Month: February 2022

Be Strong and of Good Courage (Joshua 1:9) (Part 2)

4. The Promise

We can be strong and courageous because God keeps His Promise, and He will bring it to pass. Joshua can “be strong and of good courage” because God keeps His Promise and He will bring it to pass – Joshua 1:6 “Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers (patriarch) to give them.” For Israel, the Promised Land is not just God’s Promise, but their Inheritance. God has promised to the Patriarch (“fathers”) the Promised Land (Canaan-Land Genesis 15:18-21) and Joshua is “to be strong and of good courage” to cause the people of Israel to enter in and take possess and divide the Land as the Israelites’ Inheritance. The word land is mentioned 87 time in the Book of Joshua, because this Book is the record of Israel’s entering, conquering and taking possession of the Promised Land. God has promised to give the Land to Abraham (Genesis 15:18-21). God reaffirmed the Promise to Isaac (Genesis 26:1-5); to Jacob (Genesis 28:4, 13, 15; 35:12) and their Descendants (Genesis 50:24). There are two different tenses of the word give that are used by God as promised to Joshua (Joshua 1:2-3):

  • Legal – In Genesis 15:18-21, the Land is promised to Abraham and his Descendants – In Joshua 1:2, God affirms (present tense) to Israel the Land, “The Land which I am giving to them.” In Joshua 1:3, the Promise of the Land is spoken in the present perfect tense, an accomplished fact – “Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you.”  From this moment onward, the entire Land legally belonged to the Israelites, but they still have to appropriate it.
  • ExperientialJoshua 1:3 “Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you.” The Promised Land becomes theirs, experientially, when they put the soles of their feet on every area of the Land.

Thus, there is a difference between legal possession and actual (experiential) possession; the Israelites need to appropriate the Land and claim possession by putting the soles of their feet on the Land. Israel has received the entire Promised Land legally from Joshua 1:3 onward, but they have to inherit it by putting the soles of their feet on every area of the Land, through conquests.

We have all of God’s Promises (2Corinthians 1:20), but we need to appropriate (“put the soles of our feet”) on these Promises of God through the “rhema-Word” of God’s Spirit (Romans 10:17), after we have received the “rhema-Word” from God’s Spirit, we need to set our face like flint (Isaiah 50:7) and begins to declare (John 22:28) and act on them (faith-determination – Hebrews 11:1). Thus, it is important to understand that we have God’s Promises (2Corinthians 1:20), legally, but we need to inherit these Promises, experientially; these two (legal & experience) are very important basic principles.

5. Perspectives

We, who have received God’s “rhema-Word” (Romans 10:17), are to be strong and courageous to live out that “rhema-Word” in the face of fear, doubt, discouragement, and battles; thus, it is more than receiving the “rhema-Word” but having the courage to live it out. God’s Promise will be done in God’s ways in God’s time. Joshua was to be strong and very courageous as God has given His Promise and he (Joshua) was to live out that “Rhema-Word” in the face of fear, doubt, discouragement and battles – Joshua 1:7-8 (NKJV) “Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have good success.” Moses had led the children of Israel out of Egypt, the Land of Bondage. The First Generation of Israel died in the Wilderness because of disobedient (Numbers chapters 13 & 14). Joshua was given the responsibility to lead the New Generation of the children of Israel into the Promise Land. God’s assurance came to him (Joshua) after the death of Moses and before the Conquest of the Promised Land.

6. God’s Presence

God promised His Presence to go with us, thus, we need to learn to work from a position of God’s RestExodus 33:14 (NKJV) “And He (God) said, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Joshua was to be strong and to be of good courage because of God’s Commission and God’s Presence – Joshua 1:9 (NKJV) “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

  • God’s Commission – “Have I not commanded you?”
  • God’s Presence – “For the Lord God is with you wherever you go.”
  • God’s Command of “boldness and courage” – “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage.”

God’s Commission and His Presence are God’s Enablement. In the years to come, whenever Joshua faced an Enemy and was tempted to be “afraid,” he was to remember that he was the Leader who has the Divine (God’s) Commission and carried the Divine (God’s) Presence, which is Divine (God’s) RestExodus 33:14 “And He (God) said, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Whenever things go wrong and Joshua is tempted to “be dismayed,” he needs to recall God’s Command – and take new courage, learn to work from the position of God’s REST.

7. People

God will bring people alongside us to co-labor with us and we need to recognize, accept, and appreciate the people that work-alongside us, drawing strength from one another.  God moved the people to support and encouraged Joshua – Joshua 1:16-18 (NKJV) “So they answered Joshua, saying, ‘all that you command us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we heeded Moses in all things, so we will heed you. Only the LORD your God be with you, as He was with Moses. Whoever rebels against your command and does not heed your words, in all that you command him, shall be put to death. Only be strong and of good courage.” As God did to Saul when he (Saul) was anointed as King over Israel – God’s provided him (Saul) with valiant men whose hearts God has touched – 1Samuel 10:26b (NKJV) “And valiant men went with him, whose hearts God had touched.” To begin with the Leaders of Israel encouraged Joshua by assuring him (Joshua) of their complete obedience (Joshua 1:16-17a) – “Command us and we will obey! Send us and we will go!”  The Leaders of Israel have no hidden agendas, with no concessions to ask; total commitment to Joshua’s Leadership, “by assuring him (Joshua) that their obedience is a matter of life or death” (Joshua 1:18).  The Leaders of Israel encouraged Joshua to “be strong and to be courageous” (Joshua 1:18); by reminding him (Joshua) of Moses word of “be of good courage,” when he (Moses) sent him (Joshua) and the other men into Canaan to spy out the Land (Numbers 13:20); Moses also repeated the words when he (Moses) commissioned Joshua as his (Moses’) Successor (Deuteronomy 31:7, 23). These words of encouragement to “boldness and courage” were written in the Book of the Law, and Joshua was commanded to read that Book and meditate on it day and night (Joshua 1:8).

Four times in Joshua chapter one, the words “be strong and of good courage” are spoken (Joshua 1:6-7, 9, 18). The first step toward winning the battle and entering into our Inheritance is to let God encourages us (Joshua 1:6, 7, 9) – “See the Lord your God has given you the land. Go up and take possession of it as the LORD your God of your fathers, told you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 1:21, NIV); and the Leaders to encourage us (Joshua 1:18); and then for us to encourage others.

Be Strong and of Good Courage (Joshua 1:9) (Part 1)

The Statement

God has promised to Abraham and his Descendants (Isaac, Jacob, and Israel) the land from the Rive of Egypt to the River Euphrates, as their inheritance (Genesis 15:18-21). The Book of Deuteronomy lays the basic principles for entering into and remaining in their inheritance. The Book of Joshua describes the actual experience of the children of Israel as they applied these principles and entered their Inheritance.

Life consists of “changes” (transitions) which are challenging but with many unknowns – “fear, doubt, hope, etc.” The way an Individual trek through these “changes” matter because the Individual perspective determines how or where he ends up.  In the change (transition) of Leadership in the Nation of Israel from Moses to Joshua, God gives the Sevenfold Encouragement of “be strong and of good courage:”

  1. God’s Past Faithfulness

Remember God’s faithfulness in the past, He has seen us through before, He will see us through again. God is in all our situations. The transition of Leadership from Moses to Joshua was about to take place and he (Moses) reminded the people of Israel of God’s past faithfulness, encouraging them “to be strong and of good courage” (Deuteronomy 31:6) – Israel experienced victories in the past, on the east side of the Jordan, when Israel defeated Sihon and Og, destroying the Canaanite Nations; God assurance to Israel that the Nation will again experience victories, in the future, when the Nation crosses over Jordan under the Leadership of Joshua. – Deuteronomy 31:3-6 (NKJV) “The LORD your God Himself crosses over before you; He will destroy these nations from before you, and you shall dispossess them. Joshua himself crosses over before you, just as the LORD has said. And the LORD will do to them as He did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites and their land, when He destroyed them. The LORD will give them over to you, that you may do to them according to every commandment which I have commanded you. Be strong and of good courage, do not fear not be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”  

2. God’s Purpose

An Individual’s obedience will impact others; and his faithfulness to God’s assignment is for the benefit of others – “heart towards God and hands towards people.”  Joshua was to understand God’s purpose and “to be strong and of good courage” to lead the people of Israel into their Inheritance of the Promised Land, promised to the Patriarch (“fathers”) – Deuteronomy 31:7-8 “Then Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, ‘be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the LORD has sworn to their fathers to give them and you shall cause them to inherit it.’”

3. Personal Word

We should write-down God’s personal word to us; this will serve as a reminder of encouragement during difficult and discouraging times when doubt and fear set in. God gave through Moses His Personally Word to Joshua – Deuteronomy 31:22-23 “Therefore Moses wrote this song the same day and taught it to the children of Israel. Then he (Moses) inaugurated Joshua the son of Nun, and said, ‘be strong and of good courage;’ for you shall bring the children of Israel into the land of which I sworn to them, and I will be with you.”

We should write-down God’s personal word to us; this will serve as a reminder of encouragement during difficult and discouraging times when doubt and fear set in. God gave through Moses His Personally Word to Joshua – Deuteronomy 31:22-23 “Therefore Moses wrote this song the same day and taught it to the children of Israel. Then he (Moses) inaugurated Joshua the son of Nun, and said, ‘be strong and of good courage;’ for you shall bring the children of Israel into the land of which I sworn to them, and I will be with you.”

  • The Character of God (Deuteronomy 32:1-4).
  • The Kindness of God to His people, Israel (Deuteronomy 32:5-14).
  • The Faithfulness of God to His people, Israel (Deuteronomy 32:15-25).
  • The Vengeance of God against His Adversaries (Deuteronomy 32:26-43).

The Song Traces God’s dealings with Israel and is a concise review of the Nation’s (Israel’s) History, from their Wilderness sojourn to the judgements in the end times. It is both Historic and Prophetic in the Revelation.

To be continued….. Stay Tuned

Joshua’ Life & Exploits (Part 12)

Concerned about the Future

7. Succession Process

“There is no Success without a Successor” – Joshua remained submissive to the Divine chain of care.  He never once attempted to displace Moses’ Leadership, even when Moses had grown old and could no longer do what Joshua could do.  Joshua waited until his time come, just as David waited for King Saul to leave the scene.  Saul was killed in battle (1Samuel 31) and then the Elders of Israel came to Anoint David, King over the united Israel (2Samuel 5:3; 1Chronicles 11:3).

Secondly, Joshua learned to be strong and courageous in his own style of Leadership. At the onset on the Book of Joshua, God commands Joshua to take courage. “Moses my Servant is dead” (Joshua 1:1-2), God says to him, “Now therefore, arise and go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them – the children of Israel” (Joshua 1:2).  Joshua was the Military Leader, different from Moses’ Diplomatic or Reform Leadership Style, so, Joshua has to decide not to imitate Moses’ Style, but to be himself.  The timing could not have been more perfect.  Joshua entered Leadership in the Season when Israel needed Military Leadership, not Diplomatic Leadership.

8. Joshua’s Lesson

The Practical Lesson of the Book of Joshua is that God keeps His Promises and enables His Servant to be Successful if His Servant trust Him and obey His Word. Also, the lesson is that God has a rich Inheritance for His Children now, and they can claim it by faith. This lesson is amplified in the Book of Joshua, especially chapters 3 and 4. We have seen that, when it comes to the things of the LORD, there are several kinds of People in this world:

  • Many People are still in World and need to walk in faith of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Others have trusted Christ and been delivered from bondage but are wandering in the wilderness of unbelief because they would not enter their Inheritance by Faith.
  • Still others have “sampled” the Inheritance but prefer to live on the borders of the blessing (the two-half tribes of Israel, on the East bank of Jordan – Reuben, Gad, and half-tribe of Manasseh).
  • Finally, there are those who follow their Joshua (Jesus = “Jehovah is Salvation”) and enter the Promised Land and claim their Inheritance.

Remember, Crossing the Jordan River and Entering the Land is the picture of dying to self and the old life and entering our spiritual inheritance here and now, enjoying the fullness of God’s blessing as we serve the LORD and Glorify Him. It is what Hebrews 4 and 5 call “entering into His (God’s) Rest.” The greatest need in the Church today is for God’s People to see how much they are missing by wandering in unbelief, or by living on the borderline of the blessing, and then to claim God’s Promises and enter our spiritual Inheritance. We are a deprived People because we have failed to claim our spiritual riches; and we are a defeated people because we have failed to trust our Joshua (Jesus) to lead us on to victory. Too many of us are like Achan, stealing from God, when we ought to be like Caleb, claiming the mountains and overcoming the giants.

9. Joshua’s God

The LORD, not Joshua is the key Person in the Book of Joshua. As we read the Book of Joshua, we discover many wonderful truths about God. To begin with, He is the God of His People, Israel, the God of the Covenant that He made with Israel through Abraham and confirmed in Isaac and Jacob and Israel (Psalm 105:8-15; 1Chronicles 16:15-22) and executed by Moses. Though Moses is dead, the Living God is still at work in and through His Chosen People, Israel. When Joshua commanded the People, he often call God “the LORD your God.” Israel belongs to Him.

  • But God is also “the LORD of all the earth” (Joshua 3:11). While He has a special relationship with Israel, He established that relationship to bring His blessing to all the Nations (Genesis 12:1-3). The Nations in Canaan Land heard about what God had done for Israel, and they were afraid (Joshua 2:10-11); for none of their gods had ever done such mighty deeds.
  • The LORD is the God who keeps His Promises. He has promised the fathers (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) of the Jewish Nation that He would give them their Land, and He kept His Promise (Psalm 105:8-15; 1Chronicles 16:15-22).
  • The LORD has promised Moses that Israel would drive out the Nations in Canaan Land and defeat them, and He kept that Promise too. At the close of his life, Joshua was able to say to his People that not one thing had failed of all the good things that the LORD their God spoke concerning them – Joshua 23:14 (NKJV) “Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth. And you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing which the LORD your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed.”
  • The LORD is the Holy God, who will not tolerate sin. When Achan disobeyed, the ban that God has put on Jericho, God withdrew His Protection. The Army of Israel was defeated at Ai, and they could not expect victory until Joshua dealt with the sin in the Camp. But He is also the Forgiving God who cleanses us when we confess our sins (1John 1:9), and then gives us another opportunity for victory.
  • The LORD is a God who requires on the part of His People – before Israel could enter the Land, they had to submit to the requirements that God had laid down; for they were His Covenant People. The LORD told Joshua that the Secret of his Success would be Faith and Obedience to God’s Word. God had the Plan for the Conquest of the Land; all Joshua had to do was obey that Plan.
  • The LORD is the God who never fails! We may fail Him, but He will never fail us. “When God ordains our Service,” wrote J.Oswald Sanders, “He is morally obligated to see us through” (Robust in Faith, p.72).

Summary: Joshua: Picture of the Faithful Leader

Joshua provides the good example of the Leader whose Faithfulness prompted God to raise him up. Over the three divisions of his life (40years in Egypt; 40 years in the Wilderness; 30 years in Canaan), God gradually moved this trustworthy man into Leadership. The Signs of Joshua’s Faithfulness:

  1. Obedience – Exodus 17:18-16; Numbers 32:10-12.
  2. Servanthood – Exodus 23:13; Joshua 11:15.
  3. Loyalty – Exodus 33:11; Numbers 11:24-30.
  4. Courage – Numbers 13:8, 16, 25-30; 14:5-10.
  5. Promotion – Numbers 27:15-23; Deuteronomy 34:9
  6. Responsibility – Deuteronomy 31:7,8.
  7. Power – Deuteronomy 34:9.
  8. Credibility – Deuteronomy34:9.

Joshua’s Faithfulness challenges us even today to lead as he did – Joshua spied out the same Land at the same time as the other ten Spies, but he and Caleb returned with a different report (Numbers chapters 13 & 14).  Joshua lived ahead of his time (Numbers 13 & 14). Joshua faced several challenges: He followed Moses in the Wilderness Journey; he has to cross the Jordan River at the time of the flood (Joshua 3:15) – Joshua had to conquer mighty Jericho. When Israel began to make progress in taking the Promised Land, some disobeyed God and brought defeat on the Nation, Joshua overcame it all – the defeat at Ai (Joshua 7) and the compromise with the Gibeonites (Joshua 9). Joshua’s dream, his determination, and his ability to develop his Leadership skills enabled him to soar beyond his own Personal Gifts (Joshua 23 & 24).

Joshua’ Life & Exploits (Part 11)

Concerned about the Future

3. Israel’s Present Responsibilities (Joshua 24:14 – 28)

One of the key words in this section is serve, used fifteen times. To serve God means to fear Him, obey Him, and worship Him only. It means to love Him and fix our heart upon Him, obeying Him because we want to and not because we have to:

  • Israel has to make their decision (Joshua 24:14-18) whether they would Worship and Serve the LORD.
  • Personal devotion was required (Joshua 24:19-28).

4. The Good Land

Three times in this brief address Joshua called the Promised Land (Canaan) “this Good Land” (Joshua 23:13,15-16):

  • When God called Moses at the Burning Bush, He promised to take Israel into “the Good Land” (Exodus 3:8).
  • Joshua and Caleb described the Promised Land (Canaan) as “the Good Land” after forty days of investigation (Numbers 14:7).
  • In his farewell message Moses used the phrase “the Good Land” at least ten times (Deuteronomy 1:25,35; 3:25; 4:21-22; 6:18; 8:7,10; 9:6; 11:17). The argument is obvious: Since God has given them such “the Good Land,” the least they could do is live to please Him.

Meditating on the Goodness (God’s Glory – Exodus 33:18-19) of the LORD is a strong motivation for obedience. James connects the Goodness of God with our resisting of temptation (James 1:13-17), and Nathan took the same approach when he confronted King David with his sins (2Samuel 12:1-15). It was not his own badness but his father’s goodness that brought the prodigal son to repentance and then back home (Luke 15:17). “The goodness of God leads us to repentance” (Romans 2:4, NKJV). The danger is that the material blessings from the LORD can so possess our hearts that we focus on the Gifts and forget the Giver, and this leads to sin (Deuteronomy 8).

5. Summary

Joshua’s three Admonitions in this Address need to be heeded by God’s People today:

  • Keep God’s Word (Joshua 23:6).
  • Cleave to the LORD (Joshua 23:8).
  • Love the LORD (Joshua 23:11).

Too many Christians have not only compromised with the world but also have capitulated to the world, and the Lord Jesus is not first in their lives. People who think only what they can get today are only Opportunists and are not Leaders with the “shepherd-heart,” they are “hirelings” (John 10:12-13). The Leader plants the “right-seeds” that will bear fruit in years to come for the benefit of others, and Joshua does that.

6. The Days of Judges (Judges 2:1-23)

Moses had Named Joshua as his Successor, but it is significant that God did not tell Joshua to appoint a Successor. The Elders who have served with Joshua guided the Nation after his (Joshua’s) death (Joshua 24:31), but then the People went astray and began to disobey the LORD and worship the gods of the Canaanites (Judges 2:6-15) – why did the next Generation failed to know the LORD and what He had done for Israel? Because the people of Joshua’s generation failed to keep their promises and teach their children and grandchildren to fear and serve the LORD;” God kept His Promise and chastened His People, first by bringing other Nations into the Land (Judges 2:14-19), and then by taking the Children of Israel out of their Land, the Northern Kingdom to Assyria and the Southern Kingdom to Babylon. God promised that He will re-gather His People Israel and establish them in their Land (Isaiah 11-12; 51-52; Ezekiel 36:24). Then “the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14).

To be continued….. Stay Tuned…..

Joshua’ Life & Exploits (Part 10)

Concerned about the Future

When King Hezekiah was told that the Kingdom of Judah would eventually go into Captivity in Babylon, his response was: “At least there will be peace and truth in my days” (Isaiah 39:8, NIV). This statement seems to reek of selfishness. Hezekiah should have been concerned for the People who are going into Captivity, the loss and suffering of his People beyond “his days.” Joshua’s two farewell speeches (Joshua chapters 23 to 24) as he was about to go “the way of all the earth” (Joshua 23:14), given ample evidence that he (Joshua) is the Caring Leader, burdened for the Future of his People and his Nation. But at the end of the long and full life, Joshua’s greatest concern was not himself. His greatest concern was God’s People and their relationship with the LORD. Joshua does not want to leave until he has challenged them once again to love the LORD and keep God’s Commandments. His life’s work and battles would be in vain if the Children of Israel failed to keep God’s Covenant and enjoy the Blessing of the Promised Land:

  • The Leaders – Joshua first called a meeting with the Leaders of the Nation – Joshua 23:2 “And Joshua called for all Israel and for their elders, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers, and said unto them. I am old and stricken in age.” Joshua warned the Leaders of Israel what would happen if they deserted the LORD (Joshua 23:3-16).
  • The People – Joshua gathered “all the Tribes of Israel at Shechem” (Joshua 24:1) and gave them a farewell address which reviewed the history of Israel, starting with Abraham, and challenged the People to love the LORD and serve Him alone.

In these two addresses to the Leaders and the People, Joshua emphasized three important matters:Israel’s Future Dangers (Joshua 23:1-6)

1. Israel’s Future Dangers (Joshua 23:1-16)

Having assembled the Leaders and the People of the Nation of Israel, Joshua presented them with two Scenarios:

  • Obey the LORD, and He will bless the Children of Israel and keep them in the Promised Land, in their Inheritance.
  • Disobey the LORD, and He will judge the Children of Israel and remove them from the Promised Land, their Inheritance.

These where the “terms” of the Covenant God had made with Israel at Mount Sinai, which Moses had repeated on the Plains of Moab, and which Israel had reaffirmed at Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim. Joshua’s emphasis was on possessing the Land (Joshua 23:5) and enjoying the blessings (Joshua 23:13-16). While Israel had gained control of much of Canaan Land (the Promised Land), there remained territory to possess and pockets of resistance to overcome (Joshua 13:1-13; 15:63; 16:10; 17:12-13; 18:3; Judges 1-2). The task of the Tribes was not finished. The great danger, of course, was that the People of Israel would gradually change their attitudes toward the heathen Nations living within the Canaan Land (the Promised Land) and start accepting their ways and imitating them. Joshua wanted to be sure that the People knew the LORD and wanted to serve Him with their whole heart.

People who think only of what they can get today are only Opportunists and not true Leaders (“hirelings” – John 10:12-13). The Leader plants the “right seeds” that will bear fruit in years to come for the benefit of others, and Joshua did that.

2. Israel’s Past Blessings (Joshua 24:1-13)

The Nation and Land were the key words in Joshua’s first address (Joshua 23), then the LORD is the major focus in this Second Address, for Joshua refers to the LORD twenty-one times. In fact, in Joshua 24:2-13, it is the LORD who speaks as Joshua reviews the History of the Nation of Israel. Another key word is “serve,” used fifteen times in this address. Jehovah gave them Israel the Land and would bless them in their Land if they loved Him and served Him:

  • God chose Israel (Joshua 24:1-4), from the time of Abraham.
  • God delivered Israel (Joshua 24:5-7), from the Egyptian Bondage.
  • God guided Israel (Joshua 24:8-10), in the Wilderness Journey.
  • God gave Israel the Promised Land (Joshua 24:11-13).

To be continued….. Stay Tuned…..