Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success (Joshua 1:7-8).
Preparing to enter the promised land, Joshua needed encouragement, because humanly speaking the task ahead of him seemed daunting and intimidating. For many pioneers, the task ahead seems intimidating and they need encouragement, and God gave it to Joshua. There’ll be no going back to the previous era, for Moses is dead and buried.
But Moses had passed on something precious to Joshua: the law of the Lord. And it was this law that Joshua was to be utterly focussed on. Later, Paul commanded us to “…Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armour of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Eph.6:11).
This wasn’t going to be a walk in the park for Israel, for they had some big fights ahead, and Joshua knew it. And Moses had warned them: “When you go out to battle against your enemies and see horses and chariots more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them” (Deut.20:1). They would not just have to confront their enemies, but also the fear of their enemies, which was really the main issue. This was what had put them off their game when the twelve spies returned from spying out the land, and ten of them had whined, “This is going to be all too hard.”
Joshua wasn’t to be focussed on his career, but he was to find his career within obedience to the law. This was reflected by Jesus Himself, when He commanded us to “… seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you” (Mat.6:33).
Joshua wasn’t to be focussed on his family, but was to identify his proper attitude to his family from within the law, and his calling. Once again, Jesus warned us about the possibility of family idolatry: “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of Me” (Mat.10:37). He later put this differently:
While He was still speaking to the crowds, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him. Someone said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.” But Jesus answered the one who was telling him and said, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” and stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of Mt Father who is in heaven he is My brother and sister and mother” (Mat.12:46-50).
This commitment to God and His word ought to be in every generation of course, and if it isn’t it will fail, just as we see a continual downhill slide from generation to generation in the Book of Judges. The Church has been on the back foot now for three hundred and fifty years, walking off the battlefield before a shot is fired.
All this nonsense will have to stop, but it won’t stop until a generation takes the law of the Lord seriously again. And the Bible speaks of this:
Praise the Lord! How blessed is the man who greatly delights in His commandments. His descendents will be mighty on earth; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever (Ps.112:1-3).