Joshua 23:11 When you went over the Jordan (into the Promised Land) and came to Jericho, the citizens of Jericho fought against you, and also the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and I handed them over to you. 12 I sent the “hornet” (a symbol of God’s warring angel) ahead of you, which drove out before you the two kings of the Amorites; it was not by your sword or by your bow. 13 I gave you a land on which you had not labored, and towns that you had not built, and you live in them; you eat the fruit of vineyards and oliveyards that you did not plant. 14 “Now therefore revere the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.
Moses had led Israel out of Egypt and on a 40-year journey through the wilderness. As Israel finally crossed the River Jordan into the promised land it was Joshua (Moses’ protege) who led Israel against the native peoples of the region. V.12 makes clear it was God who brought about victory, not “your sword” or “your bow”. And what did they find in the Promised Land? Towns, lands, vineyards, olive groves, and more (v.13). Again, they didn’t have to build the towns or plant the vineyards, they simply received them as a gift from God. In other places in scripture this Promised Land is described as a land “flowing with milk and honey”. In other words, it was a rich land filled with good things waiting to be received by Israel. Sounds good so far, right?
Then there is v.14 which stipulates, “put away the gods that your ancestors served… and serve the Lord”. In other words, idolatry by Israel would compromise this amazing gift God had given to them. We will learn later in the bible that Israel did precisely what God had asked them not to do. They adopted the gods of the native peoples and turned their backs on their own God. And they suffered greatly as a result.
This morning I’m reflecting on the many wonderful gifts God has given to me over a lifetime. The question that was put before Israel as they occupied the Promised Land is now before me. Will I submit to God’s will and ways and be blessed, or will I rebel against God and pay a price? Lord, by your grace, give me strength to follow after you, when I want to run the other way. Amen.
One thought on “God’s way or my way?”
My word! (God’s Word!) this struck home! Just yesterday I thought, “If I could only run away or even escape for a respite (sp?) ” Then at 6:30 everything changed and blessings abound.
Amazing how I can see myself in this scenario. I did hang in there/here, and I thank God….again.
Good commentary, Pastor!