Continuing a plan to get through the entire Bible in a year, follow as I journal through the reading. I have chosen a straightforward approach that begins in Genesis and ends in Revelation. This will not be an in-depth study or a comprehensive commentary. There are plenty of sources for such material. This is stage one Bible reading, taking the text at face value and sharing impressions.
Today’s reading comes from the book of Joshua, chapters 22 through 24, as Joshua considers his legacy and charges Israel to keep the faith. Some impressions from the text:
- The Reubenites and the Gadites proved faithful to their Israelite brothers, traveling with them to make war on the inhabitants of the Promised Land in spite of their families and possessions remaining in lands to the west. So God was faithful to them, and gave them possession of those lands which they had chosen.
- With their Alter of Witness, the Reubenites and Gadites again exemplified obedience and humility while also marching to the beat of a different drummer. The ten tribes rightly feared that the Reubenites and Gadites would bring God’s wrath upon the whole nation, just as Joshua had been right to question their desire to inhabit lands west of the Jordan. But in both cases, the motives proved pure.
- Joshua’s charge to Israel’s leaders, given as he faces death from old age, points again toward the Lord. He calls them to marvel at all the Lord has done, and to take heed from these wonders that they not abandon the God who saves and provides.
- The Lord echoes Joshua’s charge, reminding Israel that it was not by their hands that they came into the Promised Land. “… it was not by your sword or by your bow. I gave you a land on which you had not labored and cities that you had not built, and you dwell in them. You eat the fruit of vineyards and olive orchards that you did not plant.”
- Jacob finishes with great flourish. “And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Despite his overwhelming worth and ability, the Lord still offers each one of us the choice to either serve him or abandon all wisdom.
- With the deaths of Joshua and Eleazar, so pass the last of those who personally witnessed the crossing of the Red Sea. The legacy of Joshua was second only to that of Moses, having led the people into the Promised Land, claiming an improbable string of military victories for which he gave all credit to the Lord.
Return soon as we continue our year-long journey through the text of the Bible.
Catch up on the previous entries:
Israel crosses the river Jordan. – Joshua 1 through 4
The Lord claims victory at Jericho. – Joshua 5 through 8
Joshua’s conquest of the Promised Land. – Joshua 9 through 11
Israel revels in victory and divides the spoils of war. – Joshua 12 through 15
Further dividing spoils of war. – Joshua 16 through 18
God’s promise to Abraham is fulfilled. – Joshua 19 through 21