So I ended my last promise land series talking about the fear in the Promise Land. I think the biggest thing that hit me lately when reading Joshua is the new picture of the promise land that is full of fears coupled with the milk and honey.
The children of Israel were given a great promise for the land but to enter they had to in faith step into the raging Jordan River. It wasn't until the priest stepped into the river that the waters parted. Have you ever thought about the fear that might have passed through the priest's mind as he was told to step into this current while balancing the ark? Have you ever thought about the priest who held the ark as all the children of Israel passed over the dry land? He had to face his doubts and possible fears and take the step. I think I would have asked to be on the back pole and not the first one in the water! :) Then, the priests stood in the middle of the dry bed of the Jordan River until that last person passed over...does that sound like an easy road? I imagine that their shoulders and hands ached from holding the ark so long. So, to me, that was the beginning of the battles to come in fulfilling their trek into the promise land. Were the doubts already flooding their minds that this might not be the promise land life they had signed on for?
They arrived on this beautiful land of promise to have their first battle, Jericho. Well that one was not too bad but wow what was to come! They had battle after battle. Even when the battles ended and they were retreating back to camp for a much needed rest, five more kings came after them and back to battle the Israelites went. Again, were their minds beginning to doubt that this promise land might not be what they had thought they had signed up for?
Another twist to this promise land is that 8 times in the beginning of Joshua, God told Joshua 'fear not....be strong...be of good courage' God knew that this new challenge would scare them to death. God is so good to know and recognize the fear Joshua and the children of Israel would be suffering and encouraged them through it all. The last point, well not the last point as the book is so full of truths and nuggets, the encouragement of not to fear only was in the first part of the book! You see, as Joshua grew in his faith of God's deliverance, he didn't need the continual hand holding of God to not fear.
Humm.... Need I say, as our family entered into our 'promise land' we have already experienced multiple battles and the the fear that comes with entering the promise land. I am so grateful that God has given us the encouragement to not fear and I guess I will see if I will not need the reminders of His presence later in this walk.
I guess my admonition is that we all need to charge into our promise land and know that God is with us. Charge!!