Many years before the LORD had promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that their descendents would inherit the land of Canaan as their possession. I do not doubt that they must have had wonder, and questions as to how God would carry out this great event. It was not for them to know the how; but to trust and believe that GOD would do it.
My reading this morning was from Deuteronomy 29 – Joshua 8. Covering the time shortly before the death of Moses; and his preparing of the people for his death, encouragement to obey the laws of God or else be cursed by God. The Word of God plays a very important part in the children of Israel’s lives (Deuteronomy 30:11-14).
Moses gave them a song before he went up on Mount Nebo, the top of Pisgah, was given the view of all the Promised Land and there he died. The song of Moses (32:1-43) is a song of the glory of the LORD, His power, His protection of His people, His deliverance and of Israel’s stubbornness. We finally see Moses handing over the leadership to Joshua, before Moses goes to the mount.
We now get to the book of Joshua.
“Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” Joshua 1:6-9 (KJV)
Joshua must have been a bit overwhelmed by the task before Him. He is now the leader of this mass of people who are called Israel; and they are to enter the land and destroy every idol, every people, removing all unholiness from the land; purifying it for the glory of the LORD.
Three times in these four verses GOD says to Joshua, “Be strong and of a good courage’, or “Be strong and very courageous’, and “Be strong and of a good courage”. The LORD promises, “For the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” Now who can fail with a word like that.
The victory over Jericho is certain and sure because of the LORD. However, they go after a smaller city “‘Ai” and fail to conquer it. There are some things I think can be seen for their failure at Ai. First of all, it seems they thought they had the power;
“And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, ‘Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but few.” 7:3
Another thing missing is their lack of seeking God’s approval, and lack of prayer. It just could be that had they prayed the LORD would have revealed the sin of Achan earlier. The reason I mention these things is because they seem to practice these things previous to their Jericho victory. Joshua, the army of GOD and the people needed to know that it is God who gives the victory.
Christian, it is still God who gives the victory. The victory over sin has been accomplished by the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, His burial and His bodily resurrection. Be strong and of a good courage Christian. The LORD gives the victory in the wilderness and in the Promised Land.
-Tim A. Blankenship