Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Joshua 1 - Be Strong and Courageous



Some of you are reading through the whole Bible Book Club from Genesis to Revelation. If this is the case, take a look at the Bible Bookcase. We have completed the first five books of Moses called the Law on the shelf. It is also called the Torah and Pentateuch (for five books). Congratulations!


The next twelve books, stretching from Joshua to Esther, are called the History books because they tell the history of God's people from their entrance into the Promised Land, to their captivity, exile, and return. 

Introduction to Joshua


Throughout the books of Moses, we kept hearing about the Promised Land. It was a land flowing with milk and honey, an exceedingly good land. Now, Joshua, the newly appointed leader of Israel, is poised on the edge of the Jordan River and ready to take possession of this new land.

The book of Joshua is the story of the conquest (Joshua 1 - 12) and distribution (Joshua 13-24) of this land.


Since much of the book seems to communicate a firsthand account of the events, most evangelical scholar believe Joshua was the author with additions by Eleazar the high priest and his son Phinehas (The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Volume 1, p. 325). 


LINK: Joshua 1


BACKGROUND


The first thing that popped out to me as I meditated on this chapter was that God spoke directly to Joshua! After all these years of watching God speak to Moses, the mantle had been passed on to his successor, Joshua.


The second thing that popped out to me in this chapter was the key phrase repeated three times . . .


"Be strong and courageous"
"Be strong and courageous"
"Be strong and courageous"

I cannot imagine what it would have been like to follow in the footsteps of the "greatest prophet." I think this is why God kept repeating this phrase and reminding Joshua that He would be with him just as He was with Moses.


REFLECTION


The Life Application Bible is simple and to the point regarding this chapter:
"Many people think that prosperity and success come from having power, influential personal contacts, and a relentless desire to get ahead. But the strategy for gaining prosperity that God taught Joshua goes against such criteria. He said that to succeed Joshua must: 

  1. be strong and courageous because the task ahead would not be easy, 
  2. obey God's law, and 
  3. constantly read and study the Book of the Law -- God's Word. 
To be successful, follow God's words to Joshua. You may not succeed by the world's standard, but you will be a success in God's eyes -- and his opinion lasts forever" (Life Application Bible, p.334).
I can say a hearty AMEN to that today. I had something happen in the last week that reminded me once again that I needed to "be strong and courageous," stay the course, and cling ever closely to the LORD and not worry about the opinion of others. I serve an audience of ONE, and I do not need to be afraid of anything but be in fear of HIM alone! I cannot look back at the wilderness, but I need to look ahead to the Promised Land!


APPLICATION


Are fear, disobedience, or lack of an abiding relationship with God in His word keeping you from moving forward in your walk with the LORD and experiencing the wide open spaces of the "Promised Land"? Talk to God about it right now!


Another application of this chapter might be to memorize a key verse from it:
This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. (Joshua 1:8)
You might even want to memorize Joshua 1:9 since it holds that key repeated phrase:
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:8 is in The Topical Memory System. I memorized these 60 verses in college, and they have so helped me navigate the waters of life! 

There is also a Topical Memory System App.


PRAYER


Teach us Lord where we need to let go of fear and be strong and courageous. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.
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