Summary: Joshua was raised up to continue the work of God. God gave him three assurances, and I believe that every believer needs to be aware of these assurances for they help us in receiving our inherited promise as well.
THE FAITHFULNESS OF GOD
I will be preaching a series of messages for the next several weeks from the book of Joshua with the key thought being “Receiving God’s Promises”. Joshua was chosen by both God and Moses to complete the work of leading Israel into the promised land. God had made a promise over 400 years earlier to Abraham that his descendants would receive the land that Abraham lived in for an inheritance, as a homeland. Time had gone by, Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, went to Egypt with his family. Including Joseph and his sons, they numbered only about 70 people. However, God’s blessings were upon them and soon they begin to multiply. The Egyptians became afraid of them and soon enslaved them, but still they multiplied. The taskmasters make their work hard, they cried out to God but God’s promise seemed far away. Finally, God sent them a deliverer, named Moses, who, under the hand of God brought out the children of Israel. Moses was God’s man. He brought to the Israelites the laws of God, he spoke with God, as if face to face. Yet even Moses grew discouraged with his people. They constantly seemed to fall into unbelief and disobedience toward God, even to the point of desiring to stone Moses and return back to Egypt. They even reached the edge of the promised land, to again fall back in unbelief and spend 40 more years wandering in the wilderness. Not everyone that day was willing to give up their faith. We know that the Bible tells us that two men stood on the promise of God, saying “…Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it (Numbers 13:30).” These two were Joshua and Caleb. Let me ask you a question, how do you suppose they must have felt during the upcoming 40 years? They spent 40 years, still waiting on the promise of God, yet I don’t believe they were willing to give up for they knew the faithfulness of God, that God could be counted on.
One of my favorite hymns is “How Great is Thy Faithfulness”. The chorus reads
Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided -
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!
This great Hymn of the church was written by Thomas Chisholm. He did not write this hymn because of something great, or even miraculous that had happened in his life, no, rather he wrote it because as he looked back over his life, he learned to see the great faithfulness of God. At age 75, he wrote these words;
"My income has not been large at any time due to impaired health in the earlier years which has followed me on until now. Although I must not fail to record here the unfailing faithfulness of a covenant-keeping God and that He has given me many wonderful displays of His providing care, for which I am filled with astonishing gratefulness."
It is important to see the faithfulness of God in receiving the promises of God. Moses had now passed away, but just because Moses had died, it did not mean that the plans of God were dead as well. God pulls down and God raises up. It is His work. Joshua is raised up to continue the work of God. God gave him three assurances, and I believe that every believer needs to be aware of these assurances for they help us in receiving our inherited promise as well.
I. GOD IS FAITHFUL IN HIS PROMISE.
1. What exactly is a promise? The dictionary defines it as “a declaration that one will do or refrain from doing something specified.” The word promise comes from a Latin word that means to “set forth.” God sets forth what He will do.
Genesis 17:8 And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
2. God had made a promise. He had told Abraham that he and his descendants would receive the land of Canaan for an inheritance. Even though over 400 years had passed, the promise of God was still real and genuine.
3. Here we find in Joshua chapter one that God spoke to Joshua and told him that “Moses My servant is dead.” Then He tells him to arise, or get up, and cross over Jordan to the land that He is giving them.
4. We know, according to Deut. 34:8, that Israel mourned for him 30 days.
I imagine that there were many among the Israelites that felt everything was lost, that what was the use of going on for Moses, God’s man was dead. Maybe even Joshua himself felt that way. Maybe they wondered how they could continue onward after the death of Moses.