This post is part of a devotional series based on our 2019 Bible Reading Calendar.
If we’re honest with ourselves, when we read through the Bible there are parts that cause our eyes to glaze and we wonder: What’s the point? Genealogies can do this. So can chapters like Joshua 13-21. In these chapters, we read verse after verse about how the Promised Land was divided up among different persons and tribes of Israel.
We know that all Scripture is “God-breathed and profitable” (2 Timothy 3:16), but we might question just how profitable.
So what do we do when we encounter passages and chapters that cause us to struggle?
We learn to see the beauty in the words.
To see the beauty in Joshua 13-21, we have to reach all the way back to Genesis 12. There, God took a man named Abram and made him a promise: I’m going to give you a numerous offspring, they are going to inherit a land, and through them you will be a blessing to the whole world.
Abraham’s offspring were the people of Israel, and despite the number of times that they disobeyed, failed, and grumbled throughout the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, God kept pressing forward with his promises. He chose Abraham (Abram), he loved Abraham, and he loved the offspring he promised to Abraham. He had made promises, and he would keep them.
As the Bible’s story unfolds, we find that those promises ultimately led to Jesus, the faithful, unfailing Son of Abraham who made it so that people from every tribe, tongue, and peoples could become children of Abraham through him–a new promise given to us.
Those chapters in Joshua remind us that God will be faithful to the promises he made us through Jesus, because he was faithful to the promises he made to Abraham in the past. The division of the land is a declaration that Abraham’s offspring inherited the very thing that God said they would. Though it took centuries after God first appeared to Abraham, God’s word proved true.
So, we can have confidence that God’s word to us will one day come true. Even if it’s years, decades, or centuries before we see the fruit. God has promised us salvation in Jesus. He has promised us resurrection after death, glorified bodies, and a share in the new creation. We experience part of those promises today. Some are still future.
But God is always faithful.