The book of Joshua spans about 17 years and covers the leadership of Joshua after Moses died. God has recorded the entrance of the Children of Israel into the Promised Land and the removal, subjugation or the destruction of the trespassers.
Joshua has some BIG shoes to fill. God has chosen him to lead this people against some intimidating foes. We must remember that God has been grooming him for this role since they left Egypt. Joshua was one of the 12 that was selected to spy out the promised land. When Joshua returned to report on the land he was strong in his conviction that God would help them take back the land (Numbers 14). Joshua also served as a strong and capable leader in battle; God told Moses and Joshua to go up against the Amalekites and they defeated them. God then had Moses write in the book of Exodus so that it would be a reminder to Joshua (Exodus 17). He was Moses minister (Exodus 24). Joshua chose to pursue leadership qualities, he was allowed into the tabernacle with Moses (Exodus 33:11). He was by Moses side for the great majority of the 40 years they wandered in the wilderness.
It is time to stop and think about Israel's situation. God had given Israel a great man and prophet to lead them out of bondage. There will never be another man like him. He was always there for them for 40 years; a great leader, one who interceded for them with their Almighty God. Moses led them through some very extreme circumstances, gave them the commandments from God, he taught the people and by God stayed the adversary from destroying them. These children have grown up knowing only Moses as their leader. Now Moses is dead. This was a tremendous shock and their grieving was great.
What a tremendous personal vacuum Moses' absence made. . . . What a tremendous shock this was to the people of Israel when they realized that this man who had led them and put up with their murmurings, bickerings, and insecurities for so many years was now gone. The man who had laid out God's guideline for their lives was dead.
Wierwille, Victor Paul, Dr. Order My Steps In Thy Word,
American Christian Press, New Knoxville, OH. 1985. 108-109.
Now Israel needs to get over their mourning and move on. Now Israel must march into the promised land and take back what God had given them in the time of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and Joseph. Now they can believe to receive and they need to believe their leader can handle it. God had Joshua picked out along time ago and the mantel was transferred to him before Moses' death. This is not something new to Joshua, he knew it was coming and accepted the responsibility. Think about it, would you?
Joshua 1:1 Now after the death of Moses
the servant of the Lord
it came to pass,
that the Lord spake unto Joshua the son of Nun,
Moses' minister, saying,
:2 Moses my servant is dead;
[hardest radical in Aramaic...
scream it out with all the emotion indicative of the situation]
now therefore arise,
go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people,
unto the land which I do give to them,
even to the children of Israel.
:3 Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon,
that have I given unto you,
as I said unto Moses.
What an exhortation to walk with God. Five senses wise it doesn't seem feasible. The children of Israel have to go in and take back a land they haven't been in for 400 years. They needed to rise up to the level of the Word. As long as they do the Word of God, it works. This same promise that God had made to every generation He makes to Joshua. If people walk faithfully God will prosper them. God is still refreshing this promise in Joshua's ears.
:4 From the wilderness
and this Lebanon
even unto the great river, the river Euphrates,
all the land of the Hittites,
and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun,
shall be your coast.
:5 There shall not any man be able to stand before thee
all the days of they life:
as I was with Moses,
so I will be with thee:
I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
:6 Be strong and of a good courage:
for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land,
which I sware unto their fathers to give them.
:7 Only be thou strong and very courageous,
that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law,
which Moses my servant commanded thee:
turn not from it to the right hand or to the left,
that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.
Only be thou strong and very courageous. Joshua really needed to hear these words. There is a lot of logistics and administering etc., but God says do His Word.
:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth;
thou shalt meditate therein day and night,
that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein:
for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous,
and then thou shalt have good success.
God tells Joshua to meditate day and night; think about the Word, speak the Word, make all decisions in light of the Word, bring his thoughts back to the Word--then his way will be prosperous.
:9 Have not I commanded thee?
Be strong and of a good courage;
be not afraid,
neither be thou dismayed:
for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
Do not be dismayed or afraid - why? Because Joshua is so good? No! Because God is with him. God is coaching Joshua.
:10 Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying,
:11 Pass through the host, and command the people, saying,
Prepare you victuals;
for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan,
to go in to possess the land,
which the Lord your God giveth you to possess it.
Finally they are going to enter into the Promised Land and see God's great abundance as they expand to occupy the richest area of land in the region-a land that flows with milk and honey.
The following is another excerpt from Order My Steps In Thy Word by Dr. V.P. Wierwille:
God said to Joshua, in verse 2, "You get the people ready and walk them into the land that I am giving you." Well, if God gives something, who do you think is going to take it away? If God said to march into the Promised Land, then those who obeyed were going to be landholders. Who do you think was going to stop them? I tell you, even the most precisely aimed artillery couldn't have hit one of them.
No matter how great the enemy, no matter what the obstacle, when God has given the command to go, you must move. So long as you and I live according to the greatness of God's Word, all the enemies and all the obstacles of the world can't stop us because God's Word is powerful and effective and lasts forever!
The Word of the Lord came and Joshua was able to take over when Moses' life ended. From a senses point of view, it would seem impossible to step into the position just held by Moses. But God always has and always will make available the power, the knowledge, and the ability to carry out a given responsibility.
God told Joshua to arise. He didn't tell him to sit and mourn for another six months to lament the fact that Moses was dead. Whenever a person-including a man of God-dies, life for the living doesn't stop. The things of God must go on; therefore, the message would be the same today as it was to Joshua, "Arise, get on the move, and over come whatever hurdle there is in front of you." (pages 121, 122)
For the Glory of God and Accuracy of His Word
by Yvonne McChesney published on Pictures Of Silver at www.picturesofsilver.com.