“So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD had spoken to Moses. And Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal allotments. And the land had rest from war.” Joshua 11:23
The taking of the promised land by Joshua and the nation of Israel was a restless and painful process. Joshua acted quickly and pushed the nation constantly to drive out and wipe out the inhabitants of the land, as God had commanded him. There was a lot of killing and death, a lot of moving, striking tents and laying them down again, and the nation was tired. Even further, this is after the nation had wandered through the wilderness for forty years after being slaves in Egypt for 400 years. Rest was not something Israel had experienced once in their memorable past. Finally, in Joshua 11:23, one of the most significant statements in all of Israel’s history is recorded. After all the wanderings, starting with Abraham, the slavery in Egypt, the wilderness wanderings, and the war in taking the land, Israel finally had rest. Everything they had longed for, spent years picturing, dreamed of at night, prophesied about, and worked for was finally there. The promise of land given in the Abrahamic Covenant in Genesis 12 was finally theirs. They had land and they had rest. Right now, we believers are still waiting for that same rest. Some of us are still in the slavery of sin, some are wandering through the wilderness of religion, some are even on the soil of the promised land fighting and slaying the evil giants and inhabitants who have corrupted our very souls. But as long as we are alive on this earth, none of us have fully entered God’s rest. We have the promise, we have the presence of God’s Spirit in our midst, we have the eternal sacrifice of the Son, we have the guiding of the Father, but we are not home yet. Brothers and sisters, rest is coming! We may feel weary from the journey, discouraged by the time, disheartened by the foes, and beaten by giants, but let us be strong and courageous, for God is with us and he will bring us into his rest in heaven!
Lord Jesus, return soon and bring all the nations who are blessed through Israel into the blessing of the promise made to Abraham. Give us your rest!