The Land of Promise (Part V)

Although Joshua had been courageous in the wilderness years, the Lord still had to command him not to be afraid as they were about to enter the land of promise. Transitioning from one season to another can make one uneasy and uncomfortable. We can’t rely entirely on our past successes to handle the new situations. We need to trust the Lord and depend on Him for the new unknowns. Joshua had to be strong and courageous in the new season as they were about to cross the Jordan river and enter the land of promise.

After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, it came to pass that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, saying:  “Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them—the children of Israel.  Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the River Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your territory.  No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:1-9

After the death of Moses, Joshua had to take on the role of leading a nation. It is one thing to be the right-hand man of a leader and provide advise, it is another thing to be responsible for all the decisions made. Now, Joshua had the role of leading the Israelites through uncertain times and the dangerous path before them.

This was a new season in the life of the people of Israel. Up to this point, they primarily had to survive the wilderness and rely on God to provide for their needs every step of the way. Now, God was going to bring them to the land of milk and honey where they had to be responsible for conquering, cultivating, and building their lives. They were growing up in God in a new way.

This is similar to our walk with the Lord. When we first come to salvation, we leave our past bondages behind. The process of sanctification may feel a lot like a wilderness experience as we let go of the past lifestyle, habits, and friendships.  In the wilderness, the Lord showers us with His daily bread, daily mercy,  and daily grace to help us carry on. Sometimes see progress and growth; at other times, we take a step back and regress.  But ultimately our desire is to grow and to come out of the wilderness to a life of abundance.

In the case of Israel, they were about to leave the wilderness behind and enter into the territory that the Lord promised them forty years ago. As they were about to cross the Jordan river, the Lord spoke to Joshua, and He commanded him three times to be strong and courageous! While Joshua and Caleb had continually shown courage for the last forty years, Joshua needed a new level of courage for the task at hand. Joshua had to have the courage to hear God’s voice clearly and to direct his warriors with confidence in some unconventional ways. Joshua needed fresh courage for this part of the journey.

The antonym of Courage according to Webster’s dictionary: humility, mousiness, cowardice, timidity, indecisiveness, cold feet, faint-heartedness, indecision, feebleness, weakness, softness, hesitation, impotence, poltroonery, meekness, irresolution, ineffectualness, fear.

Interestingly. the antonyms of courage give us insight into the problem with lack of courage. When we are not courageous we lose our resolve. We become indecisive, fearful, and begin to hesitate. We cannot make progress with double-mindedness or indecisiveness. With this kind of mindset, it is a lot easier to find all the problems as to why something is not going to work rather believing that it is going to work. If Joshua were to become indecisive and fearful, it would have made the Israelites an easy target for their enemies. Furthermore, his indecisiveness could have caused harm to his men and. At the minimum, it would have brought much frustration to the people.

I have been recently in a quandary about deciding whether I want a new puppy. While I have already placed a deposit for a dog, I have been vacillating back and forth about it. I want to be sure that it is a good decision, and I am trying to ensure everyone will be happy with the decision. What I did not realize is that my indecision is causing great frustration, and I have to stop vacillating.

The Israelites needed decisive, strong, and courageous leadership to help them overcome the upcoming obstacles and to conquer the land of promise. Joshua was the man of the hour. The Lord reminded him that he should not be afraid for the Lord was not going to leave Joshua nor forsake him. Joshua was not going to be alone in making the difficult decisions. The Lord was going to be his leader, and He was going to instruct him and give him clear directions.

Indecision and fear can cause a person or a group to stay stuck and does not get them closer to the desired result or destination. Change of seasons require courage. Leading our lives as well as leading others requires courage. We cannot lead if we are not courageous. There will always be naysayers, and many good decisions in life will have pros and cons. There are going to be times that risks need to be taken. By the very definition, a risk does not have a guarantee of success, but if the Lord is directing our steps, He is with us to help us through the process. Joshua was not presumptuous; he had a good foundation and confidence in God by which he could draw from and seek God’s face every step of the way.

What do you need direction for? Have you been indecisive and fearful about a certain issue? Are you vacillating back and forth and causing greater anguish for yourself and those around you? I encourage you to read Joshua 1 and allow the Lord to minister to you.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay


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