“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Joshua 1 v 6
God’s plan for the people of Israel began to be unfolded right back in the days of Abram, some 750 years before Joshua set out to conquer this Promised Land. (Gen 12 vv 1, 6 and 7) ‘The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. …. Abram travelled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. The LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the LORD, who had appeared to him.’
That long interval had included such events as the totally unexpected birth of a son, Isaac, to Abraham; the deceit of Jacob in gaining the blessing of his father; the arrogance of young Joseph before he ends up a slave in Egypt; the whole nation enslaved in Egypt before being led out by Moses; and finally those long years of wandering in the desert waiting to enter the land of promise. It must have seemed an impossible dream to many of the people – ‘A land of our own!’
But God…..! How often that sentiment occurs in the Bible. God has a plan and He will not be frustrated. He has made a promise, and this book sees the nation coming into its own at last.
It is for just this moment that God has been patiently preparing Joshua. He had been there alongside Moses when God gave them the Ten Commandments (Exodus 24 v 13) ‘Then Moses set out with Joshua his aide, and Moses went up on the mountain of God.’ So with Moses now dead Joshua takes command. What a daunting task that must have been, what footsteps to follow in!
So Joshua needs all the encouragement he can get. God, who has been so faithful to Moses in the past, now states the end point before the first faltering steps have been taken by Joshua. ‘You will .. will .. lead these people to inherit the land. ‘ The time has come at last.
For reflection: To what task has God called you? You can rely on Him to encourage you through it to completion. So … Get on with it!