Promises Kept

Mar 15, 2003 11:01 AM EST

Joshua 23:1-14 (NRSV)

A long time afterward, when the LORD had given rest to Israel from all their enemies all around, and Joshua was old and well advanced in years, Joshua summoned all Israel, their elders and heads, their judges and officers, and said to them, "I am now old and well advanced in years; and you have seen all that the LORD your God has done to all these nations for your sake, for it is the LORD your God who has fought for you. I have allotted to you as an inheritance for your tribes those nations that remain, along with all the nations that I have already cut off, from the Jordan to the Great Sea in the west. The LORD your God will push them back before you, and drive them out of your sight; and you shall possess their land, as the LORD your God promised you. Therefore be very steadfast to observe and do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, turning aside from it neither to the right nor to the left, so that you may not be mixed with these nations left here among you, or make mention of the names of their gods, or swear by them, or serve them, or bow yourselves down to them, but hold fast to the LORD your God, as you have done to this day. For the LORD has driven out before you great and strong nations; and as for you, no one has been able to withstand you to this day. One of you puts to flight a thousand, since it is the LORD your God who fights for you, as he promised you. Be very careful, therefore, to love the LORD your God. For if you turn back, and join the survivors of these nations left here among you, and intermarry with them, so that you marry their women and they yours, know assuredly that the LORD your God will not continue to drive out these nations before you; but they shall be a snare and a trap for you, a scourge on your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land that the LORD your God has given you.

"And now I am about to go the way of all the earth, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one thing has failed of all the good things that the LORD your God promised concerning you; all have come to pass for you, not one of them has failed."

You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.

- Joshua 23:14 (NIV)

IMAGINE the final chapter in a life full of adventure, miracles, and obedience. Joshua, a great leader of Israel, was dying. He uttered his last breath in the same spirit he lived his life, claiming a faithful God.

I wish I were more like Joshua. I say I believe God won't fail me, but deep down I worry that it could happen. These are not insecurities born of faithlessness and lack of trust; they are simply characteristic of being human. We have earthly eyes, and we believe when we see. God calls us to believe what we cannot see.

True, God will not fail a promise. But the deeper truth is that God does not fault us for being human. The Creator made our earthly eyes and crafted our questioning minds. God knows what we are and what we are not, and the faith that we have is a gift from God. Because of this heavenly gift entrusted to our earthly hearts, we, like Joshua, can claim that God has not failed. "Every promise has been fulfilled."

Prayer: Great Giver, fill our hearts with courage. Replace our fears with peace. Transform our doubt into faith. Amen.


God's love is even greater than our faith.


To believe in the invisible

By Amy Beth Larson, Colorado