Many times in my life God has asked me to do things that seemed far beyond my abilities. In those moments, I felt overwhelmed, ill-equipped, and unqualified. That’s why I find so much comfort in the story of Joshua.
Let’s stop and consider the scene as it unfolds before us. Moses had just died and Joshua is stepping into his new role as Israel’s leader. He has been asked to prepare the people to cross the Jordan River into the land God had promised Abraham. Up until this point, the children of Israel had no land to call their own–they had lived as slaves for four hundred years, and after they had been delivered from slavery, they had wandered around the desert for forty years. At this point in time, it seemed as though God would not make good on His promises to them. However, here in the beginning of Joshua’s story, we see God making good on these promises.
“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them.” Joshua 1:6
Put yourself in Joshua’s shoes. Imagine how he was feeling when he was asked to take Moses’ place.
Inadequate? Ill-equipped? Unprepared?
At first glance, it would seem as though Joshua was not ready for such a humongous task. This doesn’t even come close to the truth. In fact, it is quite the opposite. As we continue to read, we discover God did not ask Joshua to assume leadership of Israel and then leave him to figure things out on his own.
“…Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
What do we learn?
1. Joshua was already equipped for the job. Joshua had spent years training and serving under Moses, a man who loved God with all his heart and who walked in faithful obedience to God’s call. Joshua’s life experiences and wilderness wanderings equipped him to accomplish the task before him. He already knew what it would take to complete his mission successfully because he had already seen the victories, blessings, and favor that followed Moses.
2. The land already belonged to Israel. Deuteronomy 1:6-8, 31:6-8
“…Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their forefathers to give them…” Deuteronomy 31:7
He needed only to lead Israel in to take possession of it.
3. Joshua was commissioned for the task. Before his death, Moses summoned Joshua and commissioned him in the presence of all of Israel. He was told to be “strong and courageous” and he was told to “go with the people into the land”. In this first chapter, God commands Joshua to “be bold and courageous”– three times!
God gave Joshua a blueprint.
God gave Joshua a command to be bold and courageous, but He didn’t expect him to be able to obey in his own strength. Instead, He outlined a blueprint for spiritual boldness and courage.
- Understand and obey the Law (Joshua 1:7): This means Joshua was to read the Law completely; he was to study it, know it, speak it.
- Meditate on the Law (Joshua 1:8): Meditating on the Law goes beyond just knowing and understanding it. It means digesting it and allowing it to sink down into the marrow of your bones. Meditation involves the constant application of the Word through remembrance and reflective thinking.
- Do not be afraid or discouraged (Joshua 1:9): God promised to be with Joshua and the people of Israel wherever they went; He promised to give them every place where they would set their feet. God’s presence would follow them even to a land filled with evil men. God would show Himself as Jehovah Shammah (The Lord is There), Jehovah Nissi (The Lord My Banner), and Jehovah Sabaoth (The Lord of Hosts). He would defend and deliver them.
The next time God asks you to do something, grab a hold of God’s words to Joshua, and remember He will “… equip you with every good thing to carry out His will and strengthen you [making you complete and perfect as you ought to be], accomplishing in you that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ…” (Hebrews 13:21)
Please feel free to leave comments or questions below. I would love chatting with you.