And so a new chapter begins.
Moses is dead, and the Israelites are provided with a new leader – they would have seen it coming, after all, Joshua was the right hand man to Moses for years leading up to this day.
Still, it must have been a bit of a nervous time. I mean, it’s one thing to actually sit there and say, “Yes, I’m now your leader,” but it takes more than just a declaration to actually really engage in the role.
So Joshua gets this repeated reminder. He received it several times in Deuteronomy, too.
“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them.” ~ Joshua 1:6
Over and over is this reminder to be strong and courageous. It’s been something that’s echoed throughout my life – perhaps, given that I’m a Joshua as well, it was just a natural fact that was going to happen, that when people wanted an encouraging verse they’d drop by this book and see what they could find, but it has helped, too. It’s a great thing, though, for all of us to remember.
What I really liked, though, as I read this chapter was actually this one:
“Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” ~ Joshua 1:8
As I mentioned with the post in Deuteronomy 34, when I started this blog I was not walking with God. One of the other perspectives that I had with the entire thing of writing this while in that place, was the understanding that I had, that regardless of what you believe, the bible – read in proper context – is still a great life manual to pay attention to. Yes, you can pull out all sorts of individual verses that say all sorts of things – but the point I’m making is that the bible, this book, as a whole, gives a great methodology and morality to live one’s life by, even if they don’t want to know God. I believed that then, and I believe it now.
I also believe – especially since it kind of happened to me – that if you really read and take in what the bible is saying, then you will realise that God is speaking to you in each word.
I can’t help thinking, as I read the first part of this chapter, of a pretty well known saying.
“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”
I see and hear a lot of people talking about trust, these days. About how if someone betrays their trust, then they should never be trusted again. How if someone hurts them, they will never let that person in again.
This isn’t God’s way, though.
Here is perhaps one of the great statements of God’s love, in Deuteronomy. For pages and pages, this book’s gone on about the law, and there’s been talk of blessing, but there’s been an overwhelming amount of curses and condemnation for if they go wrong with following the law, too.
When you and your children return tot he LORD your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you.~ Deuteronomy 30:2-3
God’s love has never ceased – he promised, right here at the beginning that he wouldn’t cease loving them. The curses, the destruction, the scattering and captivity that would happen was consequential from the actions performed by the Israelites, but all they had to do was turn around, and God would be there once more to welcome them into his arms and bring them back into the blessing and abundance that he had promised them to begin with.
Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the LORD your God will gather you and bring you back. ~ Deuteronomy 30:4
I’m overwhelmed as I’m reading and writing this tonight. It’s all stuff I’ve heard before, but my prayer is that anyone who’s reading this will have the same fresh revelation that I’m receiving right now, of just how much God loves us. We know these things, we hear them all the time, we sing them in songs at church – but do we really understand them? Do we really let the reality of what it actually means, sink in to our very heart and existence?
Just pause, please, right now, and meditate on this verse. Think about it metaphorically, no matter how far we stray from God, no matter how far from home we are, he will gather us and bring us back. He will always bring us back, if we would just turn to him.
And to finish. It’s so easy – God didn’t make it complicated, we’re the ones who do that. Read this chapter, turn to him, obey him, love him.
Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach… No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. ~ Deuteronomy 3-:11, 14