Thursday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Joshua 3:7-10a.11.13-17; Matthew 18:21-19.1)
Psalm 44 declares that the Israelites were not saved from Pharaoh’s army by their own hand. Rather, the psalm continues, it was the Lord who brought them victory. The first reading today demonstrates the same point. God’s remaining with the people of Israel gives them crucial advantage over the Canaanites.
Moses is, in a sense, the major figure of the Book of Exodus and, arguably, of the Old Testament. He led the people out of Egypt, formed them according to the dictates of God’s law, and brought them to the Promised Land. With Moses gone as the Israelites reach their destiny, some might wonder how the people will be able to move forward. The passage asserts that God is ready to assist Joshua as he had Moses. Thus, the real hero of the story of salvation is no man but God.
We should never forget the lesson. God provides us crucial advantage whether we win or lose in any particular venture. He can lift victory from defeat and make defeat not difficult to bear. It is important, indeed critical, that we trust in Him.