Joshua 12:1-8 (NIV) 1 These are the kings of the land whom the Israelites had defeated and whose territory they took over east of the Jordan, from the Arnon Gorge to Mount Hermon, including all the eastern side of the Arabah: 2 Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon. He ruled from Aroer on the rim of the Arnon Gorge–from the middle of the gorge–to the Jabbok River, which is the border of the Ammonites. This included half of Gilead. 3 He also ruled over the eastern Arabah from the Sea of Kinnereth to the Sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea), to Beth Jeshimoth, and then southward below the slopes of Pisgah. 4 And the territory of Og king of Bashan, one of the last of the Rephaites, who reigned in Ashtaroth and Edrei. 5 He ruled over Mount Hermon, Salecah, all of Bashan to the border of the people of Geshur and Maacah, and half of Gilead to the border of Sihon king of Heshbon. 6 Moses, the servant of the LORD, and the Israelites conquered them. And Moses the servant of the LORD gave their land to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh to be their possession. 7 These are the kings of the land that Joshua and the Israelites conquered on the west side of the Jordan, from Baal Gad in the Valley of Lebanon to Mount Halak, which rises toward Seir (their lands Joshua gave as an inheritance to the tribes of Israel according to their tribal divisions– 8 the hill country, the western foothills, the Arabah, the mountain slopes, the desert and the Negev–the lands of the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites):
On verses 1-8: In listing some of the kings and lands that the Israelites conquered, these verses show us how much each of Moses and Joshua accomplished from a military perspective. It leads me to this question: Do you ever feel like you’re living in someone else’s shadow? Do you often compare yourself, or do others often compare you, to someone you grew up with who accomplished great things? Maybe it was your sibling, your parent, your cousin, your spouse, a peer at school?
Joshua probably felt the burden of comparisons for a while. He was Moses’ assistant for many years. When Joshua finally succeeded Moses as leader of the Israelites, he probably compared himself, and others probably compared him, to his predecessor Moses and wondered how he could possibly fill such big shoes.
But these verses here in Joshua 12:1-8 (as well as verses 9-24 later on) show us that Joshua, at least from a military perspective, conquered far more kings and territories than Moses. Moses conquered two kings: Sihon king of the Amorites (v2) and Og king of Bashan (v4). Joshua conquered 31 kings (v9-24). At the same time Moses did very significant things that Joshua never did.
What can we learn from this? To me it’s a reminder that you don’t need to constantly compare yourself to others, feeling like you are living in someone else’s shadow. God has a unique destiny for you that can’t be compared to anyone else’s. Like a pair of shoes that only fit your feet, God’s destiny and calling for your life is unique, one of a kind. So don’t get tripped up by unnecessary comparisons with others. Simply run the race God has called you to run.
At the end of your life God will not ask you, “Why weren’t you more like your sister, or your dad, or your classmate?” Rather He will be looking at whether you were faithful with what God gave you, not somebody else. For in God’s eyes, success is not how you compare with others. Success is doing the best you can with the unique set of gifts, talents, opportunities, and challenges God has given you.
Heavenly Father, please forgive me for all the times that I get caught up in unhelpful comparisons with others. I proclaim that Your calling on my life is unique. I declare that my success is not based on how well I fare compared to others, but on whether I did my best with what You gave me. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!