the book of Joshua – plan


This is Day 8 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 PLAN.




They had a plan.

They went up to Ai to spy on the city, to see what their plan of attack should be. When they came back, they said to only send 2 or 3 thousand men, because there just weren’t that many of them to defeat. They expected a short battle with just a few men.

This was their plan. They planned for success.

But they didn’t know that God’s blessing had left them.

The sin of Achan, directly disobeying God by taking some of the things devoted for God’s treasury (6:18-19), had a collective consequence for the people of God. It wasn’t just Achan, the one who first disobeyed, that was punished.

Of the 3,000 went up to attack the city of Ai, 36 were killed. Considering the wars and battles and mass shootings we hear about today, that seems like a small number. But for God’s people, who had lost no one… who had the promise of God fighting for them… who obeyed God doing crazy things like blowing trumpets to bring down a six-foot-thick wall… 36 men dying was a big deal. Their defeat was a big deal.

It wasn’t part of their plan.

It’s no wonder Joshua tore his clothes off in mourning before the Lord. (Joshua 7:6) after this defeat. He knew it had nothing to do with the strength of the men in Ai that they lost. Because Joshua knew God was the one fighting for them. So he knew God was the one who brought about their defeat.

Planning is a never-ending tension in the life of a Christ follower. God is sovereign, and we must also do stuff. We must make choices, plan our days and weeks. Plan for emergencies by keeping a savings, make and keep doctor’s appointments to keep ourselves healthy. Our whole lives as Americans is about planning, really.

Yet we must hold these plans so loosely. In our hands and our hearts.

The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

Holding our plans loosely is often what keep people away from God. They fear being out of control, being forced to do things, not knowing what is ahead.

But the promise we have is that the one who plans and directs our steps is the one who created us, loves us, and knows us intimately.

Following his plan is easier when we understand the depth of his love for us. He is always for us, which means no matter what his plan looks like, it is GOOD.

the book of Joshua – truth


This is Day 7 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 TRUTH.


“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.” – Joshua 1:8

This was one of the rare Old Testament verses I had to memorize as a kid (I grew up in an almost entirely New Testament -focused church.) It’s inadvertently lead me to believe, for most of my childhood and a good portion of my adult life, that the Bible’s purpose was the Law. To tell us what to do. While that is part of what the Bible is for, it’s primary purpose is to

 impart the truth of God’s character. For it’s out of this knowledge the Law is built.
The Law tells us a great dealt about who God is. It’s reminds us of his justice, his compassion, his power, his mercy, his holiness.

It also reminds us of our sinfulness.

The truth of the Gospel involves both good and bad news. At this point in the book of Joshua, God’s people have just been read the Law. After their years in slavery, they need rules and regulations to be disciplined back into what they were created for: to worship the one true God.

In an ever-changing world, I am thankful to have a solid foundational truth to hold on to. Scripture grounds me in a world that does everything to keep me aimlessly floating, unsure of who I am and what I am called to do. This is why God calls us to keep the Book of Law from departing from us. Because it’s truth is constantly a reminder of who God is and who he created us to be.

the book of joshua – hold



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.

the book of joshua – story


This is Day 5 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 STORY.



There are a lot of stories in the book of Joshua that are fascinating to study and consider. But there is one more famous than all the rest.

I remember being in Sunday School as a kid, pretending to play a trumpet and marching around the room seven times. I remember the teacher telling me how cool it was that the walls of Jericho came down. I remember singing that child’s song , “Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, Jericho, Jericho // Joshua fought the battle of Jericho and the walls came a-tumbling down” I’m pretty sure our teacher had us collapse while singing the “a-tumbling down” part, too.

As a college student, I remember falling in love with Veggie Tales as I watched a bunch of french peas shoot purple slushies at God’s people while they marched around the wall. Pretty sure that’s not how it went down.)

As an adult, I’ve realized just how significant it is to read the Bible as one story. If you single out one of the stories in Scripture, like the Battle at Jericho, you can get a lot of wrong ideas of who God is. I’m pretty sure all I took away from that story as a child is that God likes to do cool things like make stone walls six feet thick comes down just by the marching and yelling. That is sooooooo not the point of the story.

The I find the point of the story in 6:27, “So the Lord was with Joshua…”

I can’t take what I learned as a child about Jericho into adulthood and have it matter much. Having a God that does cool things, even powerful things, is good to know. But it means so much more to also know that the Lord was with them. 

Why? As a covenant theologian, I believe God’s people include me. So this story tells me that He is with me, too.
This is my story. It’s the story of God’s people. He is with us always, never leaving or forsaking them.

the book of Joshua – trust



This is Day 4 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 TRUST.





At the beginning of the book of Joshua, there is a transfer of power. Moses has died and Joshua is now in charge.

I don’t presume to know what in the world God’s people were thinking at the time. But I feel like they had to be scared. The leader that defeated Pharaoh and took them out of Babylon, the leader that kept them safe while wandering the desert… he was not going with them into the Promised Land. Yet they trusted.

I would like to hope were I in that same situation that I would have responded with the same trust, “Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and where you send is we will go,” they cried with surety! “Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you” (Joshua 1:16-17)

I don’t know if they missed it or not, but I think it’s important to remind us all at this point that Joshua isn’t the one they should have put their trust in.

I’m sure Joshua had proven himself during their time together to be a great and trustworthy leader. But he wasn’t the one who defeated Pharaoh. He wasn’t the one who freed them from slavery and got them to the Promised Land. 

Neither was Moses.

We might be able to think that the parting of the Red Sea was God’s only participation in their release from Babylon. We might even be able to think that during those years wandering the desert, that it was their own wisdom and smarts that kept them safe from outside forces. But it wasn’t.

We see continuously in Scripture how God is for His people. He fights them. The victory is His. We will be disappointed when we put our trust in people. That’s a certainty. We will also be disappointed when we trust in God, too, though. Not because He fails us… but because often our will isn’t His will. When rejection and failure come upon us that disappoints us. 

The difference is that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

This is why we can trust.

the book of Joshua – hope


This is Day 3 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 HOPE.



The book of Joshua is known by most to be a book of war. Battle after battle is recorded, violence like thousands dying because the Lord’s blessing left His people, heads of kings getting cut off, walls crumbling, cities and people plundered…

So why has this book captivated my heart for so many years?

Because I want to view all things with a lens of redemption.

I really hope that doesn’t come across as holier than though, but my heart grows weary with all that is broken in the world. My heart is tired of always going to a dark place when there is light.
I learned earlier this year that I have a natural (psychological?) bent toward the negative. Left unchecked, I easily spiral into the worst possible side of any word spoken and any situation I’m placed in. This was a wake-up call for me, not because I didn’t realize it, but because I did. I just didn’t see the consequences for my soul.

I grew up with the belief that the Old Testament was full of a bunch of old and somewhat scary stories that weren’t relevant to us today. Plenty of them are scary, but they are certainly not irrelevant.

This gives me hope.

Just like I choose to find redemption in today’s pop culture, I also chose to focus on the powerful moments of hope the book of Joshua gives us today. Some of the redemption I see:

-God always keeps His promises
-God pursues His people into holiness
-God fights for us
-God is gracious and loving to those who don’t deserve it
-God demands things for our good, not His.

These truths give me hope, for they are about our God… who most certainly is a God of HOPE.

the book of joshua – create



This is Day 3 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 CREATE.


God created a future for them.

Israel was finally free from slavery and their time in the dessert wasn’t wondering because f God. It was because of them. God was calling them back to Him. After generations of worshiping the false gods of Babylon, new habits needed to be formed. New hearts created. A calling back to the holiness of YHWH.

I wonder what made God think they were ready to take on the Promised Land? I’d like to think it was something He saw in them – that their holiness was progressing. That those new habits were solidified. But we know from the rest of scripture that wasn’t the case.

But He pushed them onward anyway, and still after all His pursuing, with new rules and regulations given to them, Israel still tried to create their own future.

One of the first examples of this in the book of Joshua is in the story of Achan. He wanted the things set aside at God’s order for himself. He was hoping to create a new future for his family, one greater than everyone else’s.

This is no unique story, for we see over and over again people creating their own story.

Completely forgetting who their Creator was.

The nature of creating is that we have control. A potter moves their hands in certain places as the wheel spins to create the right shape. A painter controls their brushes strokes over the canvas to create what is in their minds. A writer types and types, deleting at will in order to communicate the desire message.

We all would rather have control that be spinning out of control. Not long ago, my entire felt like I was simply in the eye of the tornado, and while everything spun around me all I could do was react instead of act. These seasons of life are awful for us.

But they really don’t have to be.

Because God is the Creator of all things, and He is the one in control of all the spinning. I’d forgotten that as I continued to picture myself in the eye of the tornado, helpless and fearful. My desire was the create my own path and I failed to trust in the One who has a path laid out for me. Creating and trusting truly go hand in hand in the life of the believer, because creating within the will of God is best for us.

Our Creator is wise and powerful and merciful and just. Why wouldn’t we want to be under His will?

the book of joshua – tell






This is Day 2 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 TELL.



The story of Rahab is one of the most redemptive stories in scripture for me.

Remind me? Rehab was the prostitute who took care of the spies Joshua sent to check out the situation in Jericho. Why is she a big deal? Because she wasn’t one of God’s chosen people and she was ordered by the king of Jericho to bring the spies to him. (She ran an inn, so it was likely the spies, once the king caught wind of the plan, would come to stay with her.) she she ignored the King of Jericho and instead hid the spies and lied to him. Seriously. Good for her. That could not have been easy.

After hiding the spies, she tells them that she has heard the stories of their God, YHWH, and she asks that when them come to overtake Jericho they spare her and her family. Which they do, which is pretty important… because she became the mother of Boaz, who married Ruth from whose son, Obed, Jesse the father of David came, through whose line Jesus was born. 

Despite her saucy past, Rahab was used by God in one of the most powerful ways possible in Scripture. She had the courage to tell the King of Jericho a lie, and the courage to tell the spies that she knew of their God. Her story is echoed in many of the faithful people in scripture willing to risk their lives, willing to speak though oppressed, in order to help further the kingdom of God on earth.

We live in the tension of being already forgiven and not yet restored to the glory. Rehab stands as a perfect picture of this tension: an unlikely heroine whose place in Jewish history is unprecedented. And she wasn’t even Jewish herself.

What a story to tell.

the book of Joshua – worship




This is Day 1 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 WORSHIP.


The book of Joshua has a lot of powerful themes, and one of them for me is centered around what worship means to God himself. But before we get there, let’s take a look at what God commands of his people when conquering the cities.

“But you, keep yourselves from the things devoted to destruction, lest when you have devoted them you take any of the devoted things and make the camp of Israel a thing for destruction and bring trouble upon it. But all silver and gold, and every vessel of bronze and iron, are holy to the LORD; they shall go into the treasury of the LORD.” (Joshua 6:18-19)

“Devoted things” occurs several times in scripture, referring either something to be totally destroyed, or something for sacred use. In this case, the devoted things were to be set aside to be used in the temple God would have his people build once they conquered all of the Promised Land.

I realized over and over again while studying this book that I have no clue what God’s holiness really means. This temple he would eventually have them build would be a permanent fixture for them after years of a mobile temple that was set up over and over again each time the people moved through the desert. The importance of this being a place of worship is significant enough, but think of the power of God’s people finally having a permanent place! Worship looked different back then, as there were many ceremonial steps to take before even entered the first part of the temple. Again, because of God’s holiness.

We don’t have those hoops to jump through in our worship. Today I just woke up, got ready and walked into church It was my week to lead worship, so I had my guitar and some extra stuff… but it wasn’t quite the ceremony it used to be.

I am thankful that veil has been torn. That Jesus ripped it open to we can finally have access to God. But may I also learn the significance of preparing my heart for such holiness. This temple God was asking his people to prepare for cannot be understated. This was access he gave his people. To him.

The “devoted things” God told his people to set aside was about preparing a place of worship. A holy place. This is just one layer in the complicated nature of God’s holiness, one I cannot begin to understand, which seems especially hard for me to grasp because the veil has been torn.

Yet his holiness remains.

May this be the subject of my worship.



depend

I am linking up for Five Minute Friday a five minute free write with a word prompt each week. Today’s prompt is “Depend.” http://fiveminutefriday.com

Being single stinks.

I know some people who think we have it so easy without a husband, “you must have so much time”. Without kids, “that’s why you still look so young for your age” people say.

They are just pushing the knife deeper in to my wound.

While those things hurt, I think the hardest one for me is having no one else I can depend on. I learned a long time ago that I had no choice but to depend on myself. So I change my own tires, I hang my own pictures, I put together my own furniture, I pug in my own heavy packages, I take out my own trash. I have to do it all by myself.

I don’t consider myself a particularly lonely person. I’m introverted, so I don’t need people around all that much. Every once and a while, though, I come home after a rough day and really wish I had someone to be with. Someone who would try to fix my problems. Someone to complain to. Someone who would fail to see my expectations, some who would hurt me, someone to be a witness for my life. Someone to depend on.

But I don’t. I depend on myself to get things done. To pay the bills. To do the hard stuff.

I just don’t buy the stuff that’s too heavy to lift.