“1 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 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. 10 Joshua then commanded the officers of Israel, 11 “Go through the camp and tell the people to get their provisions ready. In three days you will cross the Jordan River and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you.”
Not only is there a promise to pursue, power provided to pursue it, a presence we need to perceive, and a plan to participate in but there is:
- A person to prepare
It’s not just about participating in God’s plan but about letting Christ changed us in the process. God doesn’t just want to work through you He also wants to work in you. It’s here as God was preparing His people to enter the Promised Land that we discover several key truths about the life we should lead:
- Learn to make the Bible your base
Verse 6 says: “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.” Learn simply to trust and believe what God says. We often get so worked up and wrapped up over different theological debates that we lose sight of the point of what God is saying. Learn to be basic, take God at His Word, if He said it that settles it. Look Christianity is not complex it involves believing God and then acting on that belief. Our behavior reveals what we believe and while many of us say we believe God our behavior would beg to differ. Are you behaving in a way that contradicts your belief? Living a basic life simplifies things; it protects us from majoring on the minors. Not only should we learn to live a basic life but we also need to:
- Live a balanced life.
Verse 7 says “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.” How do you bring balance into your life, by filtering everything, including your feelings through the Word of God. Are you looking to and accepting God’s Word for every area of our life or just part of it. Isn’t it amazing that we will pray about an opportunity to serve Jesus but not about serving self. If we are going to live balanced lives then we have to live by the book. Only the bible can bring balance. Today we have a culture out of control because we have banned the bible. Not only should we be basic and balanced but as believers we need to:
- Lead and be bold.
Verse 9 says: “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.” God has not called us to live in fear but by faith. It’s time for Christians to stop cowering and start courageous leading. We are letting the culture set the standard for our kids and as a result we are reaping confusion. Why do we need to take the lead, because when the culture gets the reigns it always runs things to ruin. As Christians we need to lead in love which runs contrary to our culture that is leading in lust. Instead of a culture of sacrifice and serving we have become a self-seeking one. Look at our current political climate, it is one of pride and corruption not one of humility and character. As long as the church cowers to the culture there will be confusion. The current of cultural confusion has carried us to the dangerous place of living out what we want regardless of God’s Will. We are now making policies based on sexual preference not what’s safe for our kids. Anyone who disagrees is despised and degraded, but basing your beliefs on the bible doesn’t make you a bigot. It’s time for the church to rise up and boldly declare our belief in a wicked and world. God has not called us to cower and live in defeat but base our lives on the bible and be bold.
- Learn to believe
After God’s call for Joshua to be courageous Joshua then, “commanded the officers of Israel, 11 “Go through the camp and tell the people to get their provisions ready. In three days you will cross the Jordan River and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Sometimes our greatest wars come in the waiting. Waiting can be one of the greatest times of testing. In Joshua 3:5 they are told to worship and “consecrate” themselves. This word suggests separation but interestingly, it also means “shining.” When we give ourselves fully to the Lord we’re separated from selfish desires and we end up shining Jesus to those we serve. Sanctification must come before service because living right is a result of being right with God. It’s here that we learn to worship not worry in the waiting. Many of us tent to waste our times of waiting in worry. Instead of letting times of waiting connect us with Christ in meaningful worship we waste them in worry. Instead of seeing waiting as profitable we see it as a pain. Instead of resting in Him we rush into ruin. Look it’s not uncommon for God to ask His people to wait and as they did they had a growing awareness of the human impossibility of what God was calling them to do. The river wasn’t getting any lower or any slower. They knew there were giants on the other side and that they needed God. Waiting can causes us to turn and trust or to turn and try to take over. It wasn’t just that they had to wait but they were called to wait for three days which is also a common time frame in scripture:
Joshua 3:2 “After three days the officers went through the camp…”
Exodus 19:11 “Be ready by the third day, because on that day the Lord will come down.”
Esther 4:16 “When this is done [three days] I will go into the king.”
Hosea 6:2 “…on the third day He will restore us.”
Jonah 1:17 “…and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.”
These Old Testament occurrences laid the groundwork for the ultimate third day, when Jesus was raised from the dead. This is the greatest day in the history, when Christ won the war. We are third-day people and the reason God wants us to wait is because it’s in the waiting that we witness His wonder. It’s in the waiting that we get to see what only God can do. In the waiting don’t worry worship, because worship is declaring God’s worth to a watching world. God is in the business of transformation He is preparing you not only for what He is going to do through you but also in you. The question is, are you going to cooperate with Christ or complain?