God: Our Promise Keeper (A Study of the Book of Joshua)
To date, I have taught through the following in their entirety: 1 and 2 Peter, Titus, Joel, Ephesians, and 1 Corinthians. Yesterday, I began a new teaching series on the book of Joshua. This, as you can see, is my first time attempting to teach through an Old Testament Historical Narrative book of the Bible. And I can already tell it is going to be a challenge at points. For example, how does one teach on the apportioning of land to the tribes of Israel that essentially takes up chapters 13 through 21 without causing the eyes of those attending the class from glazing over? At this point, I am not at all sure how I will manage this task. I guess I will see how the Lord helps me when I get there. But I am looking forward to laboring through this book with the help of God.
So, we tackled chapter one verses one through nine (we actually made it through verse 5 and will pick up from there this coming Sunday) in a lesson I simply entitled, “Commissioned by God”. The book begins this way, “After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, ‘Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel.'” (Joshua 1:1-2; ESV)
After familiarizing the class with the two central characters who are mentioned in the opening verses (i.e., Moses and Joshua), I honed our attention back on these words of our LORD to Joshua, “After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, ‘Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise…'” At first glance, this doesn’t seem all that crucial or relevant. Oh, but it is! Throughout the lesson, I sought to highlight, what I called, points of truth. Here is the one I laid out before the class based on verse one:
The purposes of God are not hindered or halted by the deaths (or one could even extend this to say a person’s removal, resignation, or reassignment from leadership, perhaps even in other arenas of life) of those through whom God worked mightily. Here is Moses whom God used in such a major way to bring about the deliverance of the people of Israel from Egyptian slavery and who led them through 40 years of wandering in the wilderness and positioned them at the gates of the Promised Land, east of the Jordan River. This Moses is now dead. The question that looms large is: Is God’s agenda for His people in jeopardy of not being fulfilled due to the passing of such a revered and significant leader in the life and journey of the people of Israel? Not at all! The determinative will of God for the people of God is never contingent upon a man of God.
I love how D.R. Davis puts it in his book, No Falling Words: Expositions of the Book of Joshua. He writes, “Yahweh’s fidelity does not hinge on the achievement of men, however gifted they may be, nor does it evaporate in the face of funerals or rivers.”
Simply put, people will come and go, but God’s purposes for our lives – both collectively as a church and individually as believers – will remain. So whether your church has lost a revered and respected leader, or you lost someone who played a significant role in your life and development, or, on the negative side, someone deserted or divorced you for no good biblical reason, may this truth be a source of encouragement for you today.