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.”
Not only is there a promise to pursue but there is:
- Power provided to pursue it
Verse 5 states the size and strength of this power, “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.” We are called to be courageous because of God’s conquering power that goes before us. So here is the question, ‘why would we who call ourselves Christians cower when we have God’s conquering power?’ Our courage doesn’t come from what we can do but from what He can. So what power has God displayed to His people in the past and in the present? It was His power that parted the Red sea and provided a way out of slavery so His people could be set free. It was His power that pulverized the Egyptian army as they pursued God’s people. It was His power that provided miraculous mana to sustenance His people as they wondered in the wilderness. It was His power that healed the lame and the lepers. It was His power that cast out demons and raised the dead. Our God has the power to protect, to provide, and to pulverize our enemy, but are we living in the power He provides? As the Psalmist says: “The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.” Is God the source of your power or are you striving in your own strength? Many of us are living worn out worry filled lives because we are trying instead of trusting. Instead of resting in the promise of His power we are rely on self and running ourselves ragged. Experiencing God’s power comes when we follow His plan which means letting God be the guidance. When you think of everything that God calls us to do we can only succeed in His strength. Power lies behind everything God has asked us to do. Behind every command of God is His conquering omnipotent power to help us fulfill His Word. Just as Hebrews 13:20-21 declares “Now may the God of peace— who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood— 21 may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.” Only in His power can we live profitable and pleasing lives. Not only is there a promise to pursue but His:
- Presence that we need to perceive
Not only does God promise us His power but also His presence as verse 5 says: “For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you.” When we forget His presence we forfeit His peace, because we start focusing on the problems and give way to panic. Our witness to a watching world is that the God we serve is a wimp not the warrior who won the war. Look just as God promised Joshua that He would not fail Him or forsake Him so He promises His presence to us. We read the stories of God’s powerful presence in the lives of Moses, Abraham, Joshua, Daniel, and the three Hebrews, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, in the furnace yet fail to see His faithfulness in our lives. Why do we live as if God’s presence was only for Peter, James, John, and Paul but not for all God’s people? What He did for them He will do for us. His principles have not changed which means He is still in the midst of His people giving victory. Some two thousand years after speaking to Joshua, the writer of Hebrews 13:5 quoted Joshua 1: “For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” A seminarian once shared with his grandmother that the Greek intensive form of this verse in Hebrews should be repeated three times to say, “I will not. I will not. I will not.” In his excitement, he said, “Look, Grandma, at this promise. God is saying, ‘I will not, I will not, I will not leave you nor forsake you.’” With a smile on her face, she said, “Well, for you seminarians, God may need to say it three times; but for me, once is enough.” God did not promise us partial victory He promised us His presence and victory in every area of our lives. The Bible tells us there is a principle to perceive, just as God was with Moses, so was He with Joshua and so will He be with us. But do we practice the presence of God? Do we stop to not only sit in His presence but to soak up His presence? So often the only time we pursue His presence is when we have problems, which I would suggest is why we are in the mess we are in. Are you pursuing Him because you long for His presence or because you have a long list of problems? Are you seeking the Father or just a quick fix? God wants us to do life in His power and to do that we have to live in His presence. It’s time that we stopped running ahead of Him and started resting in Him. In Exodus 33:14, God promised His presence to his people saying: 14 “I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest—everything will be fine for you.” 15 Then Moses said, “If you don’t personally go with us, don’t make us leave this place. 16 How will anyone know that you look favorably on me—on me and on your people—if you don’t go with us? For your presence among us sets your people and me apart from all other people on the earth.” What separates us from others is not our strength but His, what sets us apart is not what we know but who we know. You can’t be a witness to a watching world if you are not living in His power and presence. How present is God in your life, whose power are you relying on?