Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ servant, saying, “Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun will be your territory. No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. 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 success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Understanding And Applying the Text
Moses holds a special place in Israel’s history. Moses was a great leader. God chose him. God was with him. The people trusted Moses because God’s favor was on him. But now Moses was gone.
Israel needed a new leader. God had already chosen Joshua as the new ruler. God endowed Joshua with spiritual gifts.
Moses had renamed Joshua. Before Moses rename him, his name was Hoshea (Numbers 13:16). Joshua means “Jehovah is” or “Jehovah’s salvation” or “Jehovah is salvation.” In Hebrew, the name is Yahshua. In Greek, it is Jesus, the same as our Lord.
Joshua had been a servant to Moses from his youth. God had prepared Moses in the palace of Pharaoh and the desert. God prepared Joshua for Joshua’s assignment. God made Joshua Moses’ assistant so he could learn from Moses. Joshua learned military tactics. He learned leadership skills. He won the respect of the people. God did not throw Joshua into this task and simply say trust me. God prepared Joshua and then said trust me.
God uses normal means to accomplish His will.
Joshua had been faithful in his tasks as a servant to Moses. Now God gives him a more significant task—a servant to the people of Israel. Joshua did not stop being a servant. He was simply a servant in another capacity. It reminds me of the parable of the talents. The master gave those who were faithful more to be responsible for.
God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous. God repeats this. Joshua had a responsibility Joshua’s job was to be strong and courageous and follow the law. Joshua was to read the law so he could follow it. If he did not know it he could not follow it.
God asks, “Have I not commanded you?” That is don’t forget where this command comes from. This passage teaches that nothing produces confidence better than trusting God’s command.
God does not throw us into a task unprepared. He prepared Moses in Pharaoh’s court. He added more training in the desert. He prepared Joshua as a military leader under the tutelage of Moses. We see this pattern repeated in the Bible. Moses, Joshua, David, and the apostles are quick examples. When God gives us an assignment, we may not feel prepared but we are. But too often as Christians, we rely on our feelings rather than on the facts and promises of God. God prepared Joshua through service in small things, in being Moses’ assistant. Great men and women are prepared by faithfulness to the small things. Our job is to do the easy stuff, to be strong and courageous, and to obey. God handles the hard stuff, the results.