It was time. God had spoken and the hour had finally come when they would start walking into their inheritance. Yes, they would have to fight for it, but what should that matter if the Lord Himself was fighting for them? Victory was as certain as the rising and the setting of the sun each day, for, after all, it was the One who had set the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night, who had set the stars in their places and appointed times and seasons, it was this same God who had spoken to him and told him that he would lead these people to inherit the land. When god spoke, the world came into being; when God spoke the descendants of Abraham would inherit the land.
But tonight was a night for memories, for he knew that what he was about to do was part of a story that had started long before he was born and that would continue long after he was gone, which would include his children’s childrens’ children for untold generations. It had started when God had called out childless Father Abraham from the land of the pagans, called him out to be the father of a great nation (though his wife was barren) and to inherit a land which he had never seen. Eventually he had a child, Isaac, but the only portion of the land which he ever owned was the grave plot of his wife. Isaac, and, after him, his son Jacob, and then Jacob’s twelve sons had been sojourners in the land, until the famine had led to their relocation to Egypt, where Jacob’s son Joseph had been sent by God before them to prepare the way. And there the descendants of Abraham had flourished until Pharaoh grew so afraid of their numbers that he enslaved them, until the cries of their oppression went up to God, and in the fullness of time He sent them Moses, the Deliverer.
And this was where Joshua’s own story had begun. He had been one of that nation of liberated slaves who had followed Moses after the fatal night of the Passover, and experienced the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea, and stood at the foot of Sinai, where God called them to be a nation set apart, holy to Himself. He knew that God was the Almighty Redeemer of His people. So he had been thrilled when he was chosen as one of the twelve spies to go and find out about the land they had been promised.
That was when he discovered that most of his fellow spies (in fact all of them except faithful, courageous Caleb) still had the hearts of slaves. Their bodies may have been rescued from Egypt, but they still carried the oppressor’s yoke in their hearts, believing themselves helpless and refusing to take hold of the freedom God had given them. Where he and Caleb saw amazing richness, a land flowing with milk and honey, they saw only insurmountable difficulties. They were too afraid to take hold of the inheritance God was giving them.
And so the Lord waited forty years for a new generation to arise, a generation born in freedom and dependent on their God. These were the people Joshua was about to lead into the Promised Land, so that they might claim their inheritance at last.