Joshua 1-21 and 1 Chronicles 6:54-81
Be Strong and Courageous
Can you imagine following Moses as leader? It’s like when you know you’re up next to give a speech and the one before you takes the house down, and what is left to say? You think, “How can I possibly top that?” Maybe you don’t even want to. You want to sit quietly in the audience, but it’s your turn. It was Joshua’s anointed turn, and the Lord told him many times in three verses “Be strong and courageous.” Moses had told him that before and stood before the Israelites and asked them to encourage Joshua. God’s words to Joshua hold meaning for us as leaders and servants of His.
- Be strong and courageous.
- Be strong and VERY courageous.
- Be careful to obey all the law and do not turn from it
- Do not let the Book of the Law depart from your mouth
- Meditate on it night and day to be careful to do what it says
- Did I mention, “Be strong and courageous.”?
- Do not be terrified.
- Do not be discouraged.
- For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Rahab, a prostitute, had heard about the wonders of the Israelites’ God, and was a friend of God’s people. God honored this promise forever by including her in Scripture in the lineage of Christ (Mat. 1:5)
(2:12-13) Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and that you will save us from death.”
(Joshua 3:5)Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.” When we are entering a new land we need to spend time with Him beforehand, consecrating, making ourselves clean by the recalling of our sins. Sometimes, a fast is in order or a day dedicated exclusively to prayer. When we dedicate ourselves to Him, we ready ourselves for a mighty deliverance, a mighty work of God.
(14-15) So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge,…” The water was still there. They HAD to put their feet in the water before it turned to dry land. How many times am I at the water’s edge and fail to put my toe in because I believe the water instead of believing God.
John Ortberg’s book, If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat paints a picture of what this might have looked like and draws the conclusion we all must face: (p.79)
A classic example of this occurs when Moses has died, and the people are wondering if God will continue to take care of them. Repeatedly he reminds them, “Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
When it is time for the Israelites to cross the River Jordan, God promises to make a way for them. They can trust him to see them across. But God asks them to take a first step: “When the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan flowing from above shall be cut off; they shall stand in a single heap.”
In other words, the people will experience God’s power—but they will have to take the first step. This not only involves a mental acknowledgment of God’s power, but requires them to take a step of action based on the assumption that God is trustworthy as well. They had to get their feet wet first.”
I want to get my feet wet, believing He will do what He says He will do. What do I need to act on in faith, even if it seems impossible?
(Joshua 4:14) “That day the LORD exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they revered him all the days of his life, just as they had revered Moses.”
How good of God to give Joshua an immediate miracle for the Israelites to see he was the anointed leader from God. But Joshua gave the Lord the credit in verse 24, as he states” He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.” Joshua understood true greatness calls for an humble heart that recognizes where its Power comes. I already like Joshua, don’t you?
(Joshua 5:15)The commander of the LORD’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so. God is a warrior on our behalf. Therefore we are warriors. We fight both physical enemies of sickness and hardship but also battles in the heavenlies. Taking off his sandals before his Lord, Joshua immediately knew God as “the commander of the Lord’s army.” The Lord Himself showed Joshua He was with him.
(Joshua 7:13) “Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: That which is devoted is among you, O Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove it.” I cannot stand against my enemies with any impurities of my soul, any unrightousness, any false idols. I must purify myself of all unrighteousness through His Blood and forgiveness. Do I take the time to confess and repent so that I can live victoriously?
The men of Israel sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the LORD. Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live…” How often do I lean on my own understanding and not inquire of the Lord? There are consequences every time.
(Joshua 10: 13-14) The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the LORD listened to a man. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel!” I just thought this was cool. I was struck by God’s miracle in such detail so He could hand the enemy over to Israel.
Sometimes it takes war to have peace. (11:23), (14:15) “Then the land had rest from war.” How many times have I not wanted confrontation yet I am not at rest? Fighting for the right cause is a holy pursuit.
I did find it humorous and at the same time sweet that God told Joshua you’re getting kind of old. I’ll take care of the rest of the battles for you.
The next chapters 15-20 were about the division of the land.
(21:43-45) So the Lord gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their forefathers, and they took possession of it and settled there. The Lord gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their forefathers. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the Lord handed all their enemies over to them. Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.
We serve a faithful God. We finally see Abraham’s promise fulfilled. We see Israel become a mighty people of God. We see His faithful Hand carry EVERY promise. As we complete this month’s readings, we are now a quarter of the way through the Bible. Can you believe we have sojourned this far together and are still diligently seeking Him in His Word? It all comes together for me in seeing the chronological events and promises fulfilled. Thanks to Bev and each of you that are walking this thing out with me. He is mighty to fulfill every promise!