It’s tough being a new leader. There are new things to learn, new responsibilities to shoulder, and new hearts to win over.
But look at this really moving support:
– From God: “I will be with you, just as I was with Moses. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous.” (Joshua 1:5-6)
What an endorsement of support, love and assistance! It would be sweet to the soul knowing the Lord was with you.
And then the tribes east of the Jordan whose families were to stay, but their fighting men would help Israel take the land. Joshua reminds them of their commitment and they say to him:
“Everything you have commanded us we will do, and everywhere you send us we will go. We will obey you just as we obeyed Moses in everything. And may the LORD your God be with you, as He was with Moses. Anyone who rebels against your order and does not obey your words in all that you command him, will be put to death. Above all, be strong and courageous!” (v. 16-18).
Wow! Wow! Wow! Can you imagine as a new leader hearing words such as these? Words of acceptance of leadership, commitment to follow, and an admonishment to be strong and courageous. This would infuse a new leader with courage and hope to forge ahead.
And Joshua would need it. Three times the Lord tells him to be “strong and courageous.” The Lord also encouraged him not to get discouraged.
The reason the Lord was saying these kinds of things was that Joshua undoubtedly was going to need great courage, much strength of heart, and perseverance to not go to the place of discouragement when things didn’t go as planned.
He would need to remind himself that the Lord was with him wherever he went. It was a special bonus to hear words that at least the tribes east of the Jordan were supporting him as well.
There was one other admonition that the Lord gave to Joshua. He needed to meditate on the Word “day and night” not just for doing so, but “so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do” (v. 8).
This sounds exactly like Psalm 1:
Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
Without a doubt there was blessing for meditating on the Word night and day, and obeying what is in it. This has been an axiom for thousands of generations.
It reminds me of something I was asked a few years ago. A friend of mine asked how I stayed strong in the Lord (even though I don’t feel strong as there are many areas that are in dire need of growth). But she saw something and I knew the answer right away.
When I was in college we were challenged to make a commitment to read the Bible minimum 5 minutes a day every day of our life. This is so very minimal, yet it is hardly practiced.
I made that commitment in that moment. And my life has never been the same because of it.
That Electric Moment
So there it was. Joshua had the confirmation that the Lord was with him. The tribes leading the way were in full support.
It had been a long journey. Escaping out of the clutches of Egypt. Crossing the Red Sea. Being fed manna and quail for 40 years with many miracles to help them survive. And now the moment came.
They were to enter the land and take possession of it.
It was without a doubt an electrifying moment throughout all Israel. War was imminent. Hope was imminent. Joy was imminent. Every emotion of fear and joy were on the table for the masses.
After they crossed the Jordan, if God was not with them, they would be utterly, utterly destroyed. But if He gave them victory, after 40 years of wandering they would finally have a place to call…