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(Adapted from a Stephen F. Olford study)
In the first chapter of Joshua, we begin reading about a crisis that has erupted in the lives of the people of Israel. Their longtime leader and spiritual guide, Moses, has died. We need to understand that this time was very much a crisis for these people. This was the man who had led them from slavery in Egypt! This was the man who brought them the laws of God! And now he is gone.
In the first chapter of this book, we not only find crisis, but we find the Lord speaking to the new leader of the people. We find God meeting this man and encouraging him. We find God meeting this man and challenging him about the future.
READ JOSHUA 1:1-9
I. THE PURPOSE OF GOD (v. 2)
Joshua was about to become very aware of God’s purpose and direction in his life. Moses was dead and Joshua had been his assistant. There was no contract that Joshua would become the leader. There was no line of succession. What I mean to say is that Joshua becoming the leader was not a “given”, but was open. This new leader would be in charge of leading the people to the Promised Land… no small task.
I think the leadership of Israel was in doubt until that moment when “God spoke to Joshua.” God was now hand-choosing the next leader of His people. It was God who would be directing their paths through the Promised Land. God chose Joshua to be that leader who would bring about the fulfillment of the promises to Abraham.
God’s directions and purposes are clear: 1) The people of Israel are going across the Jordan River into Canaan and will take possession of it. 2) Joshua son of Nun will be their leader in all of this.
II. THE PROMISE OF GOD (v. 3)
Joshua and the people of Israel trusted in the Lord their God. They put all their faith and trust in Him to guide them and lead them into Canaan. And what of Joshua? He had to believe that God keeps His Word. Joshua had been a faithful believer throughout his life. In fact, when Israel spied out Canaan 40 years before, only he and Caleb put their faith in God and believed that they could conquer the land. Joshua knew that God always fulfills His promises. Joshua knew that God had promised Abraham that he would become a mighty nation and that his people would inhabit the land of Canaan. And now, Joshua and the people stood on the bank of the Jordan ready to go in and possess the land. God’s promises were coming true.
We as Christians also have the benefit of knowing that God keeps His promises. We have the entire Bible to read and discover all the promises that have been fulfilled. We also have Christ, in who so many of God’s promises are fulfilled. 2 Corinthians 1:20 explains to us that all the promises of God are fulfilled in Jesus and He is the One we have been looking for. In Him we find the “Yes” answer to our questions.
Was Jesus the Son of God?
Was He the Promised One who would take away the sins of the world?
Is He our every present help in times of need?
Does He provide direction for us in our lives?
As God was speaking with Joshua, He promised Joshua something very important. It occurs in verse 3. Joshua was assured victory in all of his endeavors. In taking hold of these promises, Joshua would be given all the places that his foot trod. He was given the victory before he even started.
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