Joss winced. Be strong? At a time when he couldn’t have felt less able? The responsibility now placed squarely upon his shoulders differed in degree to the responsibility of recent years during which he had proven himself to be a very able military commander. However, commanding an army could not be compared with leading a nation – a fact expressed by the words themselves. But how easy would it be to make the transition from military commander to political leader?
“And of a good courage..”
Not only strong, but also very courageous. His heart warmed even while his knees knocked. For so long he had stood at the side of the national leader, conscious not only of his valour but also his humility. He heard the shouts of acclamation when the road was easy. He also knelt beside a head bowed low before the Lord while the people stormed and threatened their displeasure, ranting their demands. Certainly it would require a great deal of courage to stand before the nation when their will was in direct opposition to the command of the Lord.
Briefly there was quiet while the people mourned the death of their leader. It is one thing to oppose a living man, but death removes the quality of opposition so that it becomes empty and unsatisfactory. There is a breathing space before men recruit their vigour to either support or declaim the new leader. Joss stood under a tree on the hillside, looking over the still encampment, allowing the words outlining his future task to sink into his mind and heart.
Plans had been made, plans he was required to follow unquestioningly. Laws were formulated and written down: they must be obeyed if the plans were to meet with success. It would be necessary for him to review the plans from time to time, but even more necessary for him to read, re-read, and meditate on the law so as to be sure that his decisions and judgments were right. Only in this way would he become a fit leader of a nation.
It was time to lay aside his fears and take up his authority. Calling the leaders of the groups to himself, he issued his first statement.
“You have three days to get your people ready to march, packed up and prepared. In three days we cross the Jordan river.”
Three of the groups he called aside, reminding them of their contract made with the previous leader. “Get your families settled and provided for while you march with us as you agreed to do. When the job is done you will be able to return to your homes and families in peace and enjoyment.”
Their assent was unequivocal. “We’re with you, Joss, every man of us, whatever you want us to do, wherever you want us to go. Only be strong and of a good courage, and we will follow you.”
There were those words again, reminding him of the commandment of the Lord. Reminding him of his own weakness and disquiet. The shoes he was stepping into were big shoes. The cloak that covered his armour was a shepherd’s cloak. But still he held his spear, the authority of his command.
As he stood with bowed head the words of the Lord echoed in his mind, “Throughout your life no man will be able to withstand you. As I accompanied and directed the man you are replacing, so I will accompany and direct you. I will always be with you, and my guidance will be timely and true. Do not be afraid, you will succeed. Only be strong with my strength and very courageous for I will be there to encourage you, wherever you go.”
Joss lifted his head. There was a river to cross. After that the land stretched before them. He would lead them into the land and divide it between them, according to the commandment and promise of the Lord. He would lead them into the land because the Lord was with him, leading the leader.
Author’s Note: This is a story. It is not a study of Joshua chapter 1, nor of Joshua the man, although the basis of the story is taken from that chapter, and facts known about the life of Joshua. It is just a story woven around the dealings of God with man.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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