Do you ever just wonder? Just ... wonder. Think about what an experience must have been like for someone else. What must have been going through their minds as they saw the things that we'll never see.
Lately, I've been thinking a lot about Joshua, son of Nun.
I realize he probably seems like a very odd person to wonder about. He lived a few thousand years ago, and we know very few things about him.
He was an Israelite scout into the Promised Land with Caleb and returned with glowing reports of it.
He was one of only two scouts who actually believed that the Israelites should proceed into the Promised Land - of twelve total.
He succeeded Moses as the Israelite leader.
It's that last one that makes me wonder. Joshua hung in there with God when few others did. He was probably pretty young during the Exodus, and many older than he folded and caved under the pressure of life in the desert.
What I'm really wondering about, though, is what it was like for faithful Joshua during the years of wandering in the desert. The Israel nation was huge - hundreds of thousands of men alone - and all of them were slated to die. How horrible must it have been to wake up each day, knowing there would be funerals to hold and preparations to make? Waiting for more loved ones and friends and neighbors to die so that life could continue? Knowing that a new generation was growing up who did not witness the miracles of the Exodus and who needed to be taught those stories to lean on during the thin times? Wondering how soon even thinner times might come?
We modern people often scoff at those Israelites. "They were stubborn!" we say. "They got to follow along after His pillar of fire and cloud daily and still they disobeyed Him!" we say. "God fed them pastry-flavored food every day for which they did no work and didn't get fat, and still they strayed!" we say. "How crazy those people were!"
And maybe we'd be right.
But really ... are we any better? No.
Have we trudged along in the desert, fearing giants and without food, with no end in sight? No.
Have we really had to watch thousands of people around us die, for no reason we understood, while we did nothing? For most of us, probably not. No. We haven't done that.
The Bible doesn't really tell us what those 40 years must have been like. I imagine it almost as one super long funeral service. How depressing it must have been. How difficult if you were one of the ones "scheduled" to die, knowing that your sin was preventing your children from God's best! How awful knowing that you were trapped in the desert, feeling the pressure of learning all you could, wondering when your parents' turn would come, when you would be required to carry on your family's legacy? How thankful I am that God has not called me to be an Israelite!
Where could that many people possibly be buried, anyway??
Wendy Pope is always telling her online Bible study girls that “The LORD our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever all that He has revealed to us, so that we may obey all the terms of these instructions.( Deut. 29:29)”
Joshua must have been really good at that. His faith must have been amazingly strong.
I hope that someday further down the line my family says that I'm like Joshua. That I'm strong, that I knew God and depended on Him daily, that I was obedient to His call. I wonder ....
What makes you wonder??