Chapter 1 - JOSHUA'S CALL
Read Joshua 1:1-18
Under Moses' capable leadership, the people of Israel were established as a nation under God. He delivered them from the bondage of Egypt, instructed them in God’s laws and led them through the wilderness to the door of the Promised Land. Before he died, Moses commissioned a man by the name of Joshua to take his place as the next leader of Israel (Deuteronomy 3:28).
Joshua's role as leader of God's people would be very different from the leadership of Moses. Moses was a priest and prophet. Joshua would be a military commander. Different times demanded different leadership.
There would be an adjustment for God's people as they learned to deal with a new leadership style and vision. Joshua would not have taken his calling lightly. I am sure he felt somewhat unworthy of following in the footsteps of such a powerful leader. God's purpose for his life was very evident, however, and Joshua willingly accepted God's will.
As we begin, in verse 2, God shared with Joshua His heart for Israel. God told Joshua that he wanted him to prepare to cross the Jordan River and enter into the land He wanted to give His people (verse 2). God promised that He would give them this entire land (verse 3). Their territory would extend from the desert of Lebanon and the Euphrates River to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. We need to understand that God had a purpose for His people. In these verses He shared with Joshua His vision for the nation. He did this for a very important reason.
If Joshua was going to lead God's people, he needed to do so in accordance with the purpose and plan of God. All too often we forget that we are God's servants called to do God’s will. This should go without saying, but the reality of the matter is that many of God's servants do not share His heart or vision. All too many have never truly sought God's will for their ministry. They have their own ideas of what they want to accomplish. If we want to serve God, we need to have a clear sense of His direction and purpose. In this passage we see how God shared His purpose with Joshua. He showed him how much land he wanted to give His people. He showed him the boundaries of that land. In sharing this, God gives Joshua direction and boundaries for his leadership.
All too often we have our own ideas of what we want to accomplish. Notice that there were boundaries to the territory that God wanted to give his people. As a good leader Joshua needed to know how far God wanted to take His people. Sometimes our vision goes beyond what God wants to give us. Moses would have loved to lead his people into the Promised Land, but this was not God’s will. With the success of his campaigns, there may have been the temptation for Joshua to go further than God wanted him to go. At other times we are not ready to go far enough in our conquest of the land God had given us. A good leader will seek the Lord’s direction. He will not go beyond what God had given, but he will do everything in his power to complete all that God has given him to do. In these verses God gives Joshua a clear sense of what He was expecting from him.
Notice also in verse 5 that not only did God show Joshua His purpose for him, but He also promised to equip him to accomplish that purposes. God told Joshua that no one would be able to stand against him all the days of his life. God would protect him from his enemies. His presence would go with him wherever he went (verse 5). God would never forsake him. Joshua knew that as he stepped out in obedience to the will and purpose of God, he could do so knowing that God would always be with him. When he had to make an important decision, God would be guiding him. When he had to face a powerful enemy, God would fight with him. God stands with those He calls. They do not have to go out alone.
God told Joshua that he was to be strong and courageous because victory was assured (verse 6). Notice that God told Joshua that He would lead His people to possess the land He had promised them. With God at his side victory was assured. How could he fail if the almighty God was with him? What enemy could overpower him if God stood with him? What a privilege it is to have the Lord God stand with us as we step out in His will to accomplish His purpose. Victory is ours not because we are strong, but because the Lord our God stands with us.
With God at his side, Joshua was to be strong and courageous. It is one thing to know that God is with us and another to act as if God is with us. Joshua was to let his knowledge of God's presence give him strength to step out boldly. He was not to shrink back from the enemy. He was to find courage to face the dangers and obstacles the enemy would throw in his path. Does the knowledge of God's presence change how you do ministry? The knowledge that God is with us is not just a comforting thought, it also carries with it an obligation. Those who know that God is with them will stand more boldly to face the enemy. They will take greater risks because they know that nothing is impossible for God.
Verse 7 is a very important verse in the life and ministry of Joshua. If Joshua was going to be successful in his ministry, he would have to learn to walk in obedience ...