Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, “Pass through the camp and command the people, saying, Prepare food for you. For within three days you are crossing this Jordan to go in to possess the land which Jehovah your God is giving to you, to possess it.” And Joshua spoke to the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to the half-tribe of Manasseh, saying, “Remember the word which Moses the servant of Jehovah commanded you, saying, Jehovah your God has given you rest, and He has given to you this land.”
The call of God upon His children to enter into His rest is not without the accompaniment of His provisions of grace for the success of their journey. “Prepare food for you” – They were to store up sustenance from what God had already been providing for them. How easily we miss and take for granted His numerous provisions! Even while still on the edge of the wilderness, they had food enough to take them to where God desired. So very often, the means to continue the journey are right before us, yet we do not take account of them, or we may even despise them. But let us forsake neither that table of His Life which is always set before us, nor those whom God has placed in our lives to strengthen one another and provoke each other to love and good deeds. For we may continue to rejoice in the hope of God’s glory by knowing this: that it is the same mercy which once drew us to repentance that He still reserves for the humble, and it is the same abundant grace in which we have stood from our beginning that He still desires us to access further through faith (Rom 5:2). And so we may draw near, our hearts having been sprinkled by His blood from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with His pure water (Heb 10:22), so that we may enter into HIS rest – even into the Holy of Holies – and become freely yeilded to HIS work in us.
“Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side of the Jordan; but you shall pass before your brethren armed, all you mighty men of valour, and help them; until the Lord has given your brethren rest, as He has given you, and they also have possessed the land which the Lord your God gives them. Then you shall return to the land of your possession, and enjoy it, which Moses the Lord’s servant gave you on this side of Jordan toward the sunrising.”
Those who seek the Lord wholeheartedly will respond obediently to this upward call upon them, leaving behind the childish and foolish matters of worldly kingdom building; soberly considering the testimony of the life of those who are wise in GOD’s kingdom, who are experienced in the good fight, whom He places as examples before us. We live in a time of great need for such mighty men of valour; yet by-and-large we currently see among God’s people a “leadership” whose goal is evidently not the perfecting of the saints, but rather the building of followings and “ministries,” so that the children are never weaned off milk to become grown sons, and the chaff is never allowed to be purged from the threshing floor; since there are so few warriors of righteousness, nor men operating from the Father’s heart to go sacrificially before the people, provoking in them the conviction to grow up into HE who is the true and only Leader.
“…you shall pass before your brethren armed, all you mighty men of valour, and help them; until the Lord has given your brethren rest, as He has given you…”
Let those who have truly been called to help the other children into the promised land not despise or resent what can often be a thankless calling; but instead bear it with all joy in the assured hope of the glory of God being revealed in His faithful! For there is an order of preparations for the children to enter the land, and there is an order in which they must enter, all set in place by God. And in His kingdom, the mightiest are those who render themselves the lowest servant: even the unknown ones who serve diligently and humbly on the front line of battle, bearing the brunt of the enemy’s attacks to protect the weak in faith, made mighty through God who honors their faith as being their very shield. And these ones travel a little further ahead where many others do not yet see, that they might bring back an encouraging report regarding that which all of the children may inherit (chapter 2) by obedient faith.
“…THEN you shall return to the land of your possession…”
The mighty men of valour find the fulfillment of their calling in their brothers entering the rest of God; and this is truly the call upon each member of God’s assembly:
“And let us consider one another, to the incitement of love and of good works, not forsaking the assembling together of ourselves, as is the custom of some, but exhorting, and by so much more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
If I would see the body of Christ grow into the fullness of HE who is the Head of HIS church, I must realize my personal responsibility both for myself AND for my brother!
Let us therefore be those whose very lives are found crying before the Lord,
“I will not enter my house or get into my bed, I will not give sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids, until I find a place for the LORD, a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”
And they answered Joshua, saying, “We will do all that you command us; and we will go everywhere you shall send us. According to all we heard from Moses, so we will listen to you. Surely Jehovah your God is with you, as He has been with Moses. Whoever rebels against your mouth, and will not listen to your commands in all that you say to him, he shall die. Only, be strong and brave.”
“Whoever rebels against your mouth… he shall die.”
The words of the Lord are for our good: they are spirit and life. It is soul-endangering to despise the rightly-spoken word of rebuke or correction; it must be considered as great a mercy as the word of encouragement, which truly it is. God’s wrath upon the insolent is not His delight; but He cannot compromise His word. He is slow to anger and abounding in mercy; and He has provided the path of His Life and the grace to walk in it! What He has spoken He will perform; and those not found abiding in His Word quite simply are not abiding in His Life.
“Whoever rebels against your mouth… he shall die.”
– But those who hunger and thirst for righteousness shall be filled; and those who cry out knowing that they are but dust will be given life according to His Word!
“Only, be strong and brave.”
The children of Israel had one leading them whom God was with; but we now have One to directly lead us of whom Joshua was a shadow and type: Jesus, who is both God with us and in us. There is no need for lingering outside of His rest in faithless fear any longer; since in HIM we have the One who trains our hands and strengthens our arms for battle, He who shields and upholds us in the time of need, He who IS the Rock beneath our feet upon which we may tread firmly in the higher places by faith!
He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
Trust in Him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us.