The Difference Between Dying in the Wilderness and Inheriting the Promised Land
Today’s Bible reading is Joshua 11 and Matthew 23.
The conclusion of Joshua 11 very matter-of-factly documents:
And Joshua came at that time and cut off the Anakim from the hill country, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab, and from all the hill country of Judah, and from all the hill country of Israel. Joshua devoted them to destruction with their cities. There was none of the Anakim left in the land of the people of Israel. Only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod did some remain. So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD had spoken to Moses. And Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal allotments. And the land had rest from war. (Josh 11:21-23)
Joshua and the people of his generation did what their parents’ generation said could not be done. Remember?
“We came to the land to which you sent us. It flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. However, the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. And besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the Negeb. The Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the hill country. And the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and along the Jordan … We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.” (Num 13:27-29, 31)
Both generations were encouraged to believe the same promise:
“The LORD is with us; do not fear them.” (Num 14:9)
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Josh 1:9)
One generation refused to believe; they grumbled against Moses and talked about going back to Egypt (Num 14:14). The next generation believed; they marched and fought and conquered. And in doing so, they did precisely what their parents’ generation said could not be done.
It all depended upon faith (or lack thereof) in the promises of God.
Which begs the question: of which generation am I figuratively a part? The generation that marched with Moses but failed to believe? Or the generation that marched with Joshua and believed? The answer to that question could be the difference between dying in the wilderness and inheriting the Promised Land.