As a consequence of their choice to not go into the land, the Hebrews would be required to wander the desert for 40 years. All of the Israelites would die, and their children would be the ones to receive the blessing of the Promise Land. All would die, except for 2 men: Caleb and Joshua.
Main Events of Deuteronomy 34 and Joshua:
It is said that Moses wrote the first 5 books of the Bible. At the end of Deuteronomy, we are told that Moses died. The book of the history of Joshua opens with God telling him to be strong and courageous. Many time we see people fighting with swords, knives, guns and other weapons. But God has a variety of battle plans and we get to read about them in the scriptures. But keep in mind, God still fights battles today in ways that don’t seem quite right to us humans. We need to take heed to God’s words to Joshua, “Be strong and courageous. I am with you.”
God told Joshua His plan. They were to take the Promised Land by entering westward over the Jordan River and then dividing the land in half. Then there would be a southern campaign and then a northern campaign to conquer all of the cities and peoples.
After they crossed the Jordan River (which was miraculous!) Jericho was the first city to conquer. Jericho was huge with thick walls. God’s idea was for the people to march quietly behind the priests around the walls one time each day. On day seven, the people were to march seven times around and then all of the horns would be blown and the people would cry out and shout. Scripture tells us that Joshua and the people obeyed the Lord. When they shouted the “wall fell down flat!”
There was another great battle at Gilgal. Joshua and the people were up against five kings and their men. There was a great slaughter of the enemy. God threw down hailstones to hit the enemy. The sun was starting to set and Joshua prayed that God would allow the sun to stay still until the enemy had been defeated. God listened…and the sun did not go down for about a day. The Lord fought for Israel.
Joshua and the Isaelites conquered the land…as the Lord commanded. There were still some battles that needed to be fought, but the tribes went ahead and divided up the land amongst themselves. Joshua was an old man by now and he gave the nation a farewell address before his death. He told the people to finish conquering the people. And to remember everything that they had seen the Lord do for them. He encouraged them to be strong and to obey the Lord. And then he warned the people to get rid of the idols in the land.
In conclusion, Joshua challenged the people to choose: “Choose this day whom you will serve. As for me and my house we shall serve the Lord.”
Life Application of Deuteronomy 34 and Joshua:
We have the same choice today as the Israelites did then. We can either serve and obey the Lord, or we can serve ourselves and do what we want. Conquering the land was hard work. It involved sacrifice. There are many things in life today that are hard to do. We would much rather watch TV than clean our rooms. We’d rather ride bikes and not do homework. Watching TV and riding bikes are easy. God doesn’t call His people to an easy life. He asks us to do the hard thing. He asks us to choose the desires of others before our own. He asks us to be holy and pure as He is. He asks us to deny ourselves, pick up our cross and follow Him. God wants us to make fishers of men.
Jesus didn’t want to die on the cross. In fact He asked God to let Him not go. But instead Jesus chose to do the hard thing. He gave up what He wanted in order to be obedient. And because of His obedience we receive salvation.
**Will the Israelites choose the easy road or the hard road? Find out next week…..