Joshua 21:45 (ESV) … “Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.”
Verse 45. - The Unfailing Words of the Lord.
I. The unfailing words of the Lord in contrast with the failing words of men. Man’s words fail (1) because of thoughtlessness in utterance, (2) by reason of fickleness of regard, (3) and through feebleness in execution. The Lord’s words are ever glorious, like the unfading stars of the firmament: “For that He is strong in power, not one faileth.” Man’s words are in many ways, and for various reasons, a fruitful source of shame.
II. The words of the Lord on “good things” in contrast with the Lord’s words on “evil things.” Divine words not only stand in contrast with words that are human, but with themselves. God never allows words to fail which tell of blessing and prosperity; it is only of things which bring to men suffering and loss that we ever find it written, “God repented of the evil that He said He would do unto them, and He did it not” (Jonah 3:10; cf. also Deut. 32:36; Jer. 18:10; Amos 7:3, 6). Words like these are never written of God’s “good things.” He who speaks to men from above is slow to anger and swift to bless.
Verse 45. - Retrospect.
I. The retrospect of the godly. 1. Provoking admiration of God. (a) Great purposes. (b) Glorious promises. (c) Patient working. 2. Awakening praise to God. Admiration should not be silent. It should resolve itself into speech. The rapt admiration of the silent beholder is good for the individual; the praise when spoken, or written, helps men.
II. The retrospect of the ungodly. While the Israelites were looking back on the way in which Jehovah had led them, the Canaanites must have been very similarly engaged. The God of the Israelites, who had warned them through Ham and Canaan, their fathers, who had punished them at Sodom, and given them occasion for repentance in many solemn rumours of their coming overthrow, had spoken to these idolaters also. And here, too, not one thing had failed.
A few short years before, and the Canaanites were in untroubled possession of the land. Now a few survivors looked out with awe from some of the fortified cities upon the graves of their comrades and the ruins of their nation. How did the retrospect affect these? It seems to have brought no penitence, and thus could work no praise. The surviving idolaters presently tempted the Israelites to idolatry. The retrospect of the godless man can only lead to true happiness and praise as it begins in sincere repentance.
As the people of God, we can claim these assurances by faith. God’s covenant with us is not going to fail; God’s power and wisdom can give us victory over every foe; and God’s promises can be trusted, no matter what the circumstances may be.
The covenant of God, the power of God, the promises of God—these are the spiritual resources we can depend on as we claim our inheritance in Jesus Christ.