Standing on the Promises
“Not one word of all the good promises that the LORD had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.” (Joshua 21:45)
After forty years of wandering in the wilderness, the Israelites were finally able to enter the Promised Land. For forty years, they had been learning about God and His character, remembering His promises and discovering that He could indeed be trusted. Now, they were ready for the greatest test yet. They would enter the land, just as God said, and they would drive out the current inhabitants. God had told them to do this, promising to be with them if they obeyed Him.
The first place the Israelites conquered was Jericho. With that great city, they hardly did any fighting at all. The only thing they did was march around the city in silence for seven days and shout on the last day. God was the One Who did the conquering, Who caused the wall to fall down, delivering the people of Jericho into the hands of the Israelites. When they fought against the five Amorite kings, it was God Who made the sun stand still, giving them time to thoroughly rout their enemies. When they fought against Canaanites who had chariots of iron, it was God Who gave Israel the victory. By the time the land was divided amongst the twelve tribes of Israel, there was more than enough to go around. It was exactly as God had promised them.
It’s always so incredible to me to see how God works. The conquest of the Promised Land took about forty years, and God had told Moses forty years previously what He planned to do with that land. That means this was a promise that had stayed consistent over eighty years. And actually, it goes beyond that. When Abraham obeyed God’s call, God told him that his descendants would one day possess a certain piece of land—the land of Canaan, the place they now called home. Abraham had lived over five hundred years before then. But God remembered what He had said, and He was actively at work bringing it about. Nothing is impossible with Him. Without Him, the Israelites would have failed dramatically in their attempt to take over the land; this was illustrated poignantly at the first battle of Ai. But with Him, they were able to achieve what He had promised them. God can do all things. When He promises something, He’s going to see it through. We can always, always count on Him. He is a God Who never changes; He is a God Who keeps His promises.