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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Knowing God~I Know His Name

We're getting into the Psalms now, my favourite book in the Bible, and the verse I'm looking at today is found in Psalms 9:10. "And those who know Your name put their trust in You, for You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You."

The Psalms are a lot easier to read than some books, so the verses would seem rather straightforward. I'm curious, though, to see the context around the verse. Once I spent some time reading Job and Psalms and found a lot of Passion (crucifixion, resurrection) language in both of those books. Job has some very specific verses that point directly to Jesus' death, and it's interesting because Job is said to be the first book written in the Bible.

We know the Psalms are songs, the majority of which were written by David, and I wonder if this song was written after he had killed Goliath, and had victory in a few more wars, and perhaps was on the run already from King Saul. Psalm 9 starts out with David thanking God for all the things He has done for him, and then spends most of the time talking about David's enemies and how God has defeated them.

Here is just a brief list of how David describes God.

  • He does wonderful deeds
  • He maintains my just cause
  • He gives righteous judgment
  • He rebukes the nations & destroys the wicked
  • He blots out the name of the wicked forever
  • He roots out the cities of the wicked
  • He establishes His throne in judgment
  • He judges the world with righteousness
  • He judges the people with equity
  • He is a stronghold for the oppressed
  • He is a stronghold in times of trouble
  • He never forsakes those who seek Him
  • He avenges blood
  • He does not forget the cry of the afflicted
  • He lifts me up from the gates of death

What does it mean to know God's name? If I know someone's name, it means that I know at least who they are, I recognize them, and I attach significance to that name because it belongs to this person. To call someone by their name humanizes them. We don't call people, "It" or "Thing" because that would make it seem that they are an object instead of a person. When we are first introduced to someone, the very first thing we learn (usually!) is their name. Then we use that name when we are speaking to them or about them to other people.

Have you noticed that when two people are in love, they can't stop talking about the other person? Usually you can tell if a girl is interested in a guy, in that stage before they actually get together, if she won't stop talking about him. She will seemingly casually drop his name into conversation at every single opportune moment, and even though she won't come right out and say she likes him, you can tell by how many times she will say his name.

To know God's name must mean to know Him. And those who know His name trust Him. Is it because they know Him that they trust Him, or is it because they have already trusted Him in the past that they continue to trust Him? I am a very trusting person so, when I first meet someone, if I feel comfortable around them then I tend to trust them until they prove me wrong. Perhaps David is saying, if you know Who God is, you will trust Him because of His character.

But then here's the real reason why we trust Him. "You have not forsaken those who seek You." If I search for God, and get to know Who He is, I will learn to trust Him because He is there. He won't desert me if I am looking for Him.

There are many of us who are looking for someone in our lives. Perhaps we lost a parent to death or divorce, and we're still looking for that father or mother figure to fill that very important role in our lives. Even as adult children we can still look for that. Perhaps we didn't lose a parent, but perhaps they were not able to parent us because they chose to abuse us instead. Perhaps something happened to us when we were children and we were not able to grow and develop into healthy adults, and so we are looking for someone to help us move beyond our child-selves and become our adult-selves. Perhaps we are looking for a spouse, or a healed relationship with our child, or a friend to support us. Whatever situation we find ourselves in, I would venture to say 99% of us are looking for someone to fill a place in our lives that is empty.

When we go searching for those people, sometimes we luck out and we receive what we need. Oftentimes, however, we find ourselves still empty emotionally, still searching. Our vulnerable trust is shattered by the lack of other humans' ability to meet the needs we have. The relationships we are looking for never become a complete reality. We may know people, and trust people, and then they turn around and desert us. We're left sitting on the front steps waiting, looking out the living room window waiting, staying up late waiting, and they never come back.

The Bible is true. This is one thing that I know, even when I'm not sure about so many other things in life. The Bible is true and it cannot lie. This means that God will never leave me. When I look for Him, He will always be there. And finding Him there, time and time again, I will begin to understand that single aspect of His character, His name, that He is faithful. And then I will know that I can trust Him. Because God says, "I am here."

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Too Wonderful

Knowing God~His Purpose Prevails

"Then Job answered the LORD: 'I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. . .Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. "Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you declare to me." I had heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes." Job 42:1-6, ESV

We have come to the end of the book of Job, the final three chapters have focused on God's exchange with Job, as He questions & challenges Job. Job humbly steps back and affirms God's sovereignty. God then blesses him twice as much as before with possessions, 10 more children are born, and he lives another 140 years to enjoy all the blessings he has received.

If only real life were like that. I guess it is, I mean, we go through difficult times in this life and if we are faithful to believe and trust in God, then we have the hope of eternal life. I guess I'm just a little wistful for the blessings and ease of life to come on this earth too. After all, one can endure anything for a while if they know there is a reward waiting afterwards. That is one of the reasons why I have set about to do this particular word study on the word "Know." I want to understand Who God is and the mystery of why He stands silent in the shadows at times that seem crucial for His presence to be seen. Job needed God, and yet God seemed to have turned His head away. Then when Job's friends questioned God's reasons for seemingly punishing Job, and when Job proclaimed his innocence and faithfulness even while admitting he was discouraged, God shut down everyone's words and restated His position as Lord of the Universe.

Job says two things that resonate with me. He knew that anything God decided to do would happen. Then when he said, I heard about You but now I see You, it is almost as if he was saying, I believed that You existed because other people told me about You, but now I get it. Now I actually see You, perhaps not in reality because no one could see God and live, but now I see all the things that You do, and understand how they point to You. I see the earth, the sea, the clouds, the dawn, snow, hail, wind, rain, thunderbolts, ice, the stars, lightning, lions hunting, goats & deer giving birth, wild oxen, horses in battle, hawks & eagles soaring, Behemoth and Leviathan. I recognize the strength and the power in all these created things and I see how they point to their Creator.

Job humbled himself after seeing the magnificent display of God's power. He understood that it was not a matter of God being unable to put things right, but that it was something far too mysterious for him. His eyes were opened to see not just God's capacity, but God's all-knowing, and he recognized that he knew nothing. Perhaps that is one of the ways I can reconcile my question of Why doesn't God intervene? Perhaps it is something "too wonderful for me" to understand, though "wonderful" is not the word I'm looking for, because sometimes the things are too ugly and horrible.

I think what Job meant was that it was something far bigger than he could comprehend, sort of like an ant wandering along, picking up its piece of bread, and a compassionate human comes along (not me!) and moves the crumbs to the side of the room so the ant won't get squashed when it comes back for its next morsel. The ant doesn't understand why the bread has moved and why it now has to travel all around the perimeter of the room to get to its food, rather than saunter to the middle of the room. But the human knows that there's a couple of eager baby hands of a just-walking toddler, and those hands are busily scouring the middle of the room for interesting things to put into the mouth. 

Psalm 131 says, "I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore." NIV

Monday, November 12, 2012


Knowing God~He is my Vindicator

When I read a verse about knowing God, I like to take the time to read the chapter around that verse and get an idea of the context. Today I'm looking at Job 19: 25, a very familiar verse, where Job is affirming God's role as redeemer. Interestingly enough, however, is the context and also the definition of the word redeemer.

"For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last He will stand upon the earth, and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not another." Job 19: 25-27, ESV

My Bible has a lot of little references at the bottom of the page that gives alternate translations for words, changing the verses to this:

"For I know that my Vindicator lives, and that He the Last shall stand upon the dust, and after my skin has thus been destroyed, then without my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!" has a new marvelous feature where you can compare parallel passages of the Bible side by side. The NIV and the NASB both footnote Redeemer to mean Vindicator, but the NKJV, Darby, and Young's simply use Redeemer. The NASB says, "literally, kinsman". But wait a minute. None of this is making any sense if you don't read the context of the chapter!

A brief background of the book. Job is a good man, he loves God, and he has ten children and a lot of possessions. Satan comes to test his faith and belief in God, and he loses his children, his possessions, and his health. The rest of the book presents Job's three friends, who come daily to test his patience by accusing him of deserving these horrible things that have happened to him, leaving him destitute and sitting in a pile of ashes with a piece of clay pot to scrape his boils with.

I absolutely love the language of verse 1, where Job says to his friends, "How long will you break me in pieces with words?" He then goes on to talk about how God has seemingly made his life as miserable and difficult as possible. Job feels broken down, estranged from his family, forgotten by his guests, repulsive to his wife, loathsome, depised, abhorred, unheard, in darkness, stripped of glory, walled in, uprooted, and considered a stranger and an alien. All the words that could possibly describe the depth of abjectness, Job knows them because he is living them. You could theoretically say he was depressed. I mean, who wouldn't be if they were living in similar circumstances?

Yet in the midst of the depression, which he places the blame squarely on God's shoulders, comes a strange verse. I know that my Vindicator is alive. I know that in the end, He will declare victory. I know that after this disgusting boil-filled body is destroyed by decay, I will see my Vindicator. And I know that I will see Him with my own eyes. How I long for that day!

How can Job switch from clear blame to definite vindication? Why does he list all the ways that God has made his life so horrible, and then turn around and say that he knows that his redeemer lives? Perhaps because, even though he was human and discouraged, Job knew God. We read in the very beginning of the book that he would offer sacrifices for his children every time they would have a party, just in case they sinned against God. Job was characterized as a man who was blameless, upright, a man who turned away from evil and feared God (honored God). Job had spent his lifetime getting to know God, and now, when things had swung drastically from good to bad, he stayed grounded in what he knew.

Job knew that his Vindicator was alive.

Like Job, we all go through tough times when the only person we know to blame is God. Somehow we fail to recognize that God is only good and that Satan justly deserves the blame instead. I know I tend to forget that life is more than just this day, this week, or even this year, but that it all points forward to a day when our tired bodies will be destroyed by decay, and we will be raised with brand new bodies to see our Vindicator proclaiming the final victory over the ugliness of sin. And He has promised that we will see it with our very own eyes.

I know my Redeemer is alive.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Not Such a Good Sport

I stepped into Sports Chalet the other night to see if they had any good deals on hiking shoes. My mom, friend and I go walking every morning for about an hour, and we try to hike the trails if it's good weather, so I've been looking for some sturdy shoes to keep my feet as happy as my heart and circulation system is! Being the gullible person that I am, when a mere acquaintance told me rather excitedly that I should go to a particular shoe store and get fitted for special shoes because my right foot appeared to roll pretty badly when I walked, I decided I had better do so.

Now I know I walk on the inside of my shoes; every pair of shoes I've ever had is worn down on the inside more than the outside, which probably also explains why I have a hard time balancing on pointy thin heels! But somehow it had never bothered me before, after all, I grew up in Africa where you wear flip flops all day long and maybe people walk with rolled feet but nobody makes a big deal about it there! So here I was, suddenly worried that some strange malady would attack me if I didn't address the problem right away (thought I'm not exactly sure what!) and I betook myself off to that store as soon as I had a couple of hours to spare.

I walked in the front door and a guy appeared from behind the fleece jackets and asked if I needed any help. He looked like he was about 15, but he was wearing a logo t-shirt, so I figured he must be an employee and could help me pick out the shoes that were going to save me from a fate worse than death. (still figuring out what it is!) I told him someone had referred me, he had me walk up and down a small mat so he could observe my deadly rolling foot, agreed that I had a slight roll, and then disappeared into the back to bring me some shoes to try on. I looked idly about, then realized the wall was covered with various shades and sizes of shoes, so I wandered over to look at a few. The prices made me gulp. $100 appeared to be the low end, though they didn't seem to go higher than $120. I sat back down and prayed he would bring out the cheaper shoes.

I tried on the first pair and it fit quite nicely. He explained that it wasn't corrective surgery or anything, the shoe would merely provide the support so my foot wouldn't roll as much, sort like holding a newborn's head for support I guess?, and so I stood up to take a stroll. I walked back and forth on that little mat, which I later realized was rather clever of the store to have there, as the mat was probably more comfortable to walk on than my carpet at home. With weary feet comfortably ensconced in snug shoes, strolling up and down on the plush mat, I decided I had found the shoes. I tried on three other pairs just be sure, but none fit quite as right. (Okay, okay, I'll admit it, the first ones were the cutest!) I smiled confidently at the guy and said, "I'll take these, please."

He seemed a little startled, I wasn't sure if it was because I'd made my decision so quickly or because the shoes were so expensive and people don't often buy shoes in that particular store, but nonetheless, we headed to the checkout counter. I handed over my card and headed home, $117 lighter but happy that I had found "my shoes." I got in the car and thought, "What in the world have I done? I've just spent more than a hundred dollars on a pair of shoes!"

After thinking a little more about shoes over the next few weeks, and realizing that I fall all too easily for sales pitches, whether needed or not, I decided to take a look at shoes in other stores. And I realized that I could buy shoes that gave me just as much support but were $50 cheaper! Now I was disgruntled, partially because I felt like I hadn't received the whole truth, and partially because I had allowed myself to be fooled into parting with my money so easily. Two months later, the shoes still brand new and sitting in their box, I was headed back to the store. This time I prayed there would be different people working, people who didn't recognize me and wonder why I waited till the last minute to return a pair of perfectly good shoes. Thankfully a complete stranger looked up at me and smiled as I walked in, and very graciously assisted me with my return.

I think I've learned a well-deserved lesson here; one which I'm grateful to have learned in a situation where I could get my money back and not have to put it on my tab marked "Experience." Oh, and I never did tell you about my experience in Sports Chalet. I guess I'll have to save that for another blog. :-)

Wheels in Motion

So as I was saying, I popped in to Sports Chalet the other night to see if they had any good hiking shoes on sale. I had just returned a pair at another sporting goods shop, picked up another pair at a third sporting goods shop, and was now browsing to see whether their 25-50% off sale had anything good. The slightly bored salesguy wandered over to where I was looking at prices on the bottom of the hiking shoes, and brought me my size almost instantly. I tried the shoes on, walked around a bit, and decided they weren't what I was looking for. The cool thing about Sports Chalet is that they have a floor that simulates regular hiking terrain. It's kind of pocked and bumpy, which is perfect to test out new shoes on, rather than the soft mat I sunk into at the other store (see previous post). I bounced up and down on my toes, then sat down and took the shoes off, handing them back to the guy who now had another customer to busy himself taking care of.

I had some time left, so I browsed the discounted shoes stacked haphazardly on a couple of metal shelves in the back of the building. As I pushed and pulled boxes to get a better look, my fingers brushed against a larger than usual cardboard box. I casually glanced at it, then took a second longer look. Could it be? Did I dare?

Seconds later I was sitting on a bench, pulling my thick crew socks out of my purse and pushing them on my feet as quickly as I could with trembling fingers. Almost reverently, I took the boot out of the large box, carefully slid my left foot inside, laced up the thick laces, and then clicked the safety clip shut. I stood up, but soon realized I had to put the right one on too, otherwise it wouldn't work. I sat down and treated my right foot to the same deferential treatment. Then I stood up, oh so carefully.

And I rolled.

The bumpy all-terrain surface wasn't as easy to maneuver on, so I slid a few inches to the left, gingerly holding on to a sock display for support, and found myself on a firm carpet. I pushed out with my left foot, then with my right, carefully, slowly, like a baby just learning to walk. As I did so, the muscles in my legs remembered, my body leaned slightly forward, and I found myself settling into the rhythm as naturally as breathing.

I was rollerblading.

For those of you who knew me before I hit the turbulent adult-teen years, I was an avid rollerblader in the day. I wasn't anything fancy, I didn't skate in a park (I'm not even sure they had parks in Egypt or Lebanon), I wasn't able to jump steps two at a time like my boyfriend could, I couldn't make sharp turns like my sister did, and I was just learning to blade backwards before we left. But I could rollerblade and I did. I would turn on my dance radio station, lace up my eggplant purple & fuschia pink boots as tight as I could, click the safety clip shut, and then dig into the cement on my way to the top of a small incline at the entrance of the parking lot. Turning around, I would wait for a particularly fast beat, push off with one foot, get a good rush of speed, and then glide the rest of the way. I skated round and round that parking lot till the sun went down and the street lights didn't give enough light to see the tiny pebbles that would catch in my wheels and send me stumbling.

I remember buying those rollerblades. We were in our favourite children's toystore, perhaps Intertoys, and Rachel and I spotted the bright purple and pink rollerblades. We knew immediately that those were what we wanted. In Africa we wore metal wheels attached with a couple of bright red straps that laced over our tennis shoes and were called rollerskates. We finally graduated to shoe rollerskates, in a bold print that prominently featured fluorescent lime as its primary color. I remember being envious of my best friend's white boot skates with laces all up the front that looked just like the kind that iceskaters would wear on TV. Sometimes she let us take turns wearing them.

But now rollerblades were all the rage and I was determined to fit in with the in crowd. We begged my mom for the blades. I could see her standing there, calculating in her head the baggage allowance and mentally packing our 10 suitcases with two years' worth of shoes, Christmas presents, special treats, last minute gifts from our generous relatives, and the clothes we had brought with us. She knew there was no room to add another 20 pounds of bulky unnecessary items, but she could see how very badly we wanted them. "Okay," she said, "you can get them. On one condition. You have to carry them back home."

I still remember that long trek back from Europe to the Middle East, time changes and planes later, safely home, much wearied from hauling two very heavy rollerblades in a sturdy backpack that also housed my jacket, food, and extra things that wouldn't fit into the suitcase. I was happy to be home, but I was happier still to zip open my pack and see those shiny new blades ready to slip onto my eager feet.

As I gingerly rolled back to the bench, continents and lifetimes later, a huge smile crept across my face. I might have left those rollerblades behind years ago, but I had not forgotten how to dance on wheels. And somehow I knew that one day, I would be dancing once again. . .

Monday, November 5, 2012

Not. . .by Sword or Spear

Knowing God~God fights my battles

"You come to me with sword and spear and javelin; but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This very day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down. . .so that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the LORD does not save by sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD's and He will give you into our hand." ~I Samuel 17: 45-47

1 Samuel 17 is a really neat chapter. Actually, anything I read in my little NRSV is fun to read because somehow I really click with the language, and it reads more like a story than old English that is hard to understand, even though the NRSV (New Revised Standard Version) is a literal translation. It's the well-known story of David and Goliath, which I've heard a million times since I was knee-high in Sabbath School singing "Only a boy named David" but the fun little details help me to picture what it must actually have been like. 

So the Israelites and the Philistines were busy fighting each other, and they drew up camp across from each other on a mountain, one on either side of the mountain, with a valley between them. Goliath, the champion and super tall big guy, came out and challenged the Israelites to send someone to fight him. He defied the Israelite army and they were pretty scared.

David was out and about one day, taking some bread to his three oldest brothers and some cheese to their captain, when he heard the challenge from Goliath. I wonder if David wanted to fight as well, but couldn't because he was too young. Goliath had been taunting the Israelite army for over a month now, and nobody dared do anything about it. David stood there, curious about what was going on, and asked someone who was standing nearby, "Who is this man? Why is he defying God's army? What kind of reward is there for the person who kills him and restores the glory to Israel?"

While he was talking, his oldest brother heard him and got really angry. I'm guessing David was seen as a little pest to the older brothers, or perhaps Eliab was upset because he didn't have enough courage himself to go out and fight Goliath. Eliab glared at David and said, "Why are you here? What about your responsibilities at home? Who did you leave your few sheep with, to take care of them in the wilderness? I know the real reason why you're here, you just want to see the battle." David said, and this I don't have to paraphrase because it's said so perfectly I can see his face, "What have I done now? It was only a question." 

Fast forward, past David accepting the challenge, Saul outfitting him with his own armour but David refusing to use it because it was too awkward, and David picking up 5 smooth stones from the wadi and approaching Goliath. Goliath mocks him, this young man, but David confidently replies. "You fight with a sword and spear and javelin, but I fight in God's name, whom you have defied by defying the army of Israel. God will deliver you into my hand today, I will kill you and cut off your head and the wild animals and birds will eat the dead bodies of the Philistine army today, to show the whole earth that there is a God in Israel. This will show that God doesn't save with a sword and a spear; this is God's battle and He will deliver you into our hand."

Moments later, Goliath is dead, stuck by a stone in his forehead. David then runs over and uses Goliath's own sword to cut off his head, not to kill him, as the giant is already dead from the mortal blow of that smooth stone, but to prove to the Philistine army that their champion is dead, the victory belongs to the Israelite army, and to bring the head to Saul and then to Jerusalem.

It's kind of a gory story when you think about it, but that isn't the cool part of the story. I think it's pretty amazing that David has such fearlessness in confronting a challenge that scares the entire Israelites army. He has a boldness that isn't seen in anyone else, but he also has a very good reason for his boldness: he is defending God's honor. He has great confidence in approaching the giant with 5 stones, not any kind of equal match whatsoever (spear, sword & javelin vs. stones; helmet, coat of armour, leg coverings vs. a shepherd's bag and a simple robe?). If you're wondering where this confidence and fearlessness comes from, look back a few verses to see David explaining to Saul his qualifications to fight this giant. David said whenever a lion or a bear came and took a lamb, he would go after that animal, hit it to rescue the lamb, and if the animal turned to fight him, he would catch it by the jaw, hit it and kill it. He recognized that God was the one who rescued him from the lion and bear, and believed that God would also save him from Goliath.

Each of us have our own lions and bears to content with in life. We're out there, doing our job, taking care of what has been entrusted to us, whether it be our children, our ministry, our spouse, or any of the other responsibilities in life. There are far too many times that those lions and bears come sneaking up, trying to destroy those things that are precious to us, and we have to fight to get them back. But every now and then, we see the giant of all giants standing in front of us. Lions and bears are scary, yes, but after fighting them for a while we're more confident that God is in control of our lives and our circumstances and we've grown accustomed to the kinds of challenges thrown our way. We've developed strategies to meet those challenges and have a pretty mean arm now.

Then we turn a corner and there's our Goliath. This one seems about impossible to handle, after all, everyone else is turning and running the opposite direction. I don't know what your giant is, perhaps it's cancer, job loss, death, a broken relationship, but whatever it is, no one around you has the slightest bit of confidence that this giant can be slain. It stands there, tall, strong, in an impenetrable fortress of armour, mocking you and mocking your God.

But there's one small place on that giant that is defenseless, one patch of skin that is vulnerable to attack, one place that if you hit it right, that giant will crumple faster than an autumn leaf turns to dust in your hand.

David ran quickly towards the battle line. As Goliath approached him, David did not run away from the giant, but towards him. He did what he had done a thousand times as a shepherd boy, he put his hand in his bag, took out a stone, slung his slingshot, and hit the Philistine right in the forehead.

Do I have that kind of fearlessness?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

All the Good Things

I found one of those little Bible verse card holders in the mailroom the other day and brought it home because it matched my room decor and had pretty scenery verse cards inside it. I put the holder on a dresser, but didn't bother to do much with it except to switch out a new card at random times when I walked past that particular dresser. Yesterday I idly changed cards and read the verse. This time as I read it, I realized that what I was reading made me smile because I believed it. I'm not sure if you're like me, but there are times when I read promises in my Bible or hear them at church or someone shares an encouraging verse with me and I think, "yeah, that's nice, but it's not true." Somehow I seem to think that while God will visit His vengeance upon me, even while I see His miracles happening in my life, I don't trust that His intent towards me is of good. So I was surprised to catch myself thinking, Yes, this is true and I can see it and I can trust that He will continue to fulfill this promise.

The verse comes from Psalm 103:5, and in the New Living Translation it says, "He fills my life with good things."

Today I'm looking at Joshua 23:14. A while back I was looking at Moses' farewell to the Israelites and now we have Joshua's final words before he "goes the way of all the earth" which I think is so poetic. Joshua is around 110, because that is how old he is when he dies, and the Israelites are now in the Promised land and God has given them peace from their enemies. The whole land has not been conquered yet, you can read more in Judges about how they failed to do so following God's guidance after Joshua had died, but for now they were content. In Joshua 13, God tells Joshua, "You are getting old and there is still a lot of land that needs to be possessed," and He lists all the regions remaining. Here is the neatest part: "I will myself drive them out from before the Israelites". God is saying, you're getting old, you're tired, it's time for you to have your final rest, but don't worry about the people you have been leading because I will take care of them. All you have to do is assign and divide the land among the tribes.

Returning to the chapter we're looking at, though, Joshua is now encouraging and exhorting the people in his farewell speech. He reminds them of how God has fought for them in driving out their enemies, and that God will continue to do so. He encourages them to keep the law and not to worship other gods, but to "hold fast to the LORD your God." He warns them that if they intermarry among  the ungodly nations that God will no longer protect them and that their enemies will be able to conquer them instead of the other way around. He speaks about God's justice, that if they disobey God's covenant and worship other gods, then He will destroy them. And he reminds them that God has kept all His good promises.

"you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one thing has failed of all the good things that the LORD your God promised concerning you; all have come to pass for you, not one of them has failed." Joshua 23:14

Knowing God~He keeps His promises of good things

How can I recognize God in my life and what does this verse tell me about God? He is faithful and trustworthy, when He makes a promise to do something good, He will keep that promise. It is true that He also keeps His promise to give us what we deserve if we choose to disobey Him, but that isn't the focus of this verse. Joshua is telling the people, "you know, you know not only in your heart but also in your soul, that every single promise God made has come true, every promise of good things happening to you and for you, and there is not one person here who can contest that." So when I see good things happening in my life, I can see that God is very present and active and is a part of my life even though I can't see Him in a physical form. And when I read a promise, that He will be with me and bless me and protect me, I can believe that promise because He keeps His promises.