I am reminded that God has a plan; there is a purpose in the journey (a lesson, a strengthening); and he keeps his promises. I see his sovereignty and power.
16 So Joshua took this entire land: the hill country, all the Negev, the whole region of Goshen, the western foothills, the Arabah and the mountains of Israel with their foothills, 17 from Mount Halak, which rises toward Seir, to Baal Gad in the Valley of Lebanon below Mount Hermon. He captured all their kings and put them to death. 18 Joshua waged war against all these kings for a long time. 19 Except for the Hivites living in Gibeon, not one city made a treaty of peace with the Israelites, who took them all in battle. 20 For it was the Lord himself who hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel, so that he might destroy them totally, exterminating them without mercy, as the Lord had commanded Moses. (Joshua 11:16-20, NIV, emphasis added)
6 “As for all the inhabitants of the mountain regions from Lebanon to Misrephoth Maim, that is, all the Sidonians, I myself will drive them out before the Israelites. Be sure to allocate this land to Israel for an inheritance, as I have instructed you, 7 and divide it as an inheritance among the nine tribes and half of the tribe of Manasseh.” (Joshua 13:6-7, NIV, emphasis added)
14 But to the tribe of Levi he gave no inheritance, since the food offerings presented to the Lord, the God of Israel, are their inheritance, as he promised them. (Joshua 13:14, NIV, emphasis added)
32 This is the inheritance Moses had given when he was in the plains of Moab across the Jordan east of Jericho. 33 But to the tribe of Levi, Moses had given no inheritance; the Lord, the God of Israel, is their inheritance, as he promised them. (Joshua 13:32-33, NIV, emphasis added)
I read this last bit today–a testimony of faith and obedience, and it strengthens me.
“You know what the Lord said to Moses the man of God at Kadesh Barnea about you and me. 7 I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, 8 but my fellow Israelites who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt in fear. I, however, followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly. 9 So on that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly.’
10 “Now then, just as the Lord promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the wilderness. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! 11 I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. 12 Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.” (Joshua 14:6-12, NIV, emphasis added)
Lord, how can I know what the future looks like? I cannot fully envision what it will be like and how things will go down. But I do know this, because you have told it to me all these years in your word, you have shown it to me in my own lifetime: You are sovereign and powerful. You have a plan; there is a purpose; and you keep your promises. I pray that my testimony is not one that causes others’ hearts to melt in fear, but would speak of trust, faith, and obedience–that I followed you wholeheartedly.