For years Joshua followed and assisted Moses. Under the tutelage of the great "servant of the LORD", Joshua learned to be a servant-leader, a man of God, and a mighty warrior. In the presence of all Israel Moses had laid hands on Joshua, commissioning him and confirming to the children of Israel that Joshua would be their new leader (Deuteronomy 34:9). With the passing of Moses it was time for Joshua to move from assistant to leader, from learner to teacher; the mantle was being passed from one generation to the next.
“Now, " God said to Joshua-not tomorrow, or the next day, or next month- "Now, therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them-the children of Israel." (Joshua 1:2b)
There was no time to turn back, no time to question God's command, no time to read books on leading people into the Promised Land; the time was now for Joshua to take brave steps in leading the Israelites into their land of abundant living. "Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses." (Joshua 1:3) God had promised this land to Moses (Deuteronomy 11:24) as well as to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Genesis 12:7; 15:18-21; 17:8; 26:3; 28:13; 35:12) and now Joshua would lead the children of Israel to take possession of what was already theirs.
He was faced with a mammoth task: lead this crazy bunch of grumbling people who'd been wandering around the desert for 40 years into a new land, convince them that going to war against the people of the land was in their best interest; then, conqueror and settle the land. I'm sure hearing God say, "as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage…" (Joshua 1:5b-6a) settled those dancing butterflies in the pit of his stomach. Joshua had seen God provide, he'd seen God work for His people, he'd seen God lead and guide Moses through those tough, trying times; he knew God was great and God was big and God was going to do what He'd promised long ago to do.
"Only be strong and very courageous," it bore repeating. A command to shore up one's mind and place fear aside; a command to be physically and mentally alert, firmly planted in the Word. "Observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. The Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe 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." (Joshua 1:7-8) The Book of the Law, the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament; those books were Joshua's lifeline, they were his life bread. "Meditate in it," God said. Linger over these Words. Ingest them. Digest them. Speak them aloud. Never depart from their teaching. Live them out all the days of your life.
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." Three times in nine verses God says "be strong and of good courage." God knew so much more than Joshua did. He knew what Joshua would come against. He knew the brave steps that would need to be taken, the swords that would need to be drawn, the walls that would need to fall. And He knew human nature was (and still is) to crouch in the face of fear. I wonder if the voice of God thundered, "DO NOT FEAR. BE STRONG. BE COURAGEOUS. I AM WITH YOU WHEREVER YOU GO."
Joshua gathered together the officers and commanded them to pass through the camp telling the people to "prepare" because in three days they would be crossing over the Jordan. Preparation for any journey is very important. But, this wasn't just any journey. This was a crossing over from their old way of life into a new life of abundant living. This was a crossing over from all that they had ever known into a land that they had yet to become acquainted with. This was a crossing over that would require a new mindset; a leaving behind of what used to be into what would be. "Prepare provisions for yourselves…to go in to possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you to possess." (Joshua 1:11)
The Reubenites, the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh, even though they'd settled in the land East of the Jordan, would help all Israel cross over and conqueror the Promised Land. They promised to fight with the rest of Israel in the conquest of the Promised Land (Numbers 32) and Joshua reminded them of this promise. "All that you command us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we heeded Moses in all things, so we will heed you. Only the LORD your God be with you, as He was with Moses." (Joshua 1:16-17)
As we close out Joshua 1, we find that Joshua was encouraged. The people were preparing. And the Reubenites, the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh were ready to fulfill the promise they'd made.
Today, may I encourage you to read through these application questions and consider sharing with us in the comments section what God is speaking to you? If you'd rather not share, please feel free to email me at [email protected] I'd love to connect with you, pray with you, walk with you, answer any questions you might have, and encourage you any way that I can.
~What is God asking you to do right NOW? What BRAVE steps are you being commanded to take?
~What have you seen God do in the past? How have you seen Him work in your life or in the lives of others? How does that encourage you?
~What fears grip your mind? Are you firmly planted in the Word? Are you meditating in the Word? Ingesting and digesting Truths? Are you speaking God’s Word over your life and the lives of others?
~What do you fear? Are you willing to follow God into your fears and defeat them?
~God is asking each of us to cross our own Jordan River’s into lands of abundant living. But, in order to cross over we must prepare ourselves for what’s to come. Gather your provisions, shore up your minds, and meditate in the Word because this crossing over isn’t going to be easy. It will require that we rid ourselves of bad habits, possibly put an end to unhealthy relationships, leave behind what’s comfortable and familiar, face fears head-on, and take brave steps. Are you ready? Are you preparing yourself for what’s to come?
~Are you willing to help others cross over, and fight for their land of abundant living?
Downloads for Taking BRAVE Steps into Abundant Living: a study of Joshua, week 2
Find Taking BRAVE Steps into Abundant Living- week 1 here.
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