Today’s reading: Joshua 1-6
In many ways, Moses was a mentor for Joshua. Joshua served faithfully under the leadership of Moses and Moses took the time to teach him along the way. Moses would not be entering the Promised Land but God allowed him to be a part by investing in the future of His people – by training his successor. It was kind of like an apprenticeship or internship. God had instructed Moses: “But commission Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he will lead this people across and will cause them to inherit the land that you will see.” (Deuteronomy 3:28)
Moses was now gone and Joshua heard from God firsthand, making it clear that this was his God-appointed moment – that God had called him and would be with him.
“…the time has come for you to lead…I promise you what I promised Moses: ‘Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you…No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you.
“Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people…Be strong and VERY courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command – be strong and very courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:2-9
That last verse is one of my daughter’s favorite verses. She learned it at a very young age, while participating in children’s Bible quizzing. She has spoken that verse out loud many times to remind her of God’s command. She has written it on her mirror and even sang the song she learned in quizzing – “Have I not commanded you, be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified. Don’t be discouraged. For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
My daughter is a risk taker in so many ways, loving the idea of adventure and fun, but she also has to overcome anxiety and fear. I think we can all relate to those moments when you want to follow God with all your heart but it takes overcoming fear to really embrace your faith. I am guessing Joshua knows a lot about this battle between fear and faith.
Joshua was commissioned by God with very specific instructions:
1. Be strong and courageous, I am with you
2. Be obedient
FAITH AND FEAR cannot coexist. God wanted Joshua’s attention and his focus. He wanted him to study and be familiar with God’s law and listen obediently to God for his every move. Joshua’s success was dependent on this.
Joshua’s faith and obedience were tested in the first city they came to. God told Joshua – you have never been this way before, SO FOLLOW ME for tomorrow I will do AMAZING things among you (3:3-5).
The Lord told Joshua, “Today I will begin to make you a great leader in the eyes of the Israelites. They will know that I am with you, just as I was with Moses. Give this command to the priests who carry the Ark of the Covenant: ‘When you reach the banks of the Jordan River, take a few steps into the river and stop there.’” – Joshua 3:7-8
The Jordan River was at flood stage and, in order to follow God, Joshua had to cross the Jordan. FEAR OR FAITH? God gave Joshua very clear instructions and told him to obey with strength and courage. They were to step into the rushing waters with confidence in the Lord. It wasn’t until their feet touched the Jordan that the river parted and dry ground appeared in front of them. They chose faith and not fear, and experienced many AMAZING things just as God had promised (Joshua 3:15-17).
Jericho was “tightly shut up” and God gave Joshua specific instructions. They were to march around the town once a day for six days. God’s people were told to not say a word until they were given the instruction. This was not a sneak attack but rather a 6-day display in front of their enemies. FEAR OR FAITH? They chose to be patient and obey, and they experienced AMAZING things (6:2-20). On the seventh day, they marched around the town seven times with the priests blowing the horns. When they gave one final long blast, all the people began to shout as loud as they could, just as the Lord had instructed Joshua.
Suddenly the walls of Jericho collapsed, and the Israelites charged straight into the town and captured it. – Joshua 6:20b
Do you want to see God do AMAZING things in your life as much as I do? We have a choice – FEAR OR FAITH. What will it be? When moments appear today that are obviously God-ordained appointments, let’s step forward in faith and obedience. Let’s be strong and VERY courageous!