On the path of life our walk is often be filled with unforeseen challenges. What lies ahead? How will you deal with the challenges that you will be facing? The answer is in your mindset as you approach these challenges. How you take each step that leads to these unknowns will determine how you will handle those challenges.
In the story of Joshua we are given God’s model for success in this life. The precious truth about our God is that He does not leave us to walk alone and feel blindly through this life. He leads us by the hand with His Word, and often carries us through the roughest waves of the storm. Through His Word He gives us confidence to take the next step of life.
Consider Joshua as he is ordained by God to be the leader following the beloved Moses. The task that lays before him was a monumental one. How could he lead this people who for the past 40 years had been wandering in the dessert because of unbelief? Aside from unbelief, these people could be defined as murmurers and complainers. This was an incredibly large and difficult group to lead into a land they had yet to call their own which was filled with many unknowns. How could Joshua take on this task and be successful?
In the first chapter we find God speaking with Joshua. God tells him some things to remember as well as specific ways to respond. In this passage we see God’s promises as bookends surrounding His commands.—Remember & Respond!!
Remember GOD’S promise—“Know this!” Here we begin by seeing what we are to remember. Consider this promise, in verse 5, as a stabilizing truth. God says to Joshua, “…as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” God’s promise to Joshua is that He will ALWAYS be with him each step of the way. Joshua will NOT have to face any challenges alone. The same is true for us, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).
This promise sets up what follows. In order to be successful in our response we must remember what God says. Remember that success in our Christian lives is based upon our obedience to God and His Word.
Respond to GOD’S Commands—“Do this!” Here we see what we are to respond to.
Consider the 1st command: Be confident because of God’s Word—“be thou strong” (v. 7). God is telling Joshua to “be strong”—be confident because of God’s Words of promise. “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light [symbol of guidance] unto my path [way of life]” (Psalm 119:105). God’s Word is given to provide light so as to be able to walk through this life successfully. His Word is the key to our faithfulness and usefulness. “…He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3b). Be confident that the way our Shepherd leads us is the righteous way and the best way. He puts His name on it. “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” (Philippians 1:6). Be confident that He will complete the work that He starts in us.
Consider the 2nd command: Be fearless because of God’s Word—“be thou very courageous” (v. 7). Joshua’s courage was to be in God—he could be fearless through the unknowns before him because of what God had said to him—“I will be with thee.” Remember God’s Word and respond without fear. “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness” (Isaiah 41:10).
Consider the 3rd command: Be obedient to the Word—“observe to do according to all the Law” (v. 7). Joshua’s ability to obey was directly related to his confidence in the truth. God commanded Joshua to “observe” or take special care to obey ALL the commandments. Take special care that you show, by your actions, that you hold the commandments of God in high esteem for they are invaluable. When we remember that God has our best interests in mind it will change how we respond to His commandments. Our best is ultimately God’s glory.
Just as God commands Joshua, He also commands us to be obedient to everything in His Word. “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the Word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” (James 1:22-25) “Observing to do,” what God says results in blessing—hearing and NOT doing results in self deception.
Consider the 4th command: Be guided by the Word—“turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest” (v. 7). This is a call to submission. When we are confident in Who God is—that He is sovereign and in full authority; when we are fully persuaded about His character and His desire for us is what is best for us—then our submission to Him will not be so difficult. We will then respond by being guided by Him through His Word. The result is “prosperous” or wise living.
Consider the 5th command: Be vocal about the Word—“this book of the Law shall not depart out of thy mouth” (v. 8). God commands Joshua that His Word should always be present in Joshua’s conversation. He should always be speaking about God and His Word. When you are confident in Who God is and what He has done for you this shouldn’t be very difficult. When you remember the “mercies of God” (Romans 12:1) you will be vocal in response about the greatness of your God.
Consider the 6th command: Be daily in the Word—“thou shalt meditate therein day and night” (v. 8). God wants Joshua to daily meditate upon His Word. To meditate is the same process as worrying where you are constantly looking at something from every possible angle. The difference is the content of what you are focusing on. Meditating upon God’s Word is a great help as it brings peace and quietness where worrying about our circumstances bring only noise and unrest into our lives. The Bible further tells us, “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly [abundantly] in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Colossians 3:16)
Remember GOD’S promise—“Know this!” Here again we see what we are to remember. This is the other bookend surrounding God’s commands.
Consider the next promise: Know success as promised in the Word—“then thou shalt have good success” (v. 8). This is clearly NOT the definition of worldly success. We can chase the world’s success but as Solomon says it’s like “chasing the wind” (Ecclesiastes 5:16) as it is a sure waste of time. The God who “cannot lie” (Titus 1:2) promises that handling His Word His way leads to success—remember and respond!
Consider this final promise: Know encouragement from the Word—“for the LORD thy God is with thee” (v. 9). Notice that the Lord ends with the promise He began with—“I will be with you!”
Look at WHO is commanding Joshua. As God speaks to him He is saying “remember WHO AM I? What have I done? AM I worthy to be obeyed? Do My words ring hollow because My past has been contrary to what I AM commanding you now? AM I not the great I AM? AM I not the One who parted the Red Sea? AM I not the One who gave you water to drink from a rock in the desert? Have I ever done anything to prove to you that I am unfaithful or that I cannot be trusted?” Consider these words as questions to you.
The most important questions to ask are “Who are you Lord?” and “What do you want me to do?” And so to each of us I say, “REMEMBER and RESPOND! Remember WHO your God is and what He has done for you.” In turn “respond with fearless obedience being confident in HIM, knowing that what God promises, HE is sure to bring it to pass.”