We made it. We’ve read the Torah and we’re in the Promised Land. Now what? The struggle is actually the same. We’ve got the Torah in hand and now we have to choose God’s ways over our own. We have to seek His will instead of living by the flesh. As you prepare to read about some of the big ideas from Joshua, take some time to read Joshua and watch the Bible Project’s video outlining the framework of the book (https://thebibleproject.com/explore/joshua/) as we dive into this week’s “Baseball Guy’s Bible Guide.”
Due up in the Bottom of the Ninth:
- Being Strong and Courageous
- God-Sized Victories
- What is the Promised Land?
Being Strong and Courageous
As God commissions Joshua to become the leader of the people, the Lord leaves Joshua with an oft-quoted Bible verse from Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua is the new leader and God’s encouragement is firm. Joshua can be the person to focus the people on being faithful to God through the Torah and experience the blessing of the Promised Land.
The Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers have an extraordinary history of faithfulness and blessing. The organization had two managers from 1954-1996 in Walter Alston and Tommy Lasorda, and a clearly articulated philosophy known simply as “The Dodger Way.” For over 40 years the Dodgers experienced blessing and success thanks to that consistency in vision and leadership. When that changed and the “Dodger Way” was thrown aside, it took a long time and a lot of money for the team to recover. Reading more about this has provided me with something of a life goal to get a copy of The Dodger Way and read it cover to cover.
Leadership changes can be difficult, and it takes strength and courage to maintain similar visions for leadership and philosophy. Lasorda took the mantle from Alston just as Joshua took his from Moses. Ultimately, both leaders who followed other great leaders experience blessing because they were willing to be consistent and follow someone else’s lead.
A good chunk of Joshua deals with the amazing victories the Israelites experienced on the battlefield over the Canaanites. God’s faithfulness and Joshua’s dependance upon the Lord is on full display. I’m glad I’ve never been asked to take my warriors around a city and bring down the walls with trumpets!
In 2007, we had the amazing pleasure of watching a baseball team experienced what can only be called a God-Sized Victory. The Colorado Rockies were 76-72 at the start of play on September 16. 29 days later, they would find themselves in the World Series having won 21 of 22 games, including a 9-8, 13-inning victory in a one-game playoff over the San Diego Padres.
The organization was filled with many faith-filled people and, when they received their championship rings with the team’s “CR” emblazoned on it, they couldn’t help but give credit to God. To the believers in the organization, the “CR” simply meant “Christ Risen.” They had witnessed the power of God through the game of baseball in 2007.
These stories should lead us into deeper faithfulness and commitment so that we, too, might get to experience miracles of the same level.
What is the Promised Land?
While it is clear that the Promised Land was an actual, geographic place in the Old Testament, reading the Torah and Joshua got me thinking. Does the Promised Land exist as something more internal than external today? Because the Tabernacle became the Temple and Jesus tore the veil of the Temple so the Holy Spirt could dwell in each of us, is the Promised Land accessible to me today?
One of my favorite times is on the high school baseball field on a Saturday morning. The school week is over and instead of practicing or playing in the afternoon, we get to play on Saturday morning. I love it when I walk up to the field, not a hint of wind in the air, and the sound of birds and lawnmowers in the neighborhood resonate through the atmosphere. The peace of those mornings make me think that the Promised Land is accessible to us as well. Sure, moments of success and the opportunities for great joy that the game provides might also give us a sense of the fulfillment of a promise, but I think those moments of internal peace give us the best picture of the Promised Land.
What are your Promised Land moments of peace on the baseball field? I’d love to hear from you as you reflect on God’s Promised Land in your own life. Reply to the Bottom of the Ninth email or send yours to firstname.lastname@example.org.