In our study of Joshua chapter one, we will see the call on this leader's life to seize the gift that God had promised. We will see what our "promised land" is and the battle plan for grabbing hold of it.
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After the death of Moshe the servant of ADONAI, ADONAI said to Y'hoshua the son of Nun, Moshe's assistant,
We begin with an introduction to Israel's new leader Joshua. His name means "Jehovah is salvation" and it is the same word as "Jesus" in the New Testament. He was born a slave in Egypt and was an aide to Moshe as they left. He was chosen by God to replace Moshe as the leader of His people.
"Moshe my servant is dead. So now, get up and cross over this Yarden, you and all the people, to the land I am giving to them, the people of Isra'el. I am giving you every place you will step on with the sole of your foot, as I said to Moshe. All the land from the desert and the L'vanon to the great river, the Euphrates River - all the land of the Hitti - and on to the Great Sea in the west will be your territory. No one will be able to withstand you as long as you live. Just as I was with Moshe, so I will be with you. I will neither fail you nor abandon you.
We see God commission Joshua as the next leader of His people. He is called to go and take the land that God was giving them and he was assured that he would be able to take all that was promised. That brings us to the question: What does the "promised Land" have to do with us as Christians? There are those who have compared it to heaven and crossing a river after death. That is not what it means because Joshua had to fight for the land that God was giving him and we do not have to fight to get into heaven. God had given the Israelite people the land as a gift but they had to go and seize it. The gift that God has given us on this earth is to walk with Christ and our life in Him on this earth is our "promised land".
"Be strong, be bold; for you will cause this people to inherit the land I swore to their fathers I would give them.
He was reminded of the fact that God was just keeping the promise that He had originally made to Avraham. We, too, can be strong and courageous as we know that Yeshua promised that He would never leave or forsake us as we grab hold of our inheritance on this earth.
Only be strong and very bold in taking care to follow all the Torah which Moshe my servant ordered you to follow; do not turn from it either to the right or to the left; then you will succeed wherever you go. Yes, keep this book of the Torah on your lips, and meditate on it day and night, so that you will take care to act according to everything written in it. Then your undertakings will prosper, and you will succeed. Haven't I ordered you, 'Be strong, be bold'? So don't be afraid or downhearted, because ADONAI your God is with you wherever you go."
The Lord tells him to be strong and courageous twice more and assures him that, if he follows the ways prescribed by God (the Law), he will be successful. As the soldier was getting ready to go into battle, God was reminding him that He would always be there with him. This is very similar to what Yeshua told the disciples in the Great Commission where He said that He would be with them (and us) until the very end of the age. Our Christian walk (promised land) is a fight as it seems that there are enemies of the gospel on every side but, like Joshua, we can be assured that He is in the battle with us.
Y'hoshua instructed the officials of the people to go through the camp and order the people, "Prepare provisions, because in three days you will cross this Yarden to go in and take possession of the land ADONAI your God is giving you."
Why did they wait three days to enter the land? They were to get their things ready but this was also a time to count the cost of listening to the Lord. Grabbing the gift was not going to be easy as there were many battles to come. Yeshua described the same thing when He was teaching the people about the cost of being a disciple. (see Luke 14:28) When we come to Yeshua messiah for salvation, we must also understand that we are going to face many battles as well. There will be internal battles with our own flesh and desires but there will also be external opposition from those who do not know the Lord.
To the Re'uveni, the Gadi and the half-tribe of M'nasheh Y'hoshua said, "Remember what Moshe the servant of ADONAI ordered you: 'ADONAI your God has let you rest and will give you this land.' Your wives, your little ones and your livestock will stay in the land Moshe gave you on the east side of the Yarden; but you are to cross over armed as a fighting force ahead of your brothers, to help them; until ADONAI allows your brothers to rest, as he has allowed you; and they too have taken possession of the land ADONAI your God is giving them. At that point, you will return to the land which is yours and possess it, the land Moshe the servant of ADONAI gave you in 'Ever-HaYarden to the east, toward the sunrise."
These two and a half tribes had been given land on the east side of the Jordan River but were to go ahead of the rest of Israel into the battle for the promised land. This reminds us of the fact that we are to tell people of the way of salvation. Then, we are to build them up in the faith so that they can grab onto the life that God has promised them. We see that they were to be armed for battle and that is a reminder that the devil does not want Israel to be in the land and he does not want us to be walking with the Lord.
They answered Y'hoshua, "We will do everything you have ordered us to do, and we will go wherever you send us. Just as we listened to everything Moshe said, so will we listen to you. Only may ADONAI your God be with you as he was with Moshe. If anyone rebels against your order and doesn't heed what you say in every detail of your order, he will be put to death. Just be strong, be bold!"
The people pledged to follow the instructions of Joshua because they knew that he was put into his position by God. He did not go to some leadership training course or get a college degree but was simply chosen and equipped by God.