Summary: The Lord told the Israelites to be strong and courageous as he promised to finally deliver them into the Promiseland. What is the source of our strength and courage?
What do we know about Joshua?
• He was born in Egypt
• He was part of the entire 40 years of the wilderness time
• He was the commander of the army that defeated the Amalekites. That was the battle where Moses' hands were kept up, and as long as they were up, the Israelites were winning the battle.
• He was one of the 12 spies that were sent by Moses to go into Canaan and only Joshua and Caleb brought back a good report.
• He was given authority by Moses to take over after his death.
• His original name Jehoshua means "Jehovah is help."
Read Joshua 1:1-9
It had been 40 years since the Israelites crossed the Red Sea. They had been oppressed in Egypt, slaves sometimes not being able to meet the expectations of their Egyptian owners. They needed to leave. After over 400 years of this, God's timing was perfect. He raised up a man, a murderer to carry out God's plan of continuing to watch over his chosen people. 40 years earlier, Moses had killed an Egyptian because he was beating an Israelite, so he ran, ashamed. But God used Moses. Even with his lack of confidence, God displayed his own power and brought Pharaoh and Egypt to their knees, begging for the Israelites to leave. So they did. It is thought that there were 2 to 3 million people who walked out of Egypt through the miracle of the Red Sea, into the wilderness going to the promise land.
What was ahead of them? An 11-day journey to Canaan. 11 days is all it should have been, but because of their unbelief and disobedience, it took 40 years. And those who were the leaders along with Moses at the time of the Exodus, would never see the Promised Land.
So as you see in the first verse of Joshua chapter 1, Moses has died. And God has given the leadership over to Joshua. But not only that, God tells Joshua, it's time. It's time for his chosen people to take what God has promised them.
Look what God said to Moses in Joshua 1:3 (ESV)
3 Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses.
God had cleared the path, he had made a way, and success was assured as long as they obeyed. And he gave them a formula for success in verse 6.
Focus: Joshua 1:6 (ESV)
6 Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them.
It was simple. Just do two things. Be Strong & Courageous. 40 years of wandering will be over. Just be strong and courageous. You will finally enter rest. Just be strong and courageous. I will show you that I have not forgotten you. Just be strong & courageous. You will finally have a home of your own. Just be strong and courageous.
These two words put together, 'be strong and courageous' and the idea of them are spoken quite
often in the Bible.
They were first used by Moses speaking to Joshua:
Dt 31:6-7 — Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” 7 Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land that the LORD has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall put them in possession of it.
Then we see Joshua say them for the first time in Joshua 1:6, then he says them two additional times in this same chapter:
Jos 1:9 — Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Jos 1:18 — Whoever rebels against your commandment and disobeys your words, whatever you command him, shall be put to death. Only be strong and courageous.”
Why do you think that Joshua says to be Strong & Courageous three time in the same conversation? Because it is important. It was important for God to reveal it to Moses. It was important for Moses to reveal it to Joshua. It was important for God to reveal it to Joshua. And it was important for Joshua to reveal it to the people in verse 18.
It was important. It needed to be said over and over, so they would understand and not forget.
As we look into this command to be strong and courageous, I want you to see a few things, because you and I are called to be strong and courageous today.