Today’s One Year Bible reading in Joshua 11 finds Joshua and the army of Israel engaged in a campaign of battles to capture the Promised Land, which God was giving them. After a series of victories (recorded in the previous chapter) several kings had now combined their armies to fight against Israel. Verse 4 records that “Their combined armies formed a vast horde … [that] covered the landscape like the sand on the seashore.”

This was the largest army Joshua and the Israelites had faced. Doubtless it was an intimidating sight! But God encouraged Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them. By this time tomorrow I will hand all of them over to Israel as dead men.”

When God first raised up Joshua as the leader of Israel, He told him repeatedly, “Be strong and courageous.” That same charge was repeated throughout the campaign leading up to the events in today’s passage. And throughout the campaign, God had repeatedly given Israel the victory over their enemies.

Israel’s victories had depended on their obedience to God. Now Joshua faced a huge army. But he had seen God make Israel victorious over other large combined armies. He could do it again if Joshua and his army would obey His commands.

Joshua had no control over the size or strength of the enemy he faced. What he did have control over was his choice: whether or not he would obey God. He chose to do so, and God gave Israel the victory. Repeatedly throughout chapter 11 the Scripture records that Joshua carefully carried out God’s commands.

It’s clear that throughout the campaign to conquer the Promised Land, it was God who gave the victories. This same truth was recorded much later in Zechariah 2:4: “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.”

That’s still true today. When we’re faced with an intimidating challenge, we have the same choice Joshua had: Will I trust God or not? Will I obey Him? Rather than trusting our might or power, let’s choose to trust God!

by Darrel Eppler, Elder

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