Aug 27 2011 - E100.23 – Joshua 1:1-18, Joshua succeeds Moses
Moses had led the Israelites for forty years. He had suffered their rebellions, he had interceded for them with God and, through his perseverance, they had been brought within sight of the Promised Land. But Moses is now dead. Joshua, his aide and apprentice must now lead the people into the Land.
Joshua had already shown his courage and faith when he and Caleb alone from the twelve who had spied out the Land urged the people to go in and possess it. The fear of the majority had resulted in forty years of wandering in the wilderness. But the time for wandering had now ceased. The time had come to enter the land.
Three times in the passage before us today, the Lord tells Joshua to be strong and courageous (vv 6, 7, 9 – and this is also echoed by the people in v. 18). Joshua is to remember that the Lord God will be with him as he was with Moses. Human leaders may come and go but God’s purpose remains the same: he will fulfil what he has promised; he will lead the people into the land he promised to Abraham.
Nevertheless, possession of all that God had promised remains conditional on the faithfulness of Joshua their leader. Only if he keeps the Law that God has given through Moses will he prosper and be successful in the task God has given to him.
We have a greater Joshua – Jesus our Saviour bears the same name. Our entrance into the inheritance God has promised us is entirely dependent upon his faithfulness. Praise God that he has proved himself to be strong and courageous. He did not turn back from the cross. He has secured an inheritance for us through his faithful obedience to all that God gave him to do. Now he calls us also to be strong and courageous, for he is with us and will never leave us.
Faithful God, thank you for your great and precious promises. Thank you for a faithful Saviour who has secured an inheritance for us through his own faithful and costly obedience. May we follow in his footsteps and echo the cry of Israel in declaring, “Whatever you have commanded we will do, and wherever you send us we will go.”