Read: Joshua 1:1-18
Consider: As the Israelites prepared to enter the promised land, they understood that their leader, Moses, was old and close to dying. Without Moses what would/could they do when faced with danger as they took possession of the land? It is clear that during their wanderings the Israelites had come to rely heavily on Moses for guidance and encouragement.
If we turn to Deuteronomy 31-34 we have a fuller account of the death of Moses, and of Joshua taking on the role of leading the people into the promised land. In Deuteronomy we read what Moses said to the Israelites just before his death. He said: Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6). Also to Joshua he said: The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged (31:8). Can you see that despite the task they were facing, God would be with them all the way?
Returning to our passage from Joshua 1, we read that Joshua received confirmation of his call to leadership from God. We read that God said to him: As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you (Joshua 1:5b). Thinking about those words ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’, brought to mind the words of Jesus to his disciples recorded in Matthew 28 (what we tend to call the great commission). Jesus told his disciples: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:19-20). Can you see the similarity in the phrases ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’ and ‘surely I am with you always’? Joshua had assurance that God would be with him and the Israelites, whatever dangers and opposition they would face. We too, have assurance that as we seek to share the good news of the gospel with others, Jesus will be there with us giving us encouragement and strength to fulfil the task.
What is stopping you fulfilling the ‘great commission? Are you afraid, embarrassed, perhaps thinking that you do not have the right temperament to do so. We need to keep in mind that many people in the Bible, just like Moses and Joshua, were not strong in themselves when faced with the tasks God asked them to do. They came to recognise that it was only in God’s strength that they could do whatever they would face.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9).
Pray: Father, thank you for showing us that we can only do what you want us to do in your strength. Amen
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