Thursday, October 21, 2010

a summary of victory

And these are the kings of the land whom Joshua and the people of Israel defeated on the west side of the Jordan...
Joshua 12:7a

This chapter is a summary of all the cities and kings that Israel defeated on both the east and west sides of the Jordan river. As such it represents a roll call of victory given to them by God. The conquest is not complete (there are still some cities remaining) but the territory conquered thus far does fit the boundaries of the Promise Land map that God had repeatedly revealed would be given over to Israel.

The power of every one of the cities was symbolized in the Canaanite kings. That is why the text lists the victories in the name of the defeated leader. This is a textual monument to victory given by God. It is a witness to the superiority of Israel's King, Yahweh, and His remarkable leadership in defeating these cities and obtaining the lands for His people.

A quick principle emerges from this chapter for me. It is the principle of review. It is good to have some way of regularly reviewing what God has done. In the case of Israel during the conquest, this list of kings became a way to regularly rattle off the extent of victory God had given the sons of daughters of nomadic former slaves. Just as Passover was a reminder of deliverance from Egyptian power, this list was a reminder of God's strength given to them to fight and claim what God had given. This summary and review is important. We must remember God's work for us because we tend to take credit for it ourselves! That is why the discipline of scriptural journaling is important for me. I am a proud man who wants to make my life my own achievement. But when I take the time to record what God has done and shown in me, I am giving the glory to God. And reviewing that regularly also keeps my proud spirit in check!

- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13

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