The death of Moses put Joshua in the role of a leader. He was now in the position of leading a nation. The nation was Israel, which are God's chosen people. There were many challenges that lay ahead for Joshua. He was chosen, by God, to lead the children of Israel over the Jordan and into the promised land. You can almost feel Joshua tensing up and his stomach tied in knots as he thought about what he was facing. His mentor, Moses, was gone, but he now had the best ally a person could have on their side. He had God.
The book of Joshua opens with the scenario that Joshua is faced with. As the scene opens throughout Joshua 1:1-9, God speaks to Joshua. He encourages, comforts, and instructs Joshua on what to do. Let us step into Joshua's shoes for a moment and listen to God.
The Lord tells Joshua to get up (arise) and go over the Jordan, along with the children of Israel, to the land that God was giving to them. Every place that Joshua will step, the Lord was giving to Israel, just as the Lord had told Moses. Before we go further, a couple of things come to mind here. God tells Joshua to "Get up". I remember when my mother passed away, I just sat on the back bumper of my grandparent's car as they wheeled my mom outside in a body bag and put her in the back of the funeral home's van. I felt hopeless, lost, sad, confused, and scared, that day. I imagine that Joshua must have had some of those same feelings as Moses had passed away that day. He was now on his own. His friend and mentor was gone. Joshua was left with a nation looking to him for answers. What now? Do we give up? Do we go on? What about food? What's our next move? Are you listening to us? Joshua? Joshua! His head swimming with a multitude of emotions.
I picture Joshua sitting on the grass, in the sand, or on a rock, staring out into space, then at all the people. Joshua stares into the heavens as though he is searching for something. For answers. For God. He's reflecting about his friend Moses as he stares at Moses' grave. Then, God shows up, just as He did for me, to answer questions, to comfort, to give directions, and to gently tell me to get up (arise) and begin to move on to the next day, all the while walking with me, picking me up and carrying me on the days I did not want to move.
A person stricken with grief doesn't think clearly, but God is always clear - minded. We can always rely on God to give us clear and accurate instruction. Joshua must have been lost, because God had to tell him to get up, as if the Lord were telling Joshua to wake up, snap out of it. God's first two instructions were to get up and go over the Jordan to the land that God had given His people, the children of Israel. Joshua had to work through his grief while facing the challenge of leading a nation to the promised land. However, God would be with him every step of the way.
When we can't think straight, when are stricken with grief, when we are faced with burdens that we must bare, when there is no escape, listen to God. He will instruct us in what to do. First, get up (arise), pick yourself up. We must keep going. Just because there are obstacles does not mean we stop. We keep going, listening to God the entire way. As we study further, take note of God's instructions to Joshua, His comforting words, and His encouragement. God cares for us and will take charge of our lives if we will let Him. So, get up, and read on to find out how God can bring you over your Jordan. Read on.
Just as God was with Moses, He would also be with Joshua, never leaving or turning His back on Joshua. When we become God's children, He will do the same for us. God will always be with us in whatever we are going through. He may not stop our trials or troubles from happening, but He will walk through it with us, encouraging, instructing, and comforting us through it all.
Three times in Joshua 1:1-9, the Lord tells Joshua to be strong and courageous. When we are mentally strong enough to have the courage to do whatever God may tell us to do, He can do amazing things in our lives. When we obey God, as Joshua would find out, He gets the glory and we get the benefit. The Lord works things out in such a way where people have to say, "That had to be God, there is no other explanation." Thus, God gets the credit and we are helped in whatever situation we are facing.
God told Joshua to not let the Book of the Law depart from his mouth. He was to meditate on it day and night, and do all that is written in it. If Joshua would do this, he would prosper and have good success.
When we are strong, courageous, and do as God commands us to do, the Lord will be with us wherever we go. We do not have to be afraid or discouraged. God will see us through, just as He did for Joshua (Josh. 1:1-9).
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