Joshua 20-21: Promises, Promises
April 9, 2020
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
The arrangement of the land that has been subdued, though not yet totally conquered, continues. The cities of refuge—places where someone who has unintentionally killed another person might fly for refuge and be protected from vengeance from the relatives of the person unintentionally killed—are allocated (Joshua 20). The Levites receive their allotted cities, parceled out from the various tribes’ portions, so that they have places to live and places for their livestock to graze (Joshua 21). Perhaps the most significant part of these chapters, though, comes at the end of chapter 21:
Thus the Lord gave to Israel all the land that he swore to give to their fathers. And they took possession of it, and they settled there. And the Lord gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the Lord had given all their enemies into their hands. Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass. (21:43-45)
Note the confidence and certainty and deliberate emphasis of this retrospective conclusion: “all the land,” “every side,” “not one of all their enemies,” “all their enemies.” Why? Because “Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.”
We know that all God’s promises are “yes” and “Amen” in Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 1:20), that fulfillment of every good thing promised to those who follow God is found in the person of Jesus and given to those who follow Jesus. In this “present evil age” when, as Jesus said, we shall have many troubles, we do not always see every one of God’s promises completed. But we will one day.
And that confidence that at the end of our lives when we enter into glory, land on “Canaan’s side,” we will find every promise—all promises, every word, all the good promises, every single one—completed and fulfilled and kept sustains us now. It sustains with certainty that not only the promises we see already completed in Christ are matters for rejoicing, but also that those circumstances which we cannot yet see as fulfilled promises of God will one day all be wrapped in this benediction to the beneficence of promises of God.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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