Welcome to the book of Joshua. Recently we finished up reading Exodus where we saw the release of the children of Israel from captivity in Egypt. Moses received the law and is considered one of the Bible’s greatest leaders. As we will see in this book, Joshua is considered one of the Bible’s greatest military leaders. Here are some facts we’ve seen about Joshua to this point:
- Joshua was born as a slave in Egypt, about 40 years before the Exodus. He was the son of Nun, of the tribe of Ephraim (1 Chronicles 7:20,27).
- Originally named Hoshea (Numbers 13:8), meaning salvation, Moses renamed him Joshua, meaning The Lord is Salvation (Numbers 13:16).
- Joshua was an active participant in the Exodus, and was Moses’ military commander when the Israelites defeated the Amalekites in Rephidim about 2 months later (Exodus 17:8-16).
- Joshua was a close aide to Moses. He was permitted to accompany him part of the way up Mount Sinai when Moses received The Ten Commandments from God.
- Joshua was one of the twelve men sent by Moses to explore the land (Numbers 13:16-17), but only Joshua and Caleb gave an encouraging report.
- Before Moses’ death the leadership of Israel was formally transferred to Joshua (Deuteronomy 31:23).
Now, the Lord appointed Joshua leader here in chapter 1 (verses 1-2) with a promise:
3 I promise you what I promised Moses: ‘Everywhere you go, you will be on land I have given you – 4 from the Negev Desert in the south to the Lebanon mountains in the north, from the Euphrates River on the east to the Mediterranean Sea on the west, and all the land of the Hittites.’ 5 No one will be able to stand their ground 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.”
What stands out to me in this chapter is how many times God tells Joshua to ‘be strong and courageous.” Once is enough for God to mean it, but three times in rapid succession?:
6 “Be strong and courageous, for you will lead my people to possess all the land I swore to give their ancestors. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Obey all the laws Moses gave you. Do not turn away from them, and you will be successful in everything you do. 8 Study this Book of the Law continually. Meditate on it day and night so you may be sure to obey all that is written in it. Only then will you succeed. 9 I command you – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
God tells Joshua to obey the laws and medidate on the law day and night. What is the reward? “You will be successful in everything you do.” “Only then will you succeed.”
Like Joshua, God wants us to be successful. But, we need to know “the law.” For us today, God’s law is The Bible. We need to be in God’s word, studying it, applying it, obeying it. Only then will we be successful.