v1 Moses, the man who had served the *Lord, had died. Then the *Lord spoke to Joshua, son of Nun, who had helped Moses. v2 ‘Moses, my servant, is dead. Now you and all these people must get ready to cross the river Jordan. You, the *Israelites, will go into the land that I intend to give you’, the *Lord said. v3 ‘I have given to you every part of the ground that you walk upon. I promised Moses that I would do this. v4 You will have all the land between the southern desert and the northern mountains of Lebanon. It will be from the river Euphrates, to the Great Sea in the west. You will have all the land of the Hittite people. v5 No one can stop you from taking this land as long as you live. As I was with Moses, I will always be with you. I will never leave you alone. v6 Be strong and do not be afraid. You will lead these people to take the land. That is the land that I promised to give to their *ancestors. v7 Be strong and do not be afraid. Be careful to do all the things that Moses told you. Remember to do everything that he told you to do. Then everything will be well with you. You will win, everywhere that you go. v8 You must continue to speak about the words of God’s law. Think about what it says, all the time. Then you will be careful to obey it. Then you will help yourselves to do well, and to win. v9 Remember that I have told you to do this. So be strong and do not be afraid. Do not be weak but be brave. I, the *Lord your God, will be with you, everywhere that you go.’
Verses 1, 2 Moses had died. Moses had to die before Joshua and the *Israelites could go into the *promised land. (God had told Moses that Moses would not enter the *promised land. This was because he had not obeyed God. See Numbers 20:1-13.) The *Israelites had to enter the *promised land to know completely the goodness of God. Many Christians are like this. Paul wrote, ‘You must not live as you used to live. You must leave behind your old character. It made you live that bad life. The bad things that you did were hurting you. You must have a new mind. You must put on the new character that is like God’s *holy character. You must only do the things that are good and *holy’ (Ephesians 4:22-24).
The death of Moses is like a picture that shows new opportunities. Until now, Joshua had only been a helper. He was the assistant to Moses. Now he had new responsibilities. It was important that he accepted these responsibilities. God’s work could not continue until Joshua accepted his new responsibilities. God could not bless his people until Joshua led them into the *promised land. God brought them out to bring them in.
So it is with us. We must not expect other people to do all the work. God calls each one of us to work for him.
Verses 1-9 God gave Joshua three things to do.
God also gave Joshua a promise for each of these instructions.
Verses 5, 9 God had been with Moses. Now God promised Joshua that he would be with Joshua also. Before Joshua set out to attack Jericho, God appeared to Joshua to encourage him. We, too, can know that the same God is with us (Matthew 28:20). He is with us as we work for him.
Verse 6 Before Joshua could lead his people, he, too, had to put his *faith into action. He had to be strong and not be afraid. God had to work by him, not just for him. He could not do nothing and watch God do it all.
God has given to us all the good things that we need (see Ephesians 1:3). We must step out with *faith and claim these *blessings. We cannot stand still. The *Israelites could not receive the *blessings of God until they moved forward. We will not enjoy the *blessings of God if we are lazy. We cannot simply do nothing.
Verses 7-8 Joshua only had the first five books of the Bible as God’s law. Moses had written these. They were a guide for the people. It was important to remember them and to repeat them (see Deuteronomy 6:1-9). Joshua could also remember things that Moses had said.
We have the word of God, the Bible. It is our guide for life. We must make it our regular habit to read it. We must obey it.
v10 So Joshua spoke to the leaders of the people. v11 ‘Go through all the places where the people live’, he said. ‘Tell them to get food ready for a journey. In three days or less, you will cross the river Jordan. Then you will begin to take the land for yourselves. This is the land that the *Lord, your God, is giving to you’, Joshua said.
v12 Moses had given land east of the Jordan to the *tribes of Reuben, Gad and the *half-tribe of Manasseh. Then Joshua spoke to these *tribes. v13 ‘Remember what Moses told you’, he said. ‘The *Lord your God is giving you a rest. He has given you this land. v14 Your wives, children and animals can stay in this land that Moses gave to you, east of the Jordan. However, your fighting men must cross the river, with their arms. They must go in front of their *Israelite relatives. You must help them v15 until the *Lord gives rest to them. This will be like the rest that he has given to you. When all the other *tribes are safe in the *promised land, you may return to your land. It is the land that Moses gave to you east of the Jordan.’
v16 ‘We will do whatever you tell us. In addition, we will go everywhere that you send us’, they answered Joshua. v17 ‘As we always obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. The *Lord your God was with Moses. We only ask that the *Lord will be with you too. v18 Someone might not agree with your word. He might not obey it. We will make certain that he dies. But be very strong and be brave. Do not be afraid.’
Verse 10, 11 Joshua was a man with *faith. The *promised land was on the west side of Jordan. The *Israelites were still on the east side. He told his people that they should get ready to cross the river Jordan. They had to get food ready. That was all! He did not tell them to make some boats! He did not tell them how they would cross the river. He had *faith to realise that God would take care of everything. THE GOD WHO DID IT FOR MOSES COULD DO IT FOR HIM TOO.
Very often, we want to know all the answers before we trust God to do anything for us. But we should have *faith. We should trust God.
Verses 12-15 The *tribes of Reuben, Gad and the *half-tribe of Manasseh liked the land east of the river Jordan. It was good for their animals. They asked if they could make their home there. Moses had agreed, but first they had to help the rest of the people to fight for their land.
They did not make their home in the *Promised Land. They failed to have a share in all that God wanted them to have there. The land at the east of the Jordan was only part of what God wanted his people to receive.
This is like Christians who do not get completely involved in Christian things. They do not go to church very often. They do not meet with other Christians. They do not help in their local church. So they do not get all that God wants them to have.
Verse 12 The *tribe of Joseph became two tribes. These tribes came from Joseph’s two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh.
Verses 16-18 The leaders of the people encouraged Joshua in three ways.
We must encourage our Christian leaders in the same way. If we want God to bless us, we must encourage other people. We must pray for our leaders. We must obey them.