August 4 – Turning promise into possession
“Pass through the camp and command the people, saying, “Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you will cross over this Jordan, ...
August 2 – Divine assurances
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9 Scripture reading: Joshua 1:1-9 Yesterday we were confronted with the sinfulness of sin. Today we are comforted with Divine assurances from our loving God. There are three assurances in our passage. First is God’s Divine Presence. In verses 2 through 4, God commands Joshua to cross over the Jordan River to take possession of the Promised Land. Israel knew there were hordes of pagans there, some of them giants, all of them living in fortified cities. How could they possibly take this land? Only by trusting in the promise God makes in verse 5, “No man shall be able to stand before you … I will be with you.” With God’s presence this is possible. Without Him there is only failure. Second is God’s Divine Courage. Twice in verses 6 and 7 God commands Joshua “Be strong and of good courage.” Joshua can be this - not by drawing on some inner pool of strength - but because God’s presence is with Joshua and so he has God’s strength and courage! Relying on self will only bring disaster, but relying on the LORD will bring blessing. Third is God’s Divine Success. In verse 8, God promises that by observing “The Book of the Law” there will be “good success.” God gives us His presence and makes us strong and courageous so that we will be people of the Word, doing His will and not our own, as a testimony to the world. Jesus Christ is the fullness of these Divine assurances. Rest in Him today. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to teach you more of Himself. Ask Him to wean you more from yourself. Ask Him to make you “strong and courageous” through faith in Jesus Christ. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Ed Marcusse is the pastor of the Oak Glen United Reformed Church of Lansing, Illinois....
August 1 – Introduction
For many churchgoers today, the Old Testament Book of Joshua is only about ancient battles and bloodshed. Sure the walls of Jericho fell down flat, but what does that have to do with me? Liberal church leaders will even condemn the book because it seemingly encourages “ethnic cleansing.” As Reformed Christians, we see a far bigger truth being played out in the pages of this book. These chapters demonstrate well the intense and intimate nature of the process that God used in order to bring about His promised Messiah: how God worked in man and through man in order to save man! We also see in Joshua how our Sovereign God is not only in control of the outcome of individual battles, but how He also determines and guides the rise and fall of every nation on earth. All nations, all kings, right down to every individual, play a role in our Lord’s eternally devised plan to bring about and secure the salvation of His elect people. That is the greater “Story” going on in this book: the sovereign work and almighty action of our God in redeeming His people. From our studies this month, may we learn of how our Redeeming God continues to work out His great plan of salvation in the hearts and lives of His people still today. All came to pass “Not a word failed or any good thing which the LORD had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.” – Joshua 21:45 Scripture reading: Joshua 21:43-45 We begin our study of Joshua with verses that explain why this historical record was written: as a testimony to God’s covenant faithfulness! God is sovereign and “all comes to pass” of everything He ordains, therefore He can be entrusted with our life. We can follow Him in all confidence. Liberal scholars take exception to this. They contend that this book should not be read by us. “Joshua is too gory,” they proclaim. “Here is an Old Testament God of vengeance Who commands the Jews to steal the land that belongs to others and to commit genocide in the process! We demand a ‘kinder and gentler’ God than Who we see here.” We respond by admitting that there is bloodshed in this book, but we read Joshua in the light of the first five books of the Bible. There God reveals Himself as being absolutely holy and morally pure. He created us perfect and He warned us that He hates sin, promising death for anyone who did sin. Thus, the elimination of the pagan tribes of Canaan must be seen by us as God sees it: the holy, moral, and natural outcome of human sin. God’s righteous judgment must be against man’s sinful rebellion. Divine justice. “All came to pass” just as God promised. God will judge our sin as well. Do not ignore this truth! Apart from Jesus Christ, we too are “sinners in the hands of an angry God.” Trust in Jesus, for only in Him is there salvation for our soul. Suggestions for prayer Confess God’s holiness and your sinfulness. Thank Him for this time of grace and for the sending of His Son. Ask Him to give you spiritual eyes to see the great truths found in the Book of Joshua. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Ed Marcusse is the pastor of the Oak Glen United Reformed Church of Lansing, Illinois....