Last year I committed to reading the Bible through in a year. I had done it twice before, but that was years ago. I really enjoyed the journey and found many scriptures I had read before jumped off the pages to me in a way I hadn’t seen previously. Just like a little alter built between me and God, I have started the one year reading process over again and I have come across a verse that reminds me of all the emotions and thoughts that flooded my soul last year.
Before I share with you the verse, I would like to give some background details, so that way the miracle of this verse isn’t missed. The book of Deuteronomy is the last book written by Moses before he dies. Moses clearly in this book sets aside the blessing of following God’s law as well as the curse for not following it. He paints a beautiful picture of how things can be if the Israelites stay true to their God. I can imagine how inspiring it must have been to the Israelites to hear all the good things the Lord had planned for their future. When Moses dies, he passes the baton onto Joshua, who will now lead God’s people in the Promised Land. The Israelites know that many battles lie ahead and that they must purge the land of its evil inhabitants. With the inspiration of Moses and the courageous leadership of Joshua, the Israelites move forward and conquer. The book of Joshua documents the battles won and how the land was divided amongst the tribes.
Here is where my special verse comes into play. Joshua 21:45 says, “Not one of all the LORD’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.” This might seem like a simple verse, but its power packed! There were a lot of promises in the book of Deuteronomy, not just one or two. All of the Lord’s good promises were fulfilled. The Israelites knew the reward, but they also knew the amount of effort that was going to be required of them. They boldly walked in the truth that the Lord would do as he said and he did! We can see the process of faith unfold in this verse. The Israelites took him at his word and he came through.
God has called us, just like the Israelites, to move forward and be a force for good in this world. He has laid the promises out before us. We know the reward for stepping out in faith. My journey might not reflect that of an Israelite solider, but I am still called into a battle and into a fight. I know that it won’t be easy to cross the obstacles that lie ahead of me. However, I can see clearly that the Lord promises good to me if I do as I am called.
The closing of Joshua might seem like a nice place to end the story. God inspired the Israelites. They did as God told them to do. God was faithful to reward them. And they all lived happily ever after. I wish this was how the story ended, but sadly it’s not. The book of Judges turns into a cycle of the Israelites turning their backs on God. Instead of the living the promises of Deuteronomy, they are now living the curse. This process continues on through the generations and leads to their exile and dispersion as a people.
Here we can plainly see that good leads to good and evil leads to evil. The path we set out on determines our direction. The Israelites have given us a clear picture of what it means to live in obedience and blessing or to live in disobedience and suffer the curse. I am inspired to know that God will keep his promises; he will not fail me. However, I’m a part of this equation! I must choose the path and I must walk it out. If I want to see the promises fulfilled then I have to live out the calling he has given me and walk in obedience. When I look back on my time here on earth, I want to be able to say the same thing Joshua said, every good promise was fulfilled!