Summary: The promised land is God’s gift to Israel, but this gift did not come without human efforts. The people needs to trust God and be obedient to His Law. This is the key to appropriating God’s promise in life.
Moses has died. Joshua has taken on the task of leading Israel.
- In this speech, God announces that Israel is going to finally take possession of the promised Land.
- This was God’s promise to Abraham - remember in the Sunday School, we learnt of God’s promise of a land, a seed and the blessing, to Abraham.
- What gives Israel the right to dispossess the people of Canaan?
- According to Josh 1:2, the land is a gift from God. It is the fulfillment of what God has promised.
But the promise of land does not come without specific human responsibilities.
- Beginning from 1:6, God makes it clear to Joshua that courage and strength is needed.
- We see this repeated phrase: Be strong and courageous.
- This phrase was repeated three times, in contrast to 1:9 "Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged."
1:7 “Be careful to obey all the law?do not turn from it to the right or to the left.?
1:8 “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.?
So Joshua was told to take note of two things:
(1) To be brave and strong in the face of danger and difficulties;
(2) To be immersed in the Law and obeys it well.
In order words, Joshua and the people needs to (1) TRUST GOD and (2) OBEY HIM.
?God says, “Do it my way, and you will succeed.?
?We appropriate God’s promise through FAITH and OBEDIENCE.
Joshua was asked not to be afraid.
?The task that lies before Israel will require the defeat of over 30 tribal kingdoms.
?This is a land where giants are known to live, where cities are surrounded by walls; a land where the people have developed iron weapons and uses chariots and horses for battle.
?The Israelites are just ‘professional?slaves! What weapons do they have?
Joshua has good reasons to be afraid, but God tells him to “be strong and courageous.?
?God gives him only one clear reason why he should not fear ?God Himself will be with him.
?1:9 “for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.?
God did not ‘drop the gift upon his lap? Joshua and Israel needs to fight the enemies.
There is a connection between God’s promises and human efforts.
?God has clearly promised that the Israelites would be GIVEN a land as a blessing from God.
?But this gift is going to require a great deal of effort to receive. This gift involves battles.
The conquest will be the work of God. But success will require the efforts of man.
?There is a clear connection between receiving the promised blessing of the land, and the careful obedience to the commands of God.
?God wants them to have the land, but they have to work.
?God wants us to bless us, but we have to serve Him, to work hard and share the Gospel, to do our part.
God’s plan is fulfilled when man do what God calls him to do.
?The sooner we obey Him; the sooner God’s will fulfilled in our lives.
?The sooner believers do what God says; the sooner we’ll see God’s will be done in our world.
We have to work hard. Although the battle belongs to the Lord, there is human effort involved in ‘fighting?the battles.
?Joshua and the people of Israel have to work hard and fight over 30 battles to see that God’s promise becomes a reality.
?We can overcome, but we have to work hard and face our problems with courage.
?God will enable us to complete the work and fulfill His plan.
I do not know what challenges you are facing today, we must “be strong and courageous.? God will surely help us, but we have to do our part to fight.
Again we see that hardship is not a sign that God has deserted us.
?We do not need to be overly surprised when we face problems or sufferings.
?In fact, struggling our way through difficulties and hardship could well be God’s way of giving us His promised blessing.
Sometimes Christians have this attractive idea that we are guaranteed a peaceful and anxiety-free life because God will protect us.
?Joshua’s experience tells us we need courage and strength to do God’s will. We need to be strong to face battles, fears, anxieties, and the many problems of life.
?Knowing that God is with us, knowing that He has given us great promises, does not mean life will be easy and trouble-free.
?In fact, God guarantees His presence IN THE MIDST of hardships and pain. Difficulties and troubles will continue but there is reason for us to be “strong and courageous.?