Read Joshua 1
Joshua Installed as Leader
1After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.
7 “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. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; 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. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
10 So Joshua ordered the officers of the people: 11 “Go through the camp and tell the people, ‘Get your provisions ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you for your own.’”
12 But to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joshua said, 13 “Remember the command that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you after he said, ‘The Lord your God will give you rest by giving you this land.’ 14 Your wives, your children and your livestock may stay in the land that Moses gave you east of the Jordan, but all your fighting men, ready for battle, must cross over ahead of your fellow Israelites. You are to help them15 until the Lord gives them rest, as he has done for you, and until they too have taken possession of the land the Lord your God is giving them. After that, you may go back and occupy your own land, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you east of the Jordan toward the sunrise.”
16 Then they answered Joshua, “Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. 17 Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses. 18 Whoever rebels against your word and does not obey it, whatever you may command them, will be put to death. Only be strong and courageous!”
The opening chapter of the book of Joshua marks a very important moment in Israel’s history. Their one leader, Moses, who had guided them for years and years has died. The people had grown used to Moses being the one who would speak to God on their behalf. He carried the relationship with God for the rest of his people. But since he is gone, the torch has been passed from Moses to Joshua. Now Joshua has to learn how to have his own intimate relationship with God. Not only that, but he also has to figure out how to courageously follow God wherever He leads. All of Israel is looking to Joshua to maintain their relationship with God. No pressure!
One of the main lessons of this chapter is that Joshua can no longer rely on someone else’s faithfulness. Just because Moses had a deep relationship with God, does not mean that Joshua will have that same kind of relationship. Joshua has to take ownership of his own faith and find courage from God, not another human leader.
There are moments in our lives in which we feel like God is giving us the same command that he gave Joshua in this chapter: it’s time for you to stop relying on someone else’s faithfulness. Don’t wait for your pastor to teach you the Bible. Don’t wait for someone else to share the gospel with your friend. Don’t wait for your spouse to disciple your kids. Today you have the chance to take ownership of your faith. God has called you to courageously follow Him. Stop waiting on someone else to do the job that God has given you. Today, be strong and courageous and follow God!
- How do you think Joshua felt in this moment?
- What are the differences between a follower and a leader?
- Why do Christian leaders tend to fall? How can you keep that from happening in your own faith?
Did You Know?
Based on some context clues involving chronological events in Numbers, Joshua was likely in his 70s when it was time for Israel to enter the Promised Land.