strong and courageous

Joshua (Part 2)

We will be on our second message in our series on the life of Joshua. There is much we can learn from him as he had to lead the Israelites into the promised land. As I have said before, God has brought us into a season of taking the territory that He has already set for us as a church and individually.

I. Your time has come!

Joshua 1:1-5: After the death of Moses the Lord’s servant, the Lord spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant. He said, “Moses my servant is dead. Therefore, the time has come for you to lead these people, the Israelites, across the Jordan River into the land I am giving them. I promise you what I promised Moses: ‘Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you—from the Negev wilderness in the south to the Lebanon mountains in the north, from the Euphrates River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west, including all the land of the Hittites.’ No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you.

Moses has just died and it is now Joshua’s time to lead. There was a grooming process that Joshua went through to get to this point. What a great picture of discipleship for us! Now God is speaking to Joshua and telling him what he needs to do and assuring him that He will be there with him the whole time.

Verse 3: What I promised to Moses I now promise to you: wherever you set your foot, you will be on land that I have given for you. There are over 5,000 promises in the Bible and they all apply to us.  We are sons and daughters to the King!

Verse 5: I will not fail you nor abandon you - this is God’s guarantee of success because of His presence and help. He will not allow Joshua to sink or fail.

God has the same promise for us. He is going with us personally and he will never abandon us nor fail us. This promise has made this church plant much easier for us. He is the one that is building this church - I just have to do what He tells me.

II. Be strong and courageous

Joshua 1:6-9: “Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

A. Lay hold of God's promise

Verse 6: Be strong and courageous. This phrase occurs four times in this chapter (verses 6, 7, 9, and 18) and is God’s encouragement to Joshua concerning His future tasks.

That phrase "be strong" is the word chazaq, which means "strong or strengthened." It can also mean "to encourage." In 1 Samuel 30:6, David encouraged himself (literally made himself strong) in the Lord.

B. Lay hold of God's pattern

Verse 7: The word that translates as "prosperous" means you're going to know how to do the right thing. It’s not talking about prosperity as cash in the bank but as wisdom and knowing how to live. Life works for people with practical wisdom, no matter how much or how little they have. Success depends on our obedience to stay on the path God has ordained to fulfill His promise. We do that by laying hold of His pattern, His Word.

Verse 8: The Hebrew word for meditate - hagah ("to reflect, to moan, to mutter, to ponder, to meditate or contemplate as one repeats the words") denotes an active recitation, a re-speaking of God's Words ("shall not depart from your mouth"). Meditation is more than a mental exercise. In Hebrew thought, to meditate upon the Scriptures is to quietly repeat them in a soft, droning sound, while utterly abandoning outside distractions.

From this tradition comes a specialized type of Jewish prayer called davening - that is, reciting texts, praying intense prayers, or getting lost in communion with God while bowing and rocking back and forth. This dynamic form of prayer goes back to David’s time.

C. Lay hold of God's presence

Joshua 1:9: This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Colossians 1:27: To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

When believers understand that Christ is always with us, it will change the way they live. We don’t have to wait for a Sunday morning service to experience Him. It’s not just when we have a devotional time with Him. His presence is always there - it's just a matter of us being aware of it. That comes through relationship which brings familiarity.

III. Take immediate action

Joshua 1:10-18: Joshua then commanded the officers of Israel, “Go through the camp and tell the people to get their provisions ready. In three days you will cross the Jordan River and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Then Joshua called together the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the halftribe of Manasseh. He told them, “Remember what Moses, the servant of the Lord, commanded you: ‘The Lord your God is giving you a place of rest. He has given you this land.’ Your wives, children, and livestock may remain here in the land Moses assigned to you on the east side of the Jordan River. But your strong warriors, fully armed, must lead the other tribes across the Jordan to help them conquer their territory. Stay with them until the Lord gives them rest, as he has given you rest, and until they, too, possess the land the Lord your God is giving them. Only then may you return and settle here on the east side of the Jordan River in the land that Moses, the servant of the Lord, assigned to you.” They answered Joshua, “We will do whatever you command us, and we will go wherever you send us. We will obey you just as we obeyed Moses. And may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses. Anyone who rebels against your orders and does not obey your words and everything you command will be put to death. So be strong and courageous!”

Verse 10: Joshua responded to God with immediate obedience. He prepared the people to enter the promised land.

Verses 12-15: I love the picture of all the Israelites fighting for everyone to receive the inheritance. They didn’t just stop after they received their own land.

Verses 16-18: The people were all in. When we step out in faith like Joshua, it inspires others to do the same.

God is calling us to take the territory that He has given us just like Joshua. There will be challenges and obstacles along the way, but God will be with us leading the way. He wants us to be strong and courageous in Him. Lay hold of His promises, His patterns, and His presence. Don’t let go. He will give us the wisdom to succeed and He will fight for us. Let’s take steps of faith and see what He does.