As Moses concluded his address to the nation and in particular to Joshua, he noted the same words that God would speak to Joshua in the first chapter: “Be strong and courageous.” Joshua had seen the Red Sea opening and now would see the Jordan open as well. God wanted Joshua to know that He can be trusted but also that Joshua needed, in turn, to trust Him.
God knows us inside and out, and He knew that Joshua faced an intimidating job. Up until this time, he had been a servant’s servant to Moses. But, like any man or woman facing what seems an impossible task, there lurks the fear of the unknown. Joshua recalled the land he had seen 40+ years before, but would it look the same now? Would there be those same giants he had seen before? Would the people follow his leadership?
God encouraged Joshua to know that no matter where his foot would fall, God would be with him and never forsake him. God told him to remain steadfast immovable, just as Paul wrote. To a day, Joshua remained faithful. He reminded the Israelites; “be strong!” He never took credit for all of the blessings but reminded the people that it was the Lord who drove out the great and mighty nations.
Joshua is God’s hero. I hope he is yours too. Remember Isaiah’s words “when you pass through the waters, I am with you; when you pass through the streams, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not harm you. For I am the Lord your God; your deliverer…” [Is 43]
What words would you want to be said at your funeral? Think about it.
Joshua 24:29 We have walked from Egypt to Israel with this great man of God who now is called, like Moses, the “Lord’s servant.” If by some miraculous means you could hear what is said at your funeral what would that be? What would you like God to call you? Joshua had served faithfully under the guidance of Moses and now the title of the Lord’s Servant is bestowed upon him. He was not only faithful but diligent to do all that the Lord had commanded.
Jesus told a parable that illustrates Joshua’s life in Matt 25. A man went on a journey but entrusted his property to his slaves. To one he gave 5 talents, to another 2 and to another 1. The men with 5 and 2 were faithful to reap where the Master had not sown. They heard the Master praise them and commend them; well done, thou good and faithful servant; enter into the joy of the Lord. However, the one to whom 1 talent was given said: I knew you were a hard taskmaster so I hid the talent because I feared you and he handed it back to the Master. The Master said, thou wicked servant. His talent was taken from him and given to the one who had reaped double.
God has blessed you richly with His talents to be used for His work. Joshua reaped his talents beyond what he could have imagined! He obeyed and received the blessing.
Beloved, May you obey so that you will hear the words bestowed upon Joshua: the Lord’s servant.
How many times do we lose focus on the end game? Have you lost your dream because your eyes are on the problem before you instead of the Master’s eyes on the problem?
Joshua 17 In Joshua 17 the descendants of Joseph come to Joshua with their complaint: we don’t have enough land. Remember the old saying; open mouth, insert foot? First, they asked a question; why did you only give us this much? We have many people. Joshua responded; well if you have that many people you should be able to conquer the land of the Perizzites and the Rephaites. In other words, don’t just stand there but get up and go! But, his answer was not satisfying to the descendants so they try a different tactic. Well, we can’t because you see the Canaanites live in the valley; they have chariots with iron-rimmed wheels. True to form come the words of Proverbs: The fear of man is a snare but he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted. Joshua essentially said; you have many excuses; you need to “man up” and go and conquer.
There are some practical lessons we can learn from this interchange and what Jesus told the disciples. You must “go,” not stay in one spot and think others will do the work for you. You want disciples; then get up and go and find them. Don’t be satisfied to allow others to get the blessing God has for you.
The Josephites allowed fear to distract them. Joshua encouraged them with “you can do this.” Jesus said ‘no one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Don’t look back, look forward! Go and make disciples! Find some lemons and make lemonade!
Where are you in your walk with God? Are you looking back or forward?
Joshua is an example of “The Never. Look.Back. Man”
Out of the pages of history, Joshua rises to show us what it means to ‘never.look. back.’ He lived in slavery, saw the man Moses come upon the scene after many prayers to God for deliverance. He believed that God answered his and the nation of Israel’s prayers and followed the man God sent. And he ‘never.looked.back.’ He lived to see the plagues in living color yet he ‘never.looked.back.’ He put the blood on the doorposts of his home trusting that God would do as He said He would do. He ‘never.looked.back.’ He followed God’s appointed leader to the Red Sea and believed if God could do what He had already done, He could do the simple opening the Sea that he might enter and he ‘never.looked.back.’ At Mt. Sinai he went with Moses to retrieve the Ten Commandments from the hand of God and he ‘never.looked.back.’ He saw the golden calf but did not bow down to it, he had experienced the Majesty of God and he ‘never.looked.back.’ At Kadesh-Barnea he went, he saw and he believed that what Moses had said about the Promised Land was true and he ‘never.looked.back’
Now at the Jordan River, having been commissioned by Moses to lead the next generation across and conquer the land he ‘never.looked.back.’
Jesus challenged the disciples to pick up their cross and follow him. When we do that we join Joshua to be a ‘never.looking. back’people.
So where are you? Are you looking back or looking forward?
The fields are white unto harvest and are ready for you to enter and claim the promises of God.
David Mathis, Ex Editor for Desiring God wrote in his blog yesterday: “In communicating the gospel, one of the essential things we must at least imply, if not make explicit, is the most offensive truth possible: you are powerless precisely where it matters most. You are dead to what truly is life.” When we come to grips with that statement and yield to Christ then we know the truth: “So you too consider yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” [Rom 6:11] The heart of the matter is this: the gospel is offensive and the gospel workers are as well. Paul of all people faced it head on when he became aware of the charge: “some” were saying Paul was living by the world’s standards. Paul may have lived in the first century but the same charges are leveled today. It seems that although our enemy is strong and he has been honing his skills, his tactics remain unchanged. We are called hypocrites, complainers, judgmental and the list goes on and on. But, in godly wisdom Paul gives us some idea of how to face our foes and his ideas come straight from the book of Joshua. God is unchanging and His ways are unchanging. What worked then works now.
God told Joshua that He was about to defeat the enemies of Jericho, but there was a condition that must be obeyed scrupulously. They were not to take any of the riches of the city lest they make the Israelite camp subject to annihilation and cause a disaster. The same is true for us. We are not to take any of the riches of the enemy we face: “all that is in the world (the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the arrogance produced by material possessions) is not from the Father, but is from the world” [1John]
In 2Cor 10 Paul tells us more: the riches of this world are the enemy’s stronghold: the arguments or reasonings that are hostile to Christ and His Word. These are the philosophies, reasonings, schemes of the world. The battle is in the mind and therefore we must take captive these enemies to the obedience of Christ. God has given us the weapons. We are but jars of clay and He wants to fill our jar with His promises and power. Here are a few.
2Cor 10:6 take every thought captive. Bind them and destroy them just as Joshua was to do to Jericho.
Eph 6/Ps 119:11 we have the sword of the Word, thus hide it in our heart. Memorize it and use it when the enemy comes
Is 41:10/Matt 28/Heb 13:5 I am with you and will never leave you nor forsake you. This is God’s promise just as it was with Joshua and the Israelites.
Ps 50:15 Call upon me in the day of trouble. That is our weapon of prayer.
Ph 4:19 I will supply all your needs. Whatever the battle is before you, God has what you need.
Today wherever the enemy has you in his stronghold, apply these to your situation and see the walls that he has erected come tumbling down so you can walk freely from the enemy’s camp into the newness of life that God has for you. You are the Rahab that God has saved, now go forth and proclaim the victory.