August 25, 2012

Rest on Every Side

Joshua 21:43-45

The LORD gave them rest on every side… Not one of their enemies withstood them.
—Joshua 21:44


Israel had won many battles, but it was the Lord who gave them rest from their enemies. After years on the battlefield Israel could serve God without interruption from the enemy. The freedom to serve God that Moses had demanded of Pharaoh before they left Egypt (Exodus 5:1; 7:16) was finally achieved in the land God had promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Still, the conquest remained incomplete. Non-Israelites re-mained in the land, and they worshiped other gods. But their kings had no power to enslave Israel. Israel was now free to serve the Lord, who had rescued them. This was good news for all.

The freedom Christ has won for his disciples is also good news. No longer enslaved to the power of sin, we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to resist our passions and addictions. Still, the power of sin remains; it beckons and tempts us all to rebel and walk away from God. But God has given us the victory.

We may be buffeted on all sides by the old enemies of pride, or lust, or greed, but, having been clothed with the righteousness of Christ and the armor of God, we can resist and deflect the darts of the evil one. No enemy can withstand the righteousness of God through Christ our Lord.

Thank you, Lord, for rest from the persecution of sin and its seductions. Clothe me this day with the righteousness of Christ so that no enemy can overwhelm me. In Christ, Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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