Bible Time Period: Conquest and Judges
You led Israel triumphantly into the Promised Land. They failed to teach their children, and instead did what was right in their own eyes: Help me to keep my eyes on you and teach others what is truly right.
During the period of Desert Wanderings, which you have just finished reading about, Israel spent 40 years wandering in the desert after they failed to trust God to take them victoriously into the Promised Land. Before moving on, it is worthwhile to note these words of Moses as he renewed God’s covenant with the people shortly before his death:
“Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is on Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children. … Take heed lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall not go after other gods, or the gods of the peoples who are round about you. … And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord, that it may go well with you, and that you may go in and take possession of the good land which the Lord swore to give to your fathers” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7, 12, 14, 18).
Will they remember? Will they go after other gods? And will they teach their children? You will find out as you read the books of Joshua and Judges.
First, Joshua: Over the next few days, you will read how Moses’ successor, Joshua, leads Israel in the conquest of the Promised Land. This first set of readings tells how they crossed the Jordan River. While this river can be as narrow as 10-20 feet wide, it can swell to a mile wide during the spring flood stage – which it was at the time of their crossing (3:15). As you read, consider how the “spy mission” described at the start differs from the one in Numbers 13.
God gives Israel a dramatic sign in chapter 3 that brings to mind their rescue from Egypt. How would that sign reassure Israel – and what might it say to the people of Canaan?
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