We start the book of Joshua with a death, the death of Moses. At this verse God tells me that “there will always be a death preceding the victory. There is something that has to die in order for you to move forward, further into the Promised Land. And the death won’t be just any death; it will be the death of something big and quite possibly good. It’s something (or someone) that has faithfully led you for YEARS through the wilderness experience that you’ve been going through. But in order for you to move on into The Promised Land your “Moses” has to die because it’s not isn’t allowed in. This is where the two of you have to part and go your separate ways.
The second part of this verse includes a command from God to Joshua to “arise” and “go”. Joshua isn’t allowed a time to mourn the death of Moses, at least not in this part of the narrative. And so while we may be oh so tempted to linger and moan at the wall for our “lost leader”, we can’t because by golly we’ve got a Promised Land to take control of!
Now here’s the part that I love. Here’s Joshua, he has lived his entire life in the shadow of THE Moses. And now all the sudden Moses is gone and it’s Joshua’s job to lead these people into victory. I can see how that would be incredibly intimidating for anyone. And God understands that all too well. So His one command to Joshua (in 1:6, 1:7, 1:9 and 1:8) is to “Be strong and courageous”. And He doesn’t just say it once, He says it over and over and over to make SURE that Joshua gets it.
In 1:6 we read, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them.”
Joshua needs to be strong and courageous because it is strength and courage that will cause the people to inherit the land.
No pressure. (*whispered aside*: That was sarcasm, if it didn’t read in well enough.)
But then in 1:7 we read:
“Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses My servant commanded you.”
This one is slightly more helpful because it’s explaining HOW Joshua can be strong and courageous, through following the law that Moses gave. Except… what if they don’t? What if they miss something? What if they can’t? What if they run out of sacrifices on the battlefield, or they mess something up. Then what? It’s all on Joshua’s head again, no pressure.
Then the third time in 1:9 God says to him, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Ahhhhh! Here we go. This is the key, the whole key necessary to conquering the Promised Land. We can be strong and we can be courageous because, why?
For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go!
How is this important for us today? Well, in verse thirteen God explains it to us, “The LORD your God is providing you a place of rest and will give you this land.” The Promised Land is a place of REST. It’s a place where we can put down everything we’re carrying, sit down in the recliner and put our feet up knowing that God’s got it all under control. He’s got our back and we have nothing to fear. Period. Like a child sleeping through the wildest storms, in peace, because they are completely secure in their parents’ ability and willingness to care for them and keep them safe at all times in all ways. That’s rest. Wouldn’t it be great to abide there?
Well according to Joshua chapter 1, in order to gain control over your Promised Land you have to be:
Strong and Courageous and
Willing to stand up for it and FIGHT!
But here’s the thing, you want to know what Moses told these people at the Red Sea before it opened up and Pharaoh’s army was charging toward them ready to attack? He said, “The LORD will fight for you, you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14) And what is it that God said in Joshua 1:9? “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
He is ALWAYS with you and will NEVER forsake you, no not EVER. That’s a promise you can take to the bank, and you should! His presence in your life is POWERFUL. And all too often we allow Satan to help us forget that. If you are saved, then God is WITH you, everywhere that you go. And that’s a really big deal my friend. Whether it’s to the bars or at church, He’s with you.
After God is finished giving Joshua his pep talk, Joshua then goes and talks to the troops. And what is it that he reminds the tribes whose part of the Promised Land is the land they’re already in? He tells them to remember that they are to help their brothers fight for their part of the Promised Land.
We’re in this together my friends. We are not individuals in the sense that we have to fight this battle for our Promise alone. We’re all on the same team, and we need to remember to act like that. I can tell you right now that there are people out there that I absolutely could NOT do this ministry without them. And the vast majority of them aren’t that hands-on involved in the ministry… but they’re praying. There is so much more power in prayer than most of us could ever hope or imagine. If you do nothing else for your fellow man’s piece of the Promised Land, PRAY for them!!! We’re all in this together.
In 1:15 we read, “Then you shall return to the land of your possession and shall posses it, the land that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise.”
This was one of the big lessons I learned at the conference this weekend. Possession. It’s 9/10ths of the law you know. LOL. But seriously, think of it this way. Jesus died on the cross and paid for the gift of Grace for every human being that had or would ever live. So picture that Grace wrapped up in a nice little box. And there’s one box for each of us. OK. Has the gift been paid for? Yup. Is it for us? Yup. Ahhhh! But when does it become OURS? Not until we RECEIVE it.
I can have a closet full of toys for my kids, but they don’t belong to my kids until they receive them. Mmmmm… but even then, what good are toys once they have been received if they are not used? What was the point of me spending all my husband’s hard earned money on toys for my kids if they NEVER play with them?
Then how is it, do you think, that Jesus feels when He’s literally poured blood, sweat and tears into the most priceless gift anyone could ever receive and then they don’t receive that gift and USE it? In order to take possession of our Promised Land, we have to open up that gift of Grace, take it out of the box and USE it. We have to read the instruction manual that came with it (the Bible in case you were wondering), and we have to learn about all the nifty things that this thing “Grace” includes. And boy, if you think you’re new smart phone has a lot of apps, you should see Grace!!! Woo!
You see it’s not enough to just know about the Promised Land, or even to stand there and stare at it from across the river; you were BORN to posses it; to take complete and total control over it. His PEACE is yours. It belongs to YOU His Beloved Bride.
Tell me, in the face of pure evil and darkness, can you be strong? Is it possible?
Bear in mind the simple truth that we were created human with an innate weakness that would REQUIRE a strength that is not our own in order to survive.
No, we were not created to be strong under our own power, BUT rather strong through HIS power.
And how about courage? Knowing there isn’t enough strength in our own bones to carry us through doesn’t really instill courage does it? But what is it that Joshua 1:9 says? “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is WITH you wherever you go.”
How is it that we can stand and fight the face of evil for our Promised Rest? We remember that it’s not OUR strength or courage we rely on, it’s HIS. We remember that through Christ we can do all things. We remember that all things are possible for those who believe in His strength and His might, but most importantly, His love for YOU.