This is Day 6 of a series of posts for the month of October. I’m joining Kate Motaung over at Five Minute Friday for the annual Write 31 Days challenge. I will write about themes found in the book of Joshua each day, with a different word prompt.
Today’s word prompt is HOLD.
We’ve been spending a lot of time in Joshua, but today I want to take you back to set up the context for the book. After all, context is king when it comes to Scripture interpretation.
I want to talk about those 40 years before the book of Joshua. After being released from their bondage in Egypt. (Remember the plagues and the Rea Sea parting? That was God getting them out.) But here’s the thing: from where they were to where they were going (Canaan, the Promised Land) it was only about 400 miles.
And it took them 40 years.
“Why did Moses wander the desert for 40 years? Because even back then men wouldn’t ask for directions.”
I mean obviously this was not a day’s drive or anything. They had to walk or ride their camels. There were mountains to get around, it was the desert. It wasn’t going to be an easy journey. But 40 years? This wasn’t because they couldn’t find Canaan. It’s because God held them back.
“And the Lord’s anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of the Lord was gone.” (Numbers 32:13)
God’s people were scared that going into Canaan involved fight people a lot bigger than them. “We are like grasshoppers next to them!” they cried. When learning it wasn’t be a cake walk to take over Canaan, they complained. They were sick of manna, and missed Babylon. What a testament this is to how we would rather be enslaved in sin than free in Christ, just because he tells us to do what’s best for us. We are a stupid people.
God knew his people weren’t ready. They had been so tainted by 400 years of living in a pagan land, they’d forgotten Who they belonged to, Who they were to worship, Who they were to follow. They want to follow their own sinful hearts.
So God held them back, and pursued them to holiness , to bring them back to where they belonged. With Him.
God holds us back for all kinds of reasons, but I can’t think of no better reason than to do so for our growth and sanctification. He knows when we are ready and when we aren’t. That’s why He holds us.