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Trials, Toil, and Time

Daily Reading: Joshua 11-12

Scripture Focus: In all, thirty-one kings. (Joshua 12.24)

Devotional Thought: I have reached a point in life when I have a tendency to look back over the victories God has given. It reminds me of the grace, power, and faithfulness of God. And, it gives me opportunity to express gratitude, praise, and fealty to him.

It was that way with the Israelites. They reviewed what God had done for them, how God had given them victory over thirty-one kings! But, it wasn't automatic: God worked through their...

• Trials. The Israelites did not arrive at their destination carried on beds of ease along paths of peace. There were scares and setbacks, defeats and disappointments. But, in every one of those trials, they learned of God's gracious work on their behalf. Their experience foreshadowed the New Testament proclamation, "God works in all things for the good of those who love him" (Romans 8.28).

• Toil. While God was working for their good, every one of those thirty-one victories required effort on their part as well. Plans had to be made, provisions gathered, risks taken, and battles fought. They were partners with God and with one another. Working partners. He still accomplishes his purpose and advances his Kingdom through us.

• Time. Reading Joshua, we can get the mistaken notion that it all happened quickly. It actually took over fifteen years for the kingdom to be established. As the old saying goes, "Rome wasn't built in a day." We need to be patient. Jesus used the analogy of a seed when he described the Kingdom. Seeds take time to germinate, to sprout and to grow.

Victory will cost us trials, toil, and time. Be steadfast.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for every one of the victories that you give me. Help me to endure trials, work hard, and be patient as you establish your Kingdom in my life, in my home, and in my church. Amen.

Psalm of the Day: Psalm 32.1-7

1 Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah

5 I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

6 Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found; surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him. 7 You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah

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