There is nothing like the relief of completing a task, being able to check another thing off of that to-do list. God had promised Joshua, “You will distribute the land I swore to their fathers to give them as an inheritance” (Joshua 1:6). And after years of battle and combat, Joshua was finally able to obtain the promise from his initial call that their conquest will yield them a land of rest and serenity.
The process of getting to this promised destination was not without losses and calamity, but God promised that this day would come. Like many of us, Joshua has had to explore unknown terrain with simply a directive from God, whose promises may seem prolonged or even unobtainable from time to time. Yet, He remains trustworthy and unchanging in His faithfulness. Joshua experienced doubt and delay but neither of these things hindered God’s plan; He orchestrated all of the details and took into consideration every aspect of life for the children of Israel. And after everything they had experienced with Him, “The LORD gave them rest” (Joshua 21:44).
From our limited perspective, we will never truly know the full revelation of God’s character. You and I must become aware, even in our own personal life, that the God who directs and instructs, whether through His Word or by His Spirit, is also the God who delivers on His promises. It is worth examining our own, personal experiences with God and asking this question: Has God changed in the midst of changing circumstances? Believers must be willing to rest and trust in the character of God, the one who invited us along this faith journey into our own hearts and into the world around us. So, has God’s character changed since these events took place in Scripture, when God brought His people to the promised land? Not at all.
The memories of military battles and trials propel God’s people to a moment of rest. Rest provides an opportunity for reflection, the chance to remember God’s goodness and presence in the past, which can reframe our perspective on the journey before us. Whatever trials have led to this moment in our lives, be they numerous and diverse, God has brought us through them. Sickness, betrayal, and defeat may have led to this place, but they do not dim or extinguish God’s character. No matter what our own stories may tell, God always brings us to a place of rest, which we can only truly experience in His presence.
Good deeds or merit do not grant us exemption from pain, but the Master’s promise holds us together when we feel like we’re falling apart. The promises of God usher us through the darkness and anchor us in times of turbulence. We cannot tell the story of Joshua and the conquest of Canaan without also telling of God’s faithfulness. May it be said of our own lives that our story is permeated and directed by the faithful hand of God, the One who keeps His promises.