1 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, 2 “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. 3Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses. 4 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. 5 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. 6 Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 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. 8 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. 9 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.”
Observations – What Does It Say
- Moses was called a servant of the Lord
- Joshua was called a servant of Moses
- Joshua had been a servant of Moses’ from his youth., (Numbers 11:28)
- Joshua was one of the spies sent into Canaan
- Joshua was one of only two who had a positive report from the spy mission into Canaan.
- Moses had identified Joshua as his successor (Number 27:15-23, Deuteronomy 31:23-30)
- God spoke to Joshua
- God spoke to Joshua after Moses died.
- Joshua is identified as the son of Nun.
- Joshua was an experienced warrior and commander (Exodus 17)
- Joshua went part way with Moses when Moses received the law from God.
- It does not say how long after Moses death God spoke to Joshua.
- God told Joshua to cross Jordan with the people.
- God said v2 “am giving to them, to the the sons of Israel ” indicating that He was in the process of giving. But in verse 3 God says He has given it to Joshua, past tense everywhere Joshua will step future tense.
- God said since Moses was dead Joshua was to arise and cross the Jordan.
- God said he was giving the land to the sons of Israel.
- The land was from the Mediterranean Sea to the Euphrates River.
- No man will be able to resist Joshua’s army.
- God promised to be with Joshua as he was with Moses.
- God promised not to forsake Joshua.
- God promised not to fail Joshua.
- “Be strong and courageous” is repeated three times is the first nine verses. One of the these times it is be strong and very courageous
- Joshua was told he would give the land to Israelites. It was the land God had promised their forefathers.
- Joshua is warned to do all the law Moses gave
- God refers to Moses as his servant
- Joshua was told the reason to follow the law was so he will have success wherever he went.
- The book of the law was not to depart from Joshua’s mouth
- Joshua was to meditate on the book of the law all the time. (day and night)
- The reason Joshua was to mediate on the book of the law was so he would do what it said
- When Joshua did what the book of the law said he would be prosperous
- When Joshua did what the book of the law said he would be successful.
- Joshua was not to tremble or be dismayed.
- God would go with Joshua wherever Joshua went.
- God gives a reason Joshua should be confident – God would be with Joshua as He was with Moses.
- God commanded Joshua to be strong and courageous, not encouraged or suggested that he be strong and courageous but commanded it.
Interpretation – What Does it Mean?
Joshua was given his name by Moses. 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 Yashua in Greek Jesus the same as our Lord.
Joshua was a servant to Moses He had been a servant to Moses from his youth. Just as God had prepared Moses in the palace of Pharaoh and the desert for Moses’ job. So He prepared Joshua for Joshua’s assignment by being an assistant to Moses. Joshua had learned military tactics. He had learned leadership skills. He had won the respect of the people. God did not through Joshua into this task and simply say trust me. God prepared Joshua and then said trust me.
Joshua had been faithful in his task of servant-hood to Moses so now he is given a larger task of servant-hood to the entire people of Israel. Joshua did not stop being a servant. He was simple a servant in another capacity. It reminds me of the parable of the talents. Where those who were faithful were given more to be responsible for.
God repeatedly tells Joshua to be strong and courageous. 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.
Application – How does it work?
God does not throw us into a task unprepared. He prepared Moses in Pharaoh’s court and then additional training in the desert. He prepared Joshua as a military leader under the tutelage of Moses. When God gives us an assignment, we may not feel like we are prepare, but we are. But too often as Christians we rely on our feelings rather than on the facts and promises of God. Joshua was prepared by faithful 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 is responsible for the hard stuff, the results.