March 8 - Nº 67 Joshua 14:6-15; 23 – 24
The Israelite army, under the leadership of Joshua, had conquered most of the land of Canaan. Now that the major battles had been won, they could begin settling their assigned tribal territories. It was up to the individual tribes to get rid of any pagan deities that remained and make sure that everyone worshiped and served only God. Caleb and Joshua were the only Israelites still alive who had lived through the exodus from Egypt. They were the only two spies who had trusted God at Kadesh Barnea (see #54 - February 23). They had believed that God would protect the nation if they obeyed Him and entered the Promised Land. The other ten spies had been too afraid of the “giants” they had seen. They had convinced the people to disobey God. Consequently, the nation had been forced to wander in the wilderness for 40 years until the entire unbelieving generation had passed away. Now, only Caleb and Joshua remained. Caleb, who was 85 years old, had “whole-heartedly” followed God his entire life. He was ready to claim his territory—which included the territory occupied by those fearful “giants” the spies had seen. Boldly trusting God, Caleb easily defeated them and settled in his new home. Joshua had also remained faithful his entire life. But now that his mission as a military leader had come to an end, he knew that he would soon die. So, he called the people of Israel together. He reminded them of all the things God had done for them. He told them, “Be strong and continue to obey all that is written in the Law of Moses. Don’t worship the gods of the people who still live in the land. And don’t intermarry with any of the pagan survivors. If you do,” he warned them, “they will become snares for you, and you will be forced out of the land.” Joshua finished by summarizing all that God had done for the Israelites from the time of Abraham to their settling in the Promised Land. “He even fought for you with hornets,” Joshua reminded them. “He gave you fields you didn’t buy, cities you didn’t build, and vineyards you didn’t plant.” He challenged them to throw away all the idols their ancestors had worshiped and serve only God. “Choose this day whom you are going to serve,” he commanded. “As for me and my family, we will serve the Lord!” The people exclaimed, “We want to serve God, too! We’ve seen all the amazing things He has done for us, and we choose to serve Him.” But Joshua didn’t fully trust them. “He is a holy God,” he said. “If you forsake Him, and serve foreign gods, He will bring disaster on you and destroy you.” But the people shouted, “No! We will serve the Lord!” Joshua set up a memorial to remind the people of the promise they had made. Soon after this Joshua died. The nation of Israel remained true to their promise throughout the lifetime of all the elders who had served with Joshua. But then a new generation grew up who didn’t know the Lord.
Are you willing to be like Joshua and Caleb? Do you whole-heartedly serve God even if no one else does? Are you willing to boldly stand up against His enemies? If so, God is looking for leaders like you! Get ready to watch God do amazing things!