So Joshua conquered the entire region—the hill country, the entire Negev, the whole area around the town of Goshen, the western foothills, the Jordan Valley, the mountains of Israel, and the Galilean foothills. The Israelite territory now extended all the way from Mount Halak, which leads up to Seir in the south, as far north as Baal-gad at the foot of Mount Hermon in the valley of Lebanon. …So Joshua took control of the entire land, just as the LORD had instructed Moses. He gave it to the people of Israel as their special possession, dividing the land among the tribes. So the land finally had rest from war. (Joshua 11:16-23 NLT) Abram had no children when God told him, “I have given this land to your descendants, all the way from the border of Egypt to the great Euphrates River – the land now occupied by the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites” (Gen 15:18-21).
Four hundred thirty years later, Moses was a shepherd minding his father-in-law’s flock on the side of a hill when the Lord told him, “I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. … So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile and spacious land. It is a land flowing with milk and honey—the land where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites now live” (Ex 3:7-8).
Forty years after that, a people who now numbered over two million, after a generation of freed slaves had wandered in the wilderness, were told by their leader, who would travel with them no further, “When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are about to enter and occupy, he will clear away many nations ahead of you: the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites…” (Deut 7:1).
And as Joshua prepared them to cross the Jordan River, he told them “Come and listen to what the LORD your God says. Today you will know that the living God is among you. He will surely drive out the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites ahead of you” (Josh 3:9-10).
It had been at least five years (maybe seven) since the Israelites had crossed the Jordan River on dry ground. And now, almost four hundred eighty years after God had first given His promise to Abram, it was no longer a “promised” land, they now had possession of the entire land – no portion had been left out.
Allow me to give a little perspective on how long four hundred eighty years is in history. Going back that time period from now would place us in the year 1535. Henry VIII is King of England (by the way, he is married to his second wife, Anne Boleyn). England is in extreme upheaval. William Tyndale is arrested in Antwerp for heresy in relation to his Bible translation. French explorer Jacques Cartier sets sail for his second voyage to the new world of North America. The Spanish wrestle control of Tunis from the Ottoman Empire. In short, the world looked much different back then. Imagine receiving a promise back then and finally receiving its fulfillment today. Even more, imagine a promise that was made back then coming to fruition today in the exact same manner in which it was promised. And that is exactly what occurred through the faithfulness of God.
But let’s also look at the faithfulness of two of His servants through whom He chose to bring it about. As the LORD had commanded his servant Moses, so Moses commanded Joshua… (Josh 11:15). Moses was faithful to Him who had appointed and commanded him. He passed on God’s promise, God’s law and God’s instruction – in essence, God’s Word to faithful men who would heed and carry it out. … And Joshua did as he was told, carefully obeying all the commands that the LORD had given to Moses (Josh 11:15). Joshua was faithful to Him who had appointed and commanded him. He “left nothing undone” (Josh 11:15 NKJ). Joshua was a great leader, but the LORD commends him here for being a faithful and obedient servant. And the reality is that you cannot be an effective leader if you are not first and foremost a faithful and obedient servant. When God told Joshua to destroy everything, he did just that – destroying both the idol as well as the idolater.
In my quiet time yesterday, i was reading the account of King Saul in 1 Samuel 15 where God tells Saul to completely destroy the Amalekites. And after having failed to do so, he greets Samuel with, “I have carried out the LORD’s command.” To which Samuel immediately replies, “Then what is all the bleating of sheep and goats and the lowing of cattle I hear?” (1 Sam 15:13-14).
Yes, God was faithful to leave no portion out. And Moses and Joshua were faithful to leave no portion undone!
We also read specifically that “none of the descendants of Anak were left in all the land of Israel, though some still remained in Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod” (Josh 11:22). The descendants of Anak were the giants that the spies had reported forty years earlier (Numbers 13:28, 33), The giants that had caused such terror in the hearts of a faithless generation of Israelites had now been utterly destroyed. Their bulk and strength that ten of the spies had thought to be unconquerable had been reduced to dust. It is a reminder to us that anything we view as an unconquerable giant is but a dwarf to our Almighty God!
One last look at the Canaanites. Why did the LORD harden their hearts and cause them to be completely destroyed (Joshua 11:20)? It was the response to their own pride and unwillingness to turn to the God of Israel. Not unlike Pharaoh, their unrepentant sin led to God’s judgment which was God hardening their hearts. And as a result their people and their cities were destroyed. They chose “to make those their enemies whom they might have made their friends” (Matthew Henry).
So the land finally had rest from war. The victory was complete. No portion of the promise had been left out. And nothing had been left undone.
As you continue in your journey and pursue God’s promise, hold onto these truths. He who has promised is faithful. His promise is timeless and unending. No portion of the promise will be left out. No giant is unconquerable; and no giant will remain. And on that day, there will be rest. So be faithful to leave nothing undone.