I’ve been reflecting today on what I’ve learned so far on this journey through the Old Testament. And I must admit, that it has been enlightening to see how much my perception of things tends to be different than what the Bible says- despite reading it. It’s so easy to take what I’ve read and subtly change it to better fit what I want it to say, or something that is easier to fit with the culture around me. It just encourages me how important it is to be in the Word and keeping it in front of me so I don’t slowly get off course.
As you may know, I’ve read through the wilderness season of the Israelites, and am reading Joshua- the beginning of the Israelites being in the Promised Land. In my reading today, I read Joshua 12 which gives a recap of the defeated kings thus far. And this was what encouraged my self reflection today. If I were to quickly characterize wilderness seasons and seasons of the Promised Land in my own life, it would have gone something like this:
Wilderness: struggle, hardship, fighting to move to the next thing. Promised Land: rest, blessing, wealth.
You can even see in my post yesterday about a deep discouragement that I had accepted that the season of wilderness had not ended yet, and that I had not yet moved into a season of Promised Land. However, when I read Joshua 12 it made it clear to me that my perception- despite currently reading through these passages!- was very different than what was in the Bible. Man, am I quick to forget these things… I would have made an excellent Israelite!
The biggest and most noticeable correction was that seasons of battles to gain ground was not a main characteristic of getting to the Promised Land, but was instead a huge piece of moving into and gaining the Promised Land. East of the Jordan there are only 2 listed victories, while Joshua’s time in the Promised Land (thus far) has 31 listed! The first verse of chapter 13 even starts with mentioning that Joshua had grown old. So instead of thinking of battles as being the last obstacle to the Promised Land, it seems like from this that the presence of battles is a significant indicator of being IN the Promised Land.
Now, the wilderness was not easy- but the challenges of this stage were personal and corporate training and refining in obedience and faith. The ground that they traveled and covered was not to be possessed, but was allowing them the time for the lessons that the Lord had for them. In contrast, the land they traveled in the Promised Land they fought for and possessed it once they moved past it.
The hardship didn’t end when they entered the Promised Land, like I tend to think. Honestly, I see a much bigger case in the Bible that the battle never ends.