Kimberley Reflections – 25 May – Dean Reginald Leeuw

Joshua 1:1-9
Greetings dear friends and May the grace of our Lord Jesus and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us, now and forever more. Amen
Today we celebrate The Venerable Bede teacher of Faith, AD 735. We thank God for his “Monastic fidelity and for his love of teaching” and for using all the resources available to write the most complete history of Christian England up to the year 729, as well as commentaries of books of the Bible. We thank God for his witness.
Today we also celebrate Africa Day and this year’s theme is “Silencing the guns: creating conducive conditions for Africa’s development”, to achieve the goal of a conflict-free Africa. We pray for peace, selfless leadership, development and freedom. We also pray today for victims of war, displaced people of our continent, economic refugees, those who are exposed to diseases, the poor and the oppressed. We pray that God will look with favour upon our continent and give us peace.
Today I want focus my reflections on Joshua 1:1-9. While the texts in the Deuteronomic corpus (Genesis, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and the Book of Joshua) had a history prior to their being incorporated into the larger body of the Hebrew Texts or The Old Testament, they are used to address a very specific situation in the life of God’s people, namely, the Exiles in Babylon.
What happened to the promises of God? The exiles have been driven away from the land promised their fathers, with little or no hope of returning. Do these promises still stand? The temple, the place where God was thought to be truly present in the land, is now destroyed. Is God also present and active among the exiles who wander among the nations far from home?
The Introduction to the book of Joshua (1:1-9) is a word in time of transition and reminds the Exiles of what God had done for their forefathers in the past. When they were landless fugitives, God had given them a land flowing with milk and honey. When they were leaderless God had given them Joshua to lead them into the Promised Land. The Book of Joshua is a confirmation to the Exiles that God can be trusted and God’s promises remain forever.
Last night the President concluded his speech to the South African Nation with the words “it is in your hands” as he encouraged us to be responsible as we move to lockdown Level 3 from the first of June. Some of us are disappointed that we will still not be allowed to gather for worship, and some are still disappointed that they will not be allowed to smoke, to see their extended families and to visit their favourite public spaces. I am encouraged by God’s words to Joshua “be strong and be courageous”; you will not go through this challenging time alone, I will be with you; I will take you in my hand and lead you as I have done before.
“Lead us, heavenly Father, lead us o’er the world’s tempestuous sea;
guard us, guide us, keep us, feed us, for we have no help but thee,
yet possessing every blessing if our God our guide shall be.