Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Israel's Foolish Leader

If a leader today was to try and pull a stunt like Joshua did in the Bible, the world would surely condemn him as very arrogant and foolish! I mean how can you divide up nations you haven’t even conquered yet? But that is exactly what Joshua did.

Joshua’s actions, as recorded in the Bible, would have earned him the title “arrogant fool” if he was a leader in today’s world. In the middle of the book of Joshua, he describes the dividing up of the land of Canaan that will become the country of Israel. Why would this make him a fool you say? Often conquering people will reorganize the boundaries of a land; change the names of cities and so forth. But you need to understand is that in this point in time most of the land being divvied up had not even been conquered yet! (Joshua 13:1-6a) If a leader was to try and pull a stunt like that today, he would be looked down on as very arrogant and foolish. The world would have condemned it as an absurd move by Joshua. How could you divvy up property you don’t even own yet? It makes no sense!
However, it was really a very smart move on Joshua’s part, because Joshua believed and trusted God to do what He had promised. In his entire life, he had already seen a myriad of miracles, and what the power of God could accomplish, many of them in just that past few months time (ex. Joshua 10: 12-13). Now, in Joshua 13:1, 6b, 7 (KJV) we see these words: “Now Joshua was old, advanced in years. And the LORD said to him: “You are old, advanced in years, and there remains very much land yet to be possessed… them I will drive out from before the children of Israel; only, divide it by lot to Israel as an inheritance, as I have commanded you. Now therefore, divide this land as an inheritance to the nine tribes and the half tribe of Manasseh.” Now Joshua’s action before the land was conquered makes more sense. He was obeying God (see Joshua chapters 14-21).
Joshua’s faith was not in the strength of the people of Israel, but in the strength of the LORD, God of Israel. Joshua believed what God promised He would accomplish. And, if you read further in the books of the Old Testament, you find, that God did keep His promise, the land was conquered in proportion to the obedience of the people of Israel (Joshua 21:43-45). In accordance to God’s promise He gave the complete land of Canaan to the Israelites. To the world today, Joshua’s actions may seem cocky, but in reality it was his well positioned faith in the LORD, God of Israel, and his obedience to God that made this bold move possible. The LORD, God of Israel is in control!