The Irony

Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses.
- Joshua 1:17

Bwahahaha!!! How did Joshua possibly resist the temptation to break out in laughter at this statement?

In today’s passage, the people promise to obey Joshua the same way they obeyed Moses. When Moses led them they grumbled and complained. They overwhelmed him with their argumentativeness. They snuck off behind his back and worshipped other gods. They made him so angry he once broke all Ten Commandments at once (or at least the tablets they were originally written on). That kind of “obedience” sounds more like a threat than a promise.

We have an amazing ability to overestimate our own obedience. We write off our bad behavior as situational and credit every positive thought fully to our accounts. If someone has difficulty leading us, the issue must be with them.

This bleeds over into our relationship with the Lord. We can so easily overestimate the level of our obedience to the Lord. We do a terrible job tallying up what we’ve done and what we’ve left undone. We always seem to round up. And God knows it.

God doesn’t require us to have a perfectly accurate picture of our own obedience before he engages us to help us. He shows us in our lives and in our history despite our disobedience. He offers us forgiveness and acceptance and grace. He promises to be present with us even as he was present with Moses and Joshua, even when we obey him the same way the Israelites obeyed Moses.

Where in your own life have you overestimated your own obedience? How has God shown you mercy and grace despite your disobedience?

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