From Joshua 1-4
The book of Joshua begins with the death of Moses. Moses was the LORD’s appointed leader of Israel. Now he is gone. Joshua son of Nun is the new leader.
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
1 After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, 2 “Moses my servant is dead. 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. (Jos 1:1–2)
The LORD commands him to go over the Jordan river. Moses was not allowed because he disobeyed the LORD’s command. But Joshua is allowed to cross. He will lead the people of Israel into the promised land. Its been a long time. But the LORD was still faithful to his promises to Abraham and his offspring.
He will still fulfill his covenant promises to us as his people as well.
3 Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. 4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. (Jos 1:3-4)
Entering the land would have been a sight. Like coming to your new house or car. Everything would be special. They would hold the land in higher regard than normal. All the land they trod on after passing the Jordan would carry these experiences. The LORD gave them a good portion of land.
The LORD is generous with his promises.
5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. (Jos 1:5-6)
Speaking to Joshua the LORD assures him he will be with him all the days of his life. None will be able to stand against him in battle. Remember they are about to destroy the existing inhabitants. What a comfort it is to know the LORD is with us.
The LORD gives Joshua a number of commands. Firstly he is to be strong and courageous. Joshua is about to wage war. His life is in danger and the lives of the people he leads. The expression is repeated a number of times (Jos 1.7,9,18) probably because he needs to be encouraged. We all need encouragement from time to time.
Be strong and courageous. You stand with the LORD, he will never leave you.
Joshua is to be strong and courageous because he will cause the people to inherit the land God promised them. The LORD gives credit to the upcoming deeds of Joshua.
7 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. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (Jos 1:7-8)
The LORD instructs Joshua to live according to the Law of Moses. To do everything. He is not to turn to the right or the left of the law wherever he goes. This implies it is a journey, a way of life. Like the kings, he was to meditate on the law every day and night. If he does his way will prosper. There is no record of any sin against Joshua in the book.
Continued reading and meditation of God’s words have a good effect on people.
9 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.” (Jos 1:9)
The passage ends with another reminder to be strong and courageous in face of what he is about to do.
Story of Israel
Joshua takes the promised land. There were times when Israel faltered and did not do as the LORD commanded through Joshua. But the LORD was faithful and they did take the land eventually. Joshua remains faithful to the LORD throughout.
Story of Jesus
Joshua is the Hebrew noun of which Jesus is the Greek. The meaning is close to ‘the LORD is salvation’. Like Joshua, Jesus also had to be strong and courageous. His life was full of adversity. Kings tried to kill him when he was born. When he grew up he came into conflict many times and drew fierce opposition. He knew this would lead to his own suffering and death. Yet for us and our salvation he walked the path the Father set for him.
Jesus is our role model of what it means to be strong and courageous.
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. (Heb 12:1–3)
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