Observation: The writer lists all of the kings and the land that the Israelites defeated while on their conquest of the Jordan River and then describes how the conquered land should be divided among the tribes of Israel.
Application: Have you ever thought something was a “sure thing” only to find out that there’s no such thing as a sure thing?
Case in point: In seventh grade, my best friend Kelsey had grown out of a pair of red pleather (yes, I said pleather) pants, and she graciously passed them on to me. Not long after being gifted with these stylish pleather pants, it was time for our 7th grade Catholic school dance. If you’ve never experienced a Catholic school dance, please let me paint you a picture: there are basically 100 7th and 8th graders crammed into a nasty old gym-a-teria-orium (you know, a gym/cafeteria/auditorium). They are downright giddy at the idea of wearing something other than plaid kilts and navy uniform pants. They cannot wait to “dance” (aka flail their bodies around while not actually touching anyone of the opposite sex unless, of course, they want an awkward interaction with a chaperone who attempts to step in) to the latest tunes. (All edited, of course. Mother Mary, pray for us.)
Anyways, I decided to wear my red pleather pants with this very classy white lacy top and approximately 27 butterfly clips in my hair. I just knew I would be the best looking girl at the dance and that my 8th grade crush would fall in love with me. It was a sure thing.
I learned the hard way there’s no such thing as a sure thing. (Except for this one “sure thing” – I have completely destroyed all evidence of my red pleather pants ensemble, never to be brought up for blackmail purposes ever again.)
So often, we think we can count on a “sure thing” – from sports teams to promises that people make to us. However, we inevitably learn that there’s no such thing as a sure thing; we can never truly guarantee victory or success or fulfillment in this crazy, confusing world.
Except when God is involved.
As Joshua is dividing up the land among the Israelites, God says this:
“I myself will drive these people out of the land ahead of the Israelites. So be sure to give the land to Israel as a special possession, just as I have commanded.” (13:6)
It shouldn’t have been a “sure thing” that these tribes would inherit these specific plots of land. Their enemies still lived there! The Israelites hadn’t defeated them yet! But God – the One who spoke the world into existence – spoke their victory into existence too.
And it was a sure thing.
What has God already spoken into existence in your life that truly is a sure thing? What victory have you been given? What are you worrying about that’s already been decided? What are wondering about, fearing, or overwhelmed by that is actually a sure thing?
The God who drove the enemies out of the Promised Land can drive out the enemies in our lives, too. When all else fails, He is our sure thing.
Prayer: God, thank you for being my sure thing – a safe haven, someone I can always come back to and trust in. I pray I’ll believe your promises – and claim them as “sure things” in my own life today. Amen.