Welcome to Joshua! We mourned with Israel when Moses died on the mountain top. Now it is time to move into God’s promise with Joshua.
Joshua has been under Moses’ tutelage for the past 40 years. The past several years Moses knew he wasn’t going to be going into the Promised Land with them. I don’t know if he told Joshua right away or if he held out hope that God would change His mind and didn’t tell Joshua until God said to anoint him as the new leader. I can’t imagine the magnitude of the task Moses laid on Joshua’s shoulders! And he didn’t have years of Moses helping him ease into this role or available if he felt like he was in over his head.
He was fortunate that all the infrastructure of leadership was already in place when he took over though. This was something Moses had to struggle through. He also had all of the Law laid out for him and the people. But this was still a HUGE step for him. He was expected to fill Moses’ shoes for both the people and for God.
Joshua didn’t have Moses but he had God. God KNEW how big of a task He was laying on Joshua. He also knew that Joshua would have doubts about being able to fill this roll. God told him three times in our short reading today, “Be strong and courageous” (verses 6a & 9b), once God tells Joshua to “be strong and very courageous” (verse 7a).
God didn’t get angry with Joshua for the fear and trepidation he was feeling. Instead He built him up and gave him directions on how to “be strong” and succeed. As I was thinking about Joshua’s “recipe for success” I came up with a few points I want to share with you. This is NOT a “put God in a box” and “He HAS TO respond this way” type of “recipe.” It is what I feel I should be practicing when making decisions and moving into what I feel God has called me to do. It is the order God spoke to Joshua to prepare bolster him for what he was being called to do.
- Remember Who made the promises: God reminded Joshua that HE is the one who made the promise. “Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel” (verse 2b). This wasn’t a promise that Moses made. It wasn’t a promise that Abraham, Isaac or Jacob made. It was a promise that GOD made.
- Remember Who is fighting for you: God is fighting the battles that Joshua will soon be facing. He is NOT fighting under his own strength or even the strength of ALL of Israel’s army. “Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you” (verse 5b). If God has called you to it HE will lead you through it. HE is in charge of the victory.
- Remember Him and His commandments for your life: When God calls you to make a move with Him it will NEVER be one that goes against His commandments. He expects you to walk in integrity and according to His will throughout the task (and your life) He has laid before you. “Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go” (verse 7). Be careful to stay in His will or you won’t be doing His work, no matter how you try and convince yourself you are.
- Step out in faith and do what He has called you to do: You actually have to take that first step. After all the preparation and pep talks you have to put feet to the promise He has given you. “For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (verse 8b). This is an action promise. If you don’t put any action behind the promise it yields no fruit. Put godly action into play and it will bring God’s promises to fruition.
- KNOW you are not alone and let Him direct your paths: No matter what, GOD is with you! “Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (verse 9b). Even when you make a mistake and go off track, God is still with you. He NEVER gives you a task and sits back and watches from the sidelines. He is in the battle with you. You may not always see His hand in action as you are moving forward but I can promise that you will see His fingerprints all over the process when you look back. Trust that He is with you and knows what is going on, even when the going is tough. He WON’T leave you, no matter what!
Father God, thank You that I can trust ALL Your promises. Thank You that fulfilling those promises isn’t reliant on me. You bring Your word into reality. You fight the battles. And You empower me to fight the ones You call me to wage. I don’t have any guarantees about exactly how they will go or even what they will look like when they are over or even that there will be and “over” before my life here is over. But I trust You to be with me in each and every one. There is NOWHERE I can go that You can’t find me. You can also take my mistakes and missteps and make something good out of them. Please help me hear Your voice better every day so that I don’t make so many mistakes and missteps.
I pray that this new addition that was presented to me today is part of Your plan. Lead me where You would have me go. Bring the right resources into play for me. Guide me every step of the way. Thank You Father for this opportunity to share Your word in another avenue. Let it be a blessing to those who I already share with and not a distraction.