From our Bible study JOSHUA: HEAVEN’S MIGHTY WARRIOR
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A reminder… Joshua takes the reigns of leadership after Moses died and leads the people of Israel into their awaited Promised Land.
If you had wandered like nomads in the desert your entire life, and buried most of your family in that place, wouldn’t you be excited to finally get a new land, especially a beautiful land with rich nourishment that lacks nothing (Deuteronomy 8:7-9)? Wouldn’t you be chomping at the bit to get there?
The other day I was talking to someone about how it feels to be getting older. He told me that it’s strange because while he knows that the life awaiting him in heaven is so much better, he’s not ready to leave this life. I understand what he’s saying, but I feel like the older I get, the more excited I am to get on with this life and into my eternal home – a place far better than what I’ve ever known.
Something tells me that a majority of those who crossed the Jordan River felt that way, too.
But unlike the entrance into our new land, the Israelite’s entrance wasn’t quite as easy. I heard it said that the Promised Land was actually a problem land. The land God described to Moses – a land “flowing with milk and honey” – was occupied by wicked and idolatrous people. Nations of people not easily defeated.
In Deuteronomy 7:1, God says that the nations they’ll be up against are “larger and stronger” than them.
Sometimes we have to go through the bad in order to get to the good. Sometimes it gets worse before it gets better. It’s important we don’t give up. Keep God’s Word before you and His promises tucked safely in your heart, bringing them out often. God is ALWAYS faithful.
Moses told the people that “The LORD your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little” (Deuteronomy 7:22). In other words, not all at once.
The land was taken in stages and Joshua used a brilliant strategy called Divide and Conquer. In fact, this military strategy has been used throughout history in many battles. The first cities Joshua captured were centrally located in Israel. From there, Joshua moved toward the southern cities, and then marched up to the north. If he had started in the south first, the central and northern cities would have joined together and become a stronger foe. Joshua is certainly a great military leader.
Let’s pause here for a moment and ponder this divide and conquer method. As I said, this is a smart battle plan when conquering land, but never a good method in places where unity is of utmost importance. You’ve heard it said, “United we stand; Divided we fall.” How true this is because unity harvests strength, but division yields weakness.
Jesus said, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand” (Matthew 12:25).
This is a warning we need to heed, yet we often don’t. Look around and you’ll see the divide and conquer approach at work in our families, our country, the church, and the world. Children prevail at pitting their parents against each other, Christians succeed at dividing the church right down the middle, co-workers stand on opposite sides of the room throwing accusations in each other’s’ faces, nations gang up on other nations, and people let their disagreements tear friendships apart.
Think about how you’ve seen this happen in your life.
Here’s the thing: when we are divided, then Satan conquers our hearts, our minds, our emotions, our peace, and our joy. And then he succeeds at destroying what was once really good.
Maybe we should do some soul-searching and see if there is division in any area of our lives. I will say that if you find an area – a relationship, a friendship, family structure, church, work, etc. – divided, you’ll find disagreement, quarreling, strife and chaos. Perhaps it’s time to ask God to bridge the divide. And then do everything you can to close up the gap.
In our Bible study on Joshua, we will follow this mighty warrior and watch him successfully use the divide and conquer method to take the land. This was God’s strategy to eliminate the evil to make room for the holy. Amazing stuff.
I hope you’ll join us online as we study JOSHUA: HEAVEN’S MIGHTY WARRIOR.