Joshua 21:43-45 Christ, the door to kingdom’s inheritances
43 So the Lord gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it. 44 And the Lord gave them rest on every side, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers, and no one of all their enemies stood before them; the Lord gave all their enemies into their hand. 45 Not one of the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.
As the residential allocations for the Levites were finally completed, the section ends with the proclamation of God’s faithfulness towards fulfilling His promises. As ancient Israel found fulfilment of God’s promises through Abraham, believers find fulfilment through covenant with Christ. Today’s devotion teaches believers to put their full trust in Christ when faced with the temptations and challenges life.
Not one of the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.
The list of allocation of territories culminates in this assertion: all came to pass. God had kept His promise to grant Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers. God had ended the years of struggle and war despite Israel’s own shortcomings by giving them rest on every side. However, at this juncture, not all the land was in Israel’s possession. Each tribe must continue to drive out the Canaanites in their respective territories until they take full possession of it. God made this clear to Moses that the land will be conquered gradually (Deuteronomy 7:22). The struggle will continue but in a different form and scale. Each tribe must now take ownership over their respective territories in driving out the residual enemies. Thus, the war had shifted from national to tribal level. Joshua would no longer preside over them, but each tribal leader would. As opposed to Joshua, each tribe will be directly accountable to God to draw strength and wisdom in times of need.
God’s promises are in full operation for those who put their trust in Christ.
The children of Israel were faced with an uncertain future when they entered a land armed with nothing but the promise of God. God had previously promised Israel,
“And I will set your border from the Red Sea to the Sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the Euphrates, for I will give the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you shall drive them out before you.” Exodus 23:31
As we know it, Israel triumphed over enemies that were bigger and more numerous than they. Israel did not succumb to the temptation of giving up, but believed God and fought valiantly. In all of Israel’s battles, we saw God’s divine interventions and no one of all their enemies stood before them. Whenever Moses and Joshua were on the brink of giving up, they remembered God’s promises and stayed the course. Israel knew full well that to give up was tantamount to sinning against God. Israel put their trust in God and fought one battle at a time. And within seven years, Israel conquered the whole of Canaan and saw God’s promises came to pass. One important point that must not be overlooked is: God’s promises operate by way of a covenant. In the case of the Israelites, God made a covenant with Abraham which made his descendants (the Israelites) recipients of God’s blessing and promise,
I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. Genesis 17:7-8
The Abrahamic covenant also explains why the inhabitants of Canaan were not partakers of this promise and were summarily cutoff from the land of Canaan.
However, the question remains: what are some of God’s promises for the world today? Who are eligible for these promises?
As God’s promises for Abraham and His descendants were contained within the land of Canaan, God’s promises for Christ and His disciples are contained within the kingdom of God. Moses and the Levitical priests spoke to all Israel concerning the blessings of Canaan in Abraham (see Deuteronomy 28:1-14). The apostle Paul spoke of the inheritance given to all believers through the ministry of the Spirit (see Ephesians 1:3,13). In short, the blessing of Abraham was earthly and temporal, but the blessing given through Christ was heavenly and eternal. It is through Christ that believers are appointed as sons of God having full rights to God’s inheritance.
As Abraham is the door to the old covenant promises, Christ is the door to new covenant promises. In Hebrews 8:6, Abraham’s covenant was spoken as pale in comparison with the covenantal promises of Christ.
He (Jesus) is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises. Hebrews 8:6.
In today’s increasingly complex and unforgiving society, Christ’s covenantal blessing is a refreshing oasis for all who are distraught with the challenges of career and academia, relationship and finances. Many people cope with their fears by turning to various forms of distractions. But who can help them navigate the unchartered waters where insidious undercurrents loom? As God spoke to the Israelites during the time of Moses, Jesus is speaking to all people today. Jesus invites all to have a covenant with Him,
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
It is through a covenant with Christ, that we can receive the Holy Spirit where access to the kingdom of God is unreservedly opened for us. The apostle Paul described the lifestyle of God’s kingdom as one that is kingly in character (righteousness), being in perpetual peace and joy of the Holy Spirit (see Romans 14:17). Jesus taught believers to seek the kingly and righteous lifestyle of the kingdom, and all these things: relationship, career, significance and security will be freely given (see Matthew 6:33). Making a covenant with Christ involves putting on Christ’s virtues and pursuing God’s agenda above all agendas.
Are you pressured on every side and at the brink of giving up? Most people give up because they were alone in their struggles. Jesus, at the garden of Gethsemane when grieved to the point of death, urged his disciple to stay with him. He was battling with the temptation of giving up and needed the company of his closest disciples. Jesus called out to his disciples who were falling into slumber,
“So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:40-41.
The company of disciples provided Jesus with much needed strength to stay on the way of the cross. When God’s people stay together, we can weather any storm and overcome challenges much bigger than ourselves. The most important thing you need to do is to find a spirit-filled community, one whom you can find solace and encouragement.
Dear Lord, I am awed with the prospect of receiving the glory and the blessing of the kingdom. I am determined to put my complete trust in Christ and His promises. Energise my faith with the Spirit so that even in the midst of my battles, I can experience eternal life now. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.