It’s been a full few weeks as I’ve had the opportunity to visit many of our young missionaries with Cru who are serving throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and others who are in North Africa, the Middle East, and Europe.
These people are some of my heroes. So I prayed quite a bit about what to share with them. I simply wanted bring them encouragement – I wanted to help strengthen their determination to walk with God and to go after the mission He has put on their lives. As I thought of how God has encouraged me these past several months, I immediately thought of the first chapter of Joshua.
Here’s the scene: Moses, the most iconic and famous leader Israel has ever known, has just died. The people must be anxious and wondering what’s next. God calls Joshua to lead in this context. Here is what the God of the universe says to encourage this new leader:
Remember God’s Promise (1:1-4, 6, 11, 15)
“Moses my servant is dead. You go and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give them – to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.”
Whatever your situation remember God’s promises. Here God reminds Joshua that He has promised to give the nation of Israel the Promised Land. Moses has died but God’s promise lives on. (Joshua 1 is actually rooted in Genesis 12. Genesis 12:6-7, 13:14-15, 15:7, 18-21, 17:8, 24, 26:3-4, 28:13-14, 35:12, 48:3-4, 50:24)
What promises of God do you need to remember today?
Remember God’s Presence (1:5, 9, 17)
“No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses so I am with you.”
This second promise highlights God’s presence. What’s interesting is that these very simple and pure words were spoken of once before to Moses in Exodus 3:12 – who basically said “ask someone else” when God called him to face Israel and Pharaoh.
Moses has died but God’s presence lives on in Joshua now – and it is because of this assurance that Joshua can be strong and bold. I think that’s pretty cool. (2:24, 3:7, 10, 4:14, 6:27, 10:14, 42, 13:6, 14:12, 21:44, 23:3, 10.)
Do you ever wonder where God is in the midst of your circumstances? Are you sensing God calling you to something big that will require courage? Remember God’s presence.
Remember God’s Word (1:7-8)
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the laws my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.”
Do you want to be successful wherever you go? I do.
The Bible clearly teaches that a successful life is one that is lived in obedience to God. How do we do that? Again we see it crystal clear here throughout Joshua, “Do not turn from it (God’s Word) to the right or to the left.” (22:5, 23:6, 8:30-35)
I did my undergrad studies at UC Irvine (which was awesome because I lived in Newport Beach). My senior year I skipped my Botany class whenever the surfing were good, which was not the best thing for my Botany grade. The midterm came and I failed miserably.
I went to the professor and asked for extra credit to boost my grade to at least pass the class. I remember him asking me this simple question: “Shane, did you know the material?”
“Uh, well, no. I guess not.”
I failed because I was unprepared. I was not set up well because I didn’t know the material. To succeed in life – which God definitely wants for us – we obey Him by obeying his law. We know how to live a life pleasing to God by reading and studying his word on our own and with others.
As you hit the many challenges life throws at you remember that God’s word is what we ultimately need to be successful.
Take some time and read Joshua 1. Look over the other memory verses I’ve put under each point. Pray through them asking God to help you as you remember His promises, His presence, and His word.