This chapter talks about the allocation of the Promised Land to the Levites and the priests. There are many cities allocated to them but since this is a blog, I will not go into details of the location.
What comes immediately to me in this chapter is actually the last verse of this chapter.
“Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.” (Joshua 21:45)
To paraphrase this, the Lord kept His Promise to the people, which is the promise of giving the land of Canaan to them.
This verse come to me as being significant in that after such an arduous and long journey out of Egypt, the Israelites have finally their rest from their enemies around. They have not only entered the Promised Land, but they have taken possession of the lands as according to what the Lord has promised.
“The Lord gave them rest all around, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers. And not a man of all their enemies stood against them; the Lord delivered all their enemies into their hand.” (Joshua 21:44)
The Old Testament story of the Israelites coming out of the land of Egypt, being tested in the wilderness and then entering the Promised Land is a parallel of the spiritual journey we undertake.
The Lord says that the path to the kingdom of heaven is narrow. He says that in order to do it, we must face hardships in our faith and only those who endure to the end shall enter this rest. The Israelites had to detour for years in the wilderness before they were allowed to take possession of the land. Even then, it was not a plain sailing conquest of the land. They had to battle city by city and destroy the inhabitants. In order for them to succeed, they had to heed the instructions of God, failing to do so led them to lose battles to their enemies.
As soldiers and citizens of God, we are faced with an unseen enemy. It is a spiritual warfare and that only those who put their trust in God and religiously pursue holiness and perfection shall be able to stand up to the lure of this world and the persecutions that will come. It is only through struggles with the enemy and even with ourselves, that we can improve in our faith and be ready for the coming of our Saviour.
The story of the Israelites tells us, that we truly need to put faith in God’s promise. If we lack faith, God will test our faith and put it on trial just as He had put the Israelites on trial in the wilderness for 40 years due to their disbelief in His Promise. Not only do we need to have faith in this Promise, we need to truly put this faith in action. Like the Israelites, we need to boldly face the enemy and rely on the power of God to overcome the enemy. By faith, they were able to overcome the enemies who were physically stronger, courageous and experienced warriors who fought from fortified cities. In so doing, God will give us the heavenly rest He promise to us. It is something that is not easy, but to God everything is possible. The modern Christian denominations on the other hand will tell us another story; a story of abundance and smooth journey and of only blessings. But the truly reality is, this journey is narrow as our Lord Jesus told us but He has Promised us that He has prepared us a better home; a home in which if we believe truly exists, is worth our lives fighting for.
Paul concludes that death is a gain,
“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil 1:21)
Let us strive…
“Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.” (Heb 4:11)
And finally let us be reminded again our true aim in life,
And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life. (1 John 2:25)