Deu 31:7-8 Then Moses called for Joshua, and as all Israel watched he said to him, "Be strong and courageous! For you will lead these people into the land that the LORD swore to give their ancestors. You are the one who will deliver it to them as their inheritance. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD is the one who goes before you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor forsake you."
Deut 31:16-18 The LORD said to Moses, "You are about to die and join your ancestors. After you are gone, these people will begin worshiping foreign gods, the gods of the land where they are going. They will abandon me and break the covenant I have made with them. Then my anger will blaze forth against them. I will abandon them, hiding my face from them, and they will be destroyed. Terrible trouble will come down on them, so that they will say, `These disasters have come because God is no longer among us!' At that time I will hide my face from them on account of all the sins they have committed by worshiping other gods.
You are amazing, God.
You knew, as You sent Joshua to lead Your children into Canaan, that they would whore against You.
You had a choice.
You knew they would fall away in Canaan. You knew as each judge rose and passed in Israel, they would fall away all over again. You knew as You anointed the many kings, even the ones after Your own heart would lay a frail foundation. You knew Israel would end up on the high places and in the groves, worshipping anyone but You.
You had a choice.
You could choose whether to lead them into Canaan or not. You could chose to wash your hands of them all. You could chose to leave them an alimony gift, and walk away. You'd have spared Yourself centuries of struggle and frustration. You decided to lead Joshua into Canaan.
You didn't lead Israel in false hope, either. You knew before You gifted Joshua and emboldened him to his task that he would succeed, and that his success would bring Israel's downfall. You knew if they failed Israel would not be a nation, and if they succeeded they'd be a nation set against You. They would reject You either way, but only one way would You have to suffer.
And You led Israel into Canaan.
You did it all. You went the whole way with them, from Deuteronomy to Malachi.
And still You had a choice.
You went even further in Matthew. You've come in flesh and been a King to us here, on our own Earth. You've been and gone and left the Spirit in your absence, and You've kept your prophecy never to grow angry with Your people again. You've been satisfied in Your work of perfect redemption.
We've done no better than Israel. With so great a revelation, greater than the plagues of Egypt, greater than conquests of David, greater than the building of the temples, we're a struggling church, and struggling more against each other than against anything else.
You've kept your promise, stood by Your choice, loved against all hope. We're people of unclean lips, but You circumcised our hearts.
Nothing has changed, even now. May Your Spirit work in my heart that I not fail You, but even at that I know I will.
May Your Name, the All-Giving, be honored in the Earth. May it be honored on this blog. May it be honored in me. And may the kingdom You tried to give to Israel so many times finally come. May the the people of this Earth hear Your testimony and honor You as their sole Friend. May they know Who is their King, and embrace the love You've struggled so flawlessly to pour out on us. May Your will be done in this place, as enthusiastically as it is in heaven.
You have provided everything for us, and we cast ourselves on Your providence. It is in You we find our every need met. We come to You as a token of our dependency and ask for Your gifts. Please forgive us of every way in which we fail to believe in Your goodness and power toward us. And we forgive those who fail us.
Keep us from any disaster which would overwhelm our feeble faith. And protect us from the enemy that would destroy in us the spark of Your life.
You are beautiful in every way, and we love you.