There was a season of mourning for the Jews just before entering into the promised land. God told Moses that he would not see the land and cross over with the Israelites. God showed him the land and then Moses died and was buried in the mountains. The people took the time to mourn for Moses and God allowed this because he understood the importance of their grief. The bible does not say how long their season of mourning lasted, but that God told Joshua when they needed to move forward. The important thing for the Jews was having a leader who could hear from God and sense his timing.
As soon as Joshua heard the word from God, without delay he rallied the people to get ready to move forward. This was his instructions to the officers that were in charge of the people. “Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, ‘Prepare your provisions, for within three days you are to pass over this Jordan to go in to take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess”’ (Joshua 1:11). God encouraged Joshua and reminded him about his promise to be with him. With the word from the Lord, he started to get the people ready to move forward.
The next thing that Joshua did was to send in two spies to view the land and bring back a word to the people. The spies came into the house of a prostitute and she hid them in her roof. She didn’t turn them over when the King sent men in search of them. “and said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you” (Joshua 2:9). The men went in ahead of the battle to collect information and made an alliance with a member of the country which they were about to overtake. Despite the woman’s career as a prostitute, God used her in the story of victory and conquest for the Israelites.
The men returned to Joshua with a victory report ahead of their journey. “Truly the Lord has given all the land into our hands. And also, all the inhabitants of the land melt away because of us” (Joshua 2:24). There are a few things that we can take away from this season of transition for the Israelites. It is ok to acknowledge our grief and to stop for a season to mourn. After the season of mourning, it is time to prepare to move forward. Strategic alliances are important on our journey to new territories and it is important to remember those who showed us kindness along the way. The main lesson is to listen and be sensitive to God’s timing and know when he is telling us to move ahead.