“After the death of Moses the Lord’s servant, the Lord spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant. He said, 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Therefore, the time has come for you to lead these people, the Israelites, across the Jordan River into the land I am giving them. 3 I promise you what I promised Moses: ‘Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you— 4 from the Negev wilderness in the south to the Lebanon mountains in the north, from the Euphrates River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea[a] in the west, including all the land of the Hittites.’ 5 No one will be able to stand 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.6 “Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. 8 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. 9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua was called to be courageous because there was a:
- Promise to Pursue
It’s here that God calls Joshua to lead the people to pursue His promise, “I promise you what I promised Moses: ‘Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you.” God doesn’t just voice the victory He calls us to walk in the victory. His plan involves the promise of victory, but we have to stop living in fear and take a step of faith, “Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses.” All Joshua had to do was go out and possess the promise. Just like Joshua we too must step out in faith and received the possessions God says are rightfully ours. In John 19:30 while Jesus was on the cross of Calvary He said, “It is finished”. When He died the Devil rejoiced because he thought that he had won, but what seemed like doomsday was actually deliverance day. Jesus had just paid the price for our sin, purchasing our deliverance. The devil was defeated, death was destroyed and we were delivered. But the devil wants us to live in the defeat not the deliverance, he wants us to wonder aimlessly in the wilderness instead of coming into Canaan. God’s plan involves us participating and partaking in the fruit of faith not living in the failure and fear. Because of Christ’s conquering victory on the cross we do not have to pray for victory we can pray from victory. God was calling His children to possess the promise of release, rest, and refreshment, by putting their foot down in faith. Are you going to pursue God’s promises or be paralyzed by fear? Not only did God call Joshua to walk in victory but He reminded him of the width of victory: 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.” As Joshua stood there receiving his instruction from the Almighty he had to be awed. No matter how far he looked in every direction God declared that he would walk in victory, “3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates–all the Hittite country–to the Great Sea on the west. 5 No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life”. If you take the time to stop and think about it this is also what God declares to every believer. Christ has secured the victory for us and by faith we are called to claim it. The incredible expanse of the Christian life that God gives, the entire vista is ours. The whole Christian walk can be compared to the book of Joshua. Verses 3 and 4 talk about both the desert and the great river. As we walk with the Lord, and grow in grace we are going to experience some groaning dry desert places as well as the deep water. And if He mentions in verse five that no one can stand against you, you can be guaranteed that there will be those who are going to try. As believers we also will have to fight battles but we can be assured that Christ has won the victory. While we stand confident in our salvation in Christ, we still have to deal with the conflict. Sometimes that conflict is a small skirmish, other times it’s a full blown battle. From the moment of conversion when we first believe, we have Christ’s promises of peace and the reassurance of rest for our souls. We can claim all the promises that our new found faith confers. We have the promise of God’s presence and peace, that He will never leave or forsake us, that He gives us peace that passes understanding. While we are a new creation, forgiven and free it is also at our conversion that the battle between the flesh and the spirit begins. God loves us, which means that He loves us enough not to let us stay the way we are. There is much to be conquered, our tongues, our thoughts, our anger, our pride, our lust, our idols. Sometimes those battles are brutal as God’s word convicts us of sin, and we come confessing, and repenting of our rebellion. Purification can be a painful process and one we may be tempted to try and avoid but one that is key to our growth and fruit. As John 15:2 says: “He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.” While pruning is painful and we tend to not see it as favorable it is fruitful. We are at war with wickedness and we cannot afford to become complacent in combat. We must give no quarter to sin, we need to trust and obey because God is the One who gives us the victory. He that begins the good work will complete it. God said their possession was all they could see from the north, south, east, and west, there is no limit to the victory God planned for His people. There is a story told about a cold and hungry old man who walked into a music store asking the owner if he would give him a few dollars for his violin so he could buy something to eat. The owner gave the man five dollars for the violin. After lighting a candle and studying the violin, he saw the words, “Antonio Stradivari” and realized he had possession of a violin of great value one that would later sell for millions of dollars. Here was this penniless man on the verge of starvation who did not realize he held a priceless possession in his hands. How often do we walk around living paupers, while in our hands we are holding God’s promises? We end up living on the brink of starvation instead of experiencing the joys of salvation. God did not plan for us to go from salvation to stagnation, it’s time to stop living in the fear and step out in faith. What about you, are you going to living in the limits or in the vast victory that the Lord has planned and paid for?