FRIDAY, DECEMBER 14
SCRIPTURE: JOSHUA 1
By: Jeremy Witt
Moses has died. The nation is nearing the end of the time of mourning for Moses. They are camped on the east bank of the Jordan River. It has been 39 years since they received God’s law at Mount Sinai. Joshua is beginning to take the mantle of leadership. God appointed him in Numbers 27:18-23. Joshua was one of the two only eyewitnesses to the Egyptian plagues and the Exodus along with Caleb. Joshua was Moses aide for 40 years.
Joshua was an eyewitness to what Moses endured and learned much about what it takes to lead people, especially people who could be as belligerent, obnoxious, and difficult as God’s people. Now they are about to move into the Promised Land which they will have to take by force, they are going to need a new type of leader, a military leader rather than a shepherd type leader as Moses was.
Moses had done everything possible to make a change in leadership successful. This is critical to us today. It is true for countries. It is true for business, and it is true in our lives. When this transition is not done well, we get what our world has today, and yes, this includes the USA.
I can’t imagine the things that Joshua felt or thought as he began to lead. Fears had to be creeping into his mind. These Israelites were not the easiest group of people to lead. Doubt would try to press into his thoughts, and God spoke truth and confidence into Joshua’s life in verse 5 and following. God knows exactly what we need and gives it to us at the perfect time. We may not be Joshua or facing the exact situation, but the truth of Scripture is that God will not leave us or forsake us. We do that to Him, or at least I sure have. The principle that we really need to get and cement in our hearts and minds is that God is true to His Word. He never breaks a promise. May we be like Joshua and trust and believe the Words of God.
Verses 6-8 will be repeated in Joshua and throughout Scripture. These words are critical for the people then and likewise for us today. We will face difficult tasks, so we must be strong and courageous. God’s laws give us structure, guidelines, and wisdom, so we should obey them. We should be in God’s Word to give us wisdom and discernment. The principles here were key for Joshua as a leader and key for us today.
In verse 10, Joshua begins to make plans, and gives instructions to the people. He speaks to key leaders and informs them of what to do, and in doing so, the people respond in verses 16-18. Do you notice that the people encourage Joshua as well in verse 18? They tell him to be strong and courageous.
A leader needs encouragement. They need support and strength. Knowing people support you are a vital bit of encouragement for difficult days and difficult decisions. I am sure at times the people may not have understood the how’s or why’s, but they followed Joshua and trusted him, but more importantly stood behind him. This is something we do not see much of today. Individual opinions and ideas can be helpful at moments, but when it comes to a group, individuality can cripple the vision, plan, and mission of a group. We see this both positively and negatively through the Israelites in their beginning to the present. May we discern and apply these things to our lives today.