Expectant Mother's Bible Companion
Author: Joshua (or Eleazar and Phinehas)
Audience: The People of Israel
God promised the land of Canaan to the Israelites, for all practical purposes it was theirs. However, the Israelites couldn't sit and wait for the people living there to leave or die. They had to do "something" to take possession of the land, to receive the gift and blessing God gave them. Because God had already promised the land, the gift was not dependant on their "work." It was the possession of the land - the fullness of the blessing - that was dependent on their doing the necessary work to possess it.
God could have killed the Canaanites. He showed he had the power when he overcame the Egyptians without the Israelites doing anything except getting ready and leaving. Once again, the freedom was there, but the people had to work with God to receive it.
As a mom, this example calls me to action. God has made promises in his word. I need to be sure I know what God's promises are and that I am doing my part to receive the blessings. In Joshua's example, the promise was the land, and people needed to follow God's lead in battle. If God has made promises about pregnancy or childbirth, am I just waiting for God to do everything or am I following his lead to accomplish his purpose. Eve is an example of this in labor. In Genesis 4 she remarks, "With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man."
Crossing the Jordan (Joshua 3)
The Levites carrying the Ark stood in the middle of the riverbed until all the people had passed. I wonder if they got tired. How long does it actually take for that many people to cross a river? How much longer does it take when their children, servants, animals and portable shelters have to cross too? What an awesome responsibility. If the Levites did not stand "in the middle" of the river and hold up the Ark, the people couldn't have crossed safely.
I wonder about the people, were they nervous or doubting when they crossed? Did the priests have to encourage them on saying, "Yes, its OK. God's here, don't be afraid. You can do this, you are safe." The Levites couldn't carry the people across, and they couldn't cross the river for them. But they stayed right there in the middle of the river during the flood season helping the people by holding up the arc of God for them to see. This is exactly the work of a doula, a trained childbirth partner. She can't labor for you, but she stays right beside you encouraging you on and holding up God for you to see.
As a mom, I need to remember my responsibility to stand "in the middle" and hold up God when my children face challenges. I won't always be able to carry them, and I can't do it for them. But I can hold up God for them to see so they can make it across the challenge safely.
Exodus 17:9-13 Moses supports the army with outstretched arms
Falling for a Deception (Joshua 9)
The secret of the Israelites military strength was their reliance on the leadership of God. Joshua consulted God to get direction and followed God's plans. However in one instance, Joshua did not inquire of God. When the men of Gibeon approached the Israelites we see hesitation on the part of Joshua. However even with his God given wariness, he made a treaty without consulting God.
Knowing the end of the story we see the foolishness of Joshua's treaty. But what about our lives, places where we must make decisions and wait to see what happens? When we feel that hesitation, a gentle nudging concern about something, do we seek God's counsel or make possibly foolish decisions based on what we can see?
During this time of expectancy and caring for a new child, you will be faced with many decisions. Some times it feels like you have to find several solutions that fail before you find the best way to handle the situation. Make seeking God's guidance a part of your decision making process, so you can make the best decisions possible.
Acts - casting lots because the choices were so equal
Joshua - Walls of Jericho
Nehemiah - planned with God to rebuild walls
Questions for Reflection:
1. The Israelites were unsuccessful at their first attempt to conquer Ai because of one man's sin. Are there areas in your life where something small that hasn't been addressed is holding you back? What can you do about it?
2. At the end of Joshua's life the work is not done, and he needs to pass it on to the next generation. The same thing happened to Moses. With a new baby, you will probably be reevaluating your priorities. How do you recognize when it is time to hand off a task to someone else to complete?