This week we finished up the book of Deuteronomy. Picking up from where we left off in in Week 6, we already talked about how Moses wasn't going to live in the Promise Land. So, God gave Moses some instructions to pass down to the new generation of elders and leaders. One of those was that once the Israelites had passed "over the Jordan to the land which the Lord your God is giving you, that you shall set up for yourselves large stones, and whitewash them with lime. You shall write on them all the words of this law, when you have crossed over, that you may enter the land which the Lord your God is giving you, 'a land flowing with milk and honey', just as the Lord God of your fathers promised you" (Deuteronomy 27:2-3).
In Deuteronomy 31, Joshua is appointed as the new leader of the Israelites. One of the key verses that stood out to me was Deuteronomy 31:8, "And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed." Often times, storms and challenges will arise in our lives and we will feel like throwing in the towel. However, as this verse says we are not alone and we should be dismayed. I'm definitely committing this verse to memory because this past week has been one full of more downs than ups.
God also predicted to Moses that the Israelites would rebel against Him one final time and thus forfeit their inheritance of the Promise Land. So, He told Moses to write a song which was to be taught to the Israelites to explain why they would forfeit the Promise Land. After Moses dies on Mount Nebo (Deuteronomy 34), Joshua then begins the task of rounding up troops to cross the Jordan and conquer all the lands that God has promised to the Israelites forefathers.
And you would think that at this point the Israelites would know to take heed to whatever God tells them to do. However, Achan decided to disobey God and took silver, clothing and gold from the land of Ai after God had commanded all the silver and gold to be put in a treasury and everything else was to be burned to the ground in the city. That bad decision cost Achan his life. He was stoned to death and then they burned his body and covered him with stones (Joshua 7:10-26). This just goes to show us that our sins do indeed have consequences.
Although, bad things happen to good and faithful people, bad things can also be going in our lives because we have failed to do as God has commanded us to do. For the most part, the book of Joshua details the conquering of all the different lands and how it was equally divided up among the 12 tribes. You also notice that there is a difference between Joshua and Moses as leaders. Moses allowed the Israelites to pull at his heartstrings and whenever they did wrong, he would also go to God to get Him to not bring wrath down on them. Whereas, if God told Joshua that His wrath was about to come down on a particular person or tribe, Joshua just said ok and followed whatever God told him to do with the guilty party.
I definitely think that this was in part due to Joshua having witnessed the stubbornness and rebellion of the Israelites under Moses' leadership. I'm sure he also saw how God punished Moses and probably didn't want to end the same. However, Joshua dies at the age of 110 and Eleazar, the son of Aaron (Moses' brother), dies too at the end of the book of Joshua.
The the Israelites haven't fully conquered the Promise Land, but the lands around it and in Week 9 we'll find out whether not God's prediction to Moses will come true and see if the Israelites will forfeit their inheritance. What do you all think?
Week 8 Readings
2/18 Judges 1-3
2/19 Judges 4-8
2/20 Judges 9-12
2/21 Judges 13-16
2/22 Judges 17-21
2/23 Ruth 1-4
2/24 1 Samuel 1-3