Verse of the Day Devotion: Joshua 1:9
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
Moses has died. God now calls Joshua to take the Jewish people into the promised land. “Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun will be your territory.” Joshua 1:2-4. On a side note, this verse is interesting in that it can be interpreted in an intriguing way. Albert Barnes says it best, “Moses, representing the law, is dead; Joshua, or, as that name is written in Greek, Jesus, is now bidden by God to do what Moses could not – lead the people into the promised land.”
I am pretty confident that Joshua was uneasy with this. Thus, God then gives words of encouragement to Joshua. “No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.” Joshua 1:5. He assures Joshua that He will be constantly with him. No one will be able to stand before him and prevent the work God has called him to do. This is essentially the same promise He gave to Moses. “No man will be able to stand before you; the LORD your God will lay the dread of you and the fear of you on all the land on which you set foot, as He has spoken to you.” Deuteronomy 11:25. Here He explains why no man would be able to stand before him; the LORD your God will lay the dread of you and the fear of you on all the land on which you set foot.
He then tells Joshua not to fear this calling. “Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.” Joshua 1:6. Here God ensures Joshua that he will lead the people and they will possess the land God promised them. Let’s look at the focus verse again. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous!” Joshua 1:9a He is referring back to verse 6. This tells me Joshua was definitely unsure about this. He was around 100 years old, but had never led the anyone into battle before, especially with the goal of conquest. And God was calling him to lead the Israelites into the promised land through conquering the current residents. However, as a loving father does, He encouraged Joshua with these words. “Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9b
There are going to be times where God will call us to do a specific work which we will feel totally unequipped for. Now, I doubt it will be leading an army to overthrow a nation, however, many times the task will seem beyond what we believe we are capable of accomplishing. God would never call us to do anything if He was not going to be there with us. In fact, He will work through us to make it happen. “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13. This will accomplish two things. First, it will be done the way God wants it done. And second, we can rely on Him when we feel out of our comfort zone. All we have to do is submit entirely to Him. This is not always easy, but if we do, who knows what can be accomplished through us.
In closing, God gave Joshua a calling regarding entering the promised land in Joshua 1:2. He then told him to be strong and have courage in Joshua 1:6, then comforted him in his fear in Joshua 1:9. And He does the same with us in our callings. He discloses this calling to us, encourages us and then guides us and actually works through us to do His good pleasure. We know that Israel took over the promised land from Canaan and we also know that He will make us successful in our work for Him. What we need to do is, as Joshua did, trust God that we can fulfill His calling and then submit to Him in all things. Remember, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.