All of Christ for All of Life
Grace Alone, Faith Alone, Christ Alone

19 May 2020 – Joshua 21:43-45

So the LORD gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their ancestors, and they took possession of it and settled there. The LORD gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their ancestors. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the LORD gave all their enemies into their hands. Not one of all the LORD’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled. – Joshua 21:43-45

Today we jump forward to the summary statement of the LORD fulfilling all of His promises to Israel.

Adolph Harstad writes:

The author of Joshua wants his readers to compare the ancient promises to the readers to contrast the generous allotment just enumerated in chapters 13-21 with the time when the promises were first made. At that time Abraham owned “not even a foot of ground” and “had no child.” Yet he was promised, “To your seed I will gie this land.” Now Israel is credited with an expanse of land from Mount Hermon to the Negev and from the Mediterranean to the Arabian Desert. Do not miss the point, the writer is uring. You have just read many boundary descriptions, geographical terms, and lists of cities in Joshua 13-21. All of that was for this purpose: to impress that “not a promise fell from all the good promise that the LORD promised to the house of Israel. All came true!”

The LORD is faithful. Israel can look across the geography that is no longer the promised land. It is the fulfilled-promise land. His covenant nation can walk on the terra-firma evidence that he consummates his promises. Joshua is most certainly a book that puts theology in down-to-earth terms. It inspires confidence in all of the promises that the faithful LORD makes.

The Hebrew clause rendered “not a promise/word fell” in 21:45 is a catching usage. It has the common verb naphal in the same sense as in 2 Kings 10:10: “Know, therefore, that nothing from the Word of the LORD shall fall to the ground.” If we may liken the LORD’s words to jars of pottery containing fine, aged wine for His banqueters to drink at the proper time, those jars never fall from His shelf and shatter on the ground, allowing their contents to trickle away. Israel has drunk the LORD’s choice, aged wine by inheriting from Him the land He once promised and now has given – a land “flowing with milk and honey.”

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus uses an equally memorable picture to state that all of Scripture’s promises will be fulfilled. In Matthew 5:18, He says that not one iota, representing yod (the smallest Hebrew letter), nor even a little “horn” or serif on a letter of God’s Torah will pass away until all has been accomplished. When it comes to the fulfillment of the promises of God, not only are there no falling words, but also no vanishing letters or even parts of letters that convey His message. The LORD accomplishes in every detail what He promises in His word!

MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 56
Q. 56. What is the reason annexed to the third commandment?
A. The reason annexed to the third commandment is that however the breakers of this commandment may escape punishment from men, yet the Lord our God will not suffer them to escape his righteous judgment.