Judges 1:1 opens the book of Judges on a very somber note. It is no doubt a day of national mourning for the people of Israel.
Joshua, their leader in battle, is dead. Joshua is an interesting character. He is one of those second tier Bible characters that is more well known than most but not as well known as some. Joshua was a great man. He is one of only two men, the other being Caleb, who actually lived in Egypt. Their whole generation died in the wilderness because of unbelief that resulted in disobedience. This is always the case. It was Joshua and Caleb of the twelve spies that brought back a good report. They did not underestimate the challenges before them but they highlighted the promise of God before them. They were, Joshua was, a man of faith.
Joshua had been Moses' right-hand man. He was his assistant. The bible says he was Moses' minister. His skills for leadership had been nurtured in service to another man. Joshua is always lurking in the background. After the death of Moses, Joshua receives a call from God. Joshua 5:13-15 It was a personal visitation from God on a par with a burning bush experience.
Joshua led the people over the Jordan river and to victory over Jericho. There were many other victories after that initial one. Joshua had taken to heart the admonition of the LORD to, "be strong and of a good courage." Joshua was a great man who probably does not get his due for one simple fact. He followed Moses. I suppose it could be argued concerning Moses that a greater man has never lived. Moses is clearly hovering around the top of the first tier of bible characters. So Joshua lives out his days of service in the shadow of Moses. Wouldn't it be nice if we all were afforded such an opportunity!
Yet we get to Judges 1:1 and we are told, "Now after the death of Joshua it came to pass, . . . ." I read that and I can only think, it always does. It always comes to pass. We should be thankful that is always comes to pass. What we learn is God's work is not dependent upon one man. It is God's work and he uses men. It is always good for us to remember that we are instruments in his hand. Our desire should be to be "fit for the master's use."
Men die and God continues his work. Great men die but God's work does not!
Abraham died and God's program moved forward.
Jacob died and God's program moved forward.
Joseph died and God's program moved forward.
Moses died and God's program moved forward.
Joshua died but God still lives and thus it can be written "and it came to pass."
Therefore, let us soberly contemplate:
When those before us died, "it came to pass."
When we die it will, "come to pass."