Israel obeys God and establishes the locations for the cities of refuge while ensuring that the Levites have lands among the tribes. Considering Israel’s recent history and future actions, Israel by and large seems to be realizing the blessings of obeying God as promised in Deuteronomy. This leads one to ask, “Why was the generation of Joshua and Caleb so different from other generations of Israel?” Joshua does not seem to have experienced anything like the opposition Moses faced.
One can’t help but believe that the discipline born during their futile wandering in the wilderness because of the sins of their parents strengthened Joshua’s peers. During Joshua’s era, Israel experienced the curses of disobedience in their early years, but they also witnessed the blessings of obedience in their later years. Though it is surprising to see mostly uninterrupted obedience, we do well not to over-analyze the particular features that led to such widespread faithfulness. The truth is we cannot replicate this situation, nor should that be our desire. Rather it is good to acknowledge that when a people obey God, both leadership and what one pastor friend calls “followership” play crucial roles. Though Joshua is faithful, so are the people. When both leaders and followers are obeying God together, it truly is beautiful to witness.