Read how God encouraged Joshua (and us) after Moses’ death to lead Israel into the Promised Land.
After Joshua was taking over for Moses who had passed away, God must have known Joshua needed encouragement, so He told Joshua, “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. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses” (Joshua 1:2-3), so God was telling Joshua that He had promised Moses that Israel would enter the land that He was giving them, so Joshua was not to worry over that since “Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses.”
Did the promise of God change with leadership of Israel?
How can God say the land has been given to them even before they enter it?
Why did God tell Joshua what he already knew, that Moses was dead?
After God tells Joshua that they would take the land, He tells Joshua, “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” (Joshua 1:5), so that must have been encouraging, because we know that God was with Moses and as it was said, he spoke to God face to face, as a man would a friend, so Moses’ intimate relationship with God would be continued with Joshua and reminded Him, “I will be with you” just like I was with Moses, and just as with Moses, “I will not leave you or forsake you.”
Do you think this encouragement speaks to you?
In what ways?
Why did God have to remind Joshua that He wouldn’t leave him or forsake him?
Didn’t he know this already?
In one of the most beloved verses in the Bible, God tells Joshua after Moses had died, to “Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them” (Joshua 1:8), so this is actually a command to be courageous and strong for the people, because if Joshua had wavered in doubt, then the people would have also doubted, because when leadership is anxious and fearful and worried, it tends to spread like a virus…fear is contagious.
Do you find things easier when you know someone who is courageous is leading an effort to do something?
How does fear spread?
What does it mean “be strong?”
Wasn’t Joshua already strong?
Once again, God repeats what is important, or He wouldn’t repeat it, so He says again to Joshua, “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” (Joshua 1:7). Notice that Joshua is reminded again to be strong and courageous but in doing so, be careful to do what God had commanded in the law by Moses. They were not to turn one foot to the left or to the right, but stay firmly in the middle of God’s will and only then will they “have good success wherever (they) go.”
What does it mean to not turn to the right hand or to the left?
What law was God referring to when mention the law that Moses commanded?
Does obeying the law have anything to do with success in the new land?
We know what God was referring to when speaking of the law that He gave Moses by telling Joshua, “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” (Joshua 1:8). There seems to be a conditional statement that God says it will be prosperous for them if they Book of the Law doesn’t depart from their mouth and they forget to meditate on it, both day and night.
How do you mediate on the law?
What does it mean that “the Law shall not depart from your mouth?”
If someone repeats something to you then it must be important. When I was learning how to drive, I had my brother (who taught me how to drive) remind me several times about looking out for traffic when pulling out. He said it no less than 3 times, so in a similar fashion, God often repeats things that are very important, and here again God tells Joshua, “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” (Joshua 1:9). For the third time in just a few sentences, God reminds Joshua that he must be courageous and not be dismayed and the reason Joshua can be strong and courageous is only because “the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” My son when he was very young was afraid of the dark, but when I was with him in his bedroom, he wasn’t afraid. Even though it was still dark in his room, he knew I was with him so he was not afraid or dismayed.
Why would God repeat the command to be strong and courageous three times?
Have you ever found yourself repeating something very important?
Does God being with you give you courage?
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also host of Spiritual Fitness and Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.