26The Lord said to Moses and Aaron: 27“How long will this wicked community grumble against me? I have heard the complaints of these grumbling Israelites. 28So tell them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Lord, I will do to you the very thing I heard you say: 29In this wilderness your bodies will fall—every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me. 30Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.
Joshua was Moses’ right-hand-man from the day the Israelites left Egypt through forty years of wandering in a desert. His life was one of great victory, mountainous highs and painful lows. Joshua was chosen to see the land, first-hand, that God was going to give to the Israelites. He looked at the magnificent houses, vineyards and productive fields God was going to hand over to people who had not worked for them. He also watched as a foolish and ignorant people threw that opportunity away.
Victory and Pain
Because of the people of Israel’s folly, Joshua would go on to watch every single one of his friends, companions and ancestors die in a desert that was no one’s home. Other than Caleb, he had no peers. No one over twenty had been granted such a gift as to leave Egypt and enter Canaan except them, which made them a lonely lot. This is clear when we see how Caleb longed to settle a place for his family, all he had left after leaving Egypt (Joshua 14:6-15).
Yet, even amidst the pain of watching his country, his friends, and his mentor pass away, God was good to Joshua. Joshua went in and took possession of what God had promised centuries before to his ancestor Abraham. He laid eyes on the land he knew would be the seat of God’s eternal kingdom. He saw the fulfillment of a promise that all before him had died only hoping for.
Greater Than Our Struggle
Though our lives can be at times painful and lonely, can we be willing to stay faithful to the Lord like Joshua? God’s goodness is greater than all our pain, trials and suffering. Whether we see them in our lifetimes or not, every one of God’s promises will come true. Joshua understood this, and he saw the goodness of the Lord to him as he told the Israelites before he died:
“Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.