In about 1405 b.c. a book of the Bible was written.  This book was written to capture the movements of God amongst the people of Israel, specifically as it relates to the promise God had given his people.  The promise that God had given his people was one that He would make them a great nation and that He had given them a promised land.  A land filled with milk and honey.  A land of abundance and promise.  A land to which they could call their own and more importantly a land in which He would be their God and they would be his people.  If we look through the entire Bible we see one constant feature throughout the scriptures.  We are God’s creation and our Lord desires to be a part of his creation in every aspect.  No, God does not need his creation but He desires to be their God and He desires to reveal himself to His people.  Within this nature of our Lord we see a truth, that God gives mankind a promise.

This promise is not the generic promise that is evidenced throughout all scripture to all mankind.  Although this promise is amazing in and of itself, it is a promise that is specifically given to each man or woman of God, not always within specific word but evidenced within the life of these men and women.  What do I mean by this?  Well let’s just take a moment to look at various major figures throughout scripture.

  • Noah, a man of God, one whom found favor in the eyes of God. Our Lord in Genesis 6 finds favor upon the life of Noah, so He tells him to build an ark so that He can save his family and his creation.  Noah does what God commands him and for this God fulfills his promise and from Noah’s family mankind is reborn.
  • Abraham in a similar fashion is promised that he will have a son and that from his lineage a nation will be born. Although Abraham never got to fully experience the significance of God’s promise, Abraham’s faithfulness revealed the beginning of a promise that he would probably never fully grasp.
  • Turning to the New Testament, our Lord promises Peter that instead of fishing for fish, that He will fish for men. Taking a step of faith as evidenced in the life of Noah and Abraham and all the other men and women of God, Peter puts down his nets, his livelihood to discover a promise that He could have never have imagined as the head of the church in Jerusalem.
  • Finally, Saul an individual who oversaw the ravaging of the early church is struck in a moment by the presence of our Lord on the road to Damascus. In this moment, our Lord reaches into the life of Saul to tell him that He has chosen him in Acts 9 to be a chosen instrument of Christ.  It is in this moment that Saul’s life is forever changed and as a result Saul becomes the most significant figure in the early church and one of the greatest apostles for the Kingdom of Heaven for all eternity.

These are just some illustrations within the scriptures, where individuals live are given a promise by God in their lives.  A specific promise that not only changed their lives forever but also changed the lives of those around them forever.  The impacts of these people not only were felt immediately within the lives of these individuals, even though they at times came short, but their spiritual legacy forever changed the world around them.  Today, if I were to tell you that God has a promise for you just like He gave Abraham or Peter, how would you respond to this statement?  God gives each of us a promise, a promise to which our Lord not only desires to change our lives forever but change the lives of those around us forever.  A promise to which we will be his people and He will be our God.  Today, what is your promise?  What promise has God given you in your life that you hold onto?  What promise by God molds your walk as a believer and is it being realized in your life today?

Let us turn to Joshua 1 today and see the amazing promise that was given to the people of Israel that was revealed through one man.  A man after the heart of God, a man willing to take a step of faith, a man through which Israel and thus all of mankind’s life was forever changed.



Scripture – Joshua 1 (ESV)

God Commissions Joshua

1 After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. 3 Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. 4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. 5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success[a] wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua Assumes Command

10 And Joshua commanded the officers of the people, 11 “Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, ‘Prepare your provisions, for within three days you are to pass over this Jordan to go in to take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.’”12 And to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh Joshua said, 13 “Remember the word that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying, ‘The Lord your God is providing you a place of rest and will give you this land.’ 14 Your wives, your little ones, and your livestock shall remain in the land that Moses gave you beyond the Jordan, but all the men of valor among you shall pass over armed before your brothers and shall help them, 15 until the Lord gives rest to your brothers as he has to you, and they also take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving them. Then you shall return to the land of your possession and shall possess it, the land that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise.”  16 And they answered Joshua, “All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. 17 Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you, as he was with Moses! 18 Whoever rebels against your commandment and disobeys your words, whatever you command him, shall be put to death. Only be strong and courageous.”

Engaging the Word

As we look at this passage today it is first evident that we can’t look at the passage in its entirety.  However, there are a couple of critical elements that we need to understand and embrace out of this text as it relates to our walk in Christ today and specifically the promises of God.

Strong and Courageous

In verse 6 of this passage we see as our Lord tells Joshua to be strong and courageous for he shall cause his people, namely God’s people to inherit that land and that the promise lies before them.  As we look at this instruction it is obviously easy for us to look at Joshua and consider this instruction upon his life as he was about to embark upon a journey into the promise which would mean that he would have to face so much before him.

  • He would have to face giants, cities and people that were a lot bigger than him.
  • He would have to face enemies that were a lot more than him.
  • He would have to face nations that knew the territory a lot better than him.
  • He would have to face individuals, nations and enemies that were for all intents a lot more prepared than him.

So, it is easy for us to look upon Joshua in moments like Jericho and the Canaan Land and understand the context of being of great courage.  Yet, if we take a moment to consider here this instruction upon our lives it is quickly evident that we are also called to be strong and of great courage.  Considering for a moment in our lives,

  • it is evident that each of us face situations that are a lot bigger than us.
  • We face situations in our lives where we are under prepared for what lies before us.
  • We are often faced with situations that are beyond anything that we could ever imagine to conquer in Christ.

Yet our Lord tells us in Psalms 27:1, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?  The Lord is my stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”  This verse is a truth that we need to not only understand but embrace as believers in Christ.  Too often we look at all that lies before us and experience a whittling down of our faith by the very nature of the sin or disbelief in our own hearts and that which surrounds us in this world.  However, our Lord calls us to embrace a hope, a faith that is beyond any other that we could imagine.  A hope and faith in a God that never fails his children.  A God that no matter how high or impossible the task that lies before us, will always reveal his promise in our lives if we will just place our hope and faith in his will and promise alone.  Here in this passage, Joshua who by the way means “Jehovah saves”, is 90 years old.  Joshua only goes on to live another 20 years yet in this 20 years Joshua goes on to see his God bring down the walls of Jericho by his mighty power at the sound of trumpets.  He goes on to see the sun stop in its place so that God can reveal his promise before the people, because Joshua believed the words “be strong and courageous”.  Today, are we strong and courageous?  Do we take that step of faith in the promise that God has given us?  Are we waiting to be better prepared, more organized or more spiritual to accept the promise that God has given us?  Are we waiting for others to accept the promises God has given us or have we taken them in confidence through Christ?

The Path Set Before us

A second aspect of this text that we need to see and understand here today is that our Lord provides a very specific promise to each of us as believers.  In verse 4 of this passage we see as the people of Israel were promised a very specific area from the wilderness to the Euphrates which was east of the Jordan to the land of the Hittites and the great sea on the east.  This land was specifically given to the people of Israel so that that they could understand all that God had given them and so that greed would not take them to places where they were not given by the hand of God.  Unfortunately, too often as children of God we take the promises of God and place them in the control of our own hands.  We see how God has blessed us in a particular area of our lives and we feel that he will surely bless us in the same way in other areas, even though He has not instructed us to go into those areas.  Even within our own lives we feel that God had given us a promise that He will address whatever in our lives, yet we feel that we need to go behind God and make sure that he fixes that particular situation.  God tells us that he will fix our husband’s lack of patience, so we feel that we need to provide lessons in our husbands lives so that he learns the meaning of patience.  Or maybe the Lord has promised that he will deal with our wife’s nagging or gossip, so we feel that we should address our wife’s issues on our own.  Even within our friendship and Christian brotherly and sisterly relationships, we too easily fall into this trap of trying to address the work of God on our own terms or measures.  We go beyond the borders of what God has given us and try in our own strength to take what God has not given us.  God’s work is only experience we need to realize when we give God the opportunity to reveal his work in the life of those promises he gives each of us.  Whether these promises are for our families, our relationships, our ministries, our spiritual lives, all of these measures need to be found in the truth out of Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”.  It is not our understanding, but God’s promise and it is for us to just trust and his promise will be revealed.  It is not our promise, it is God’s promise so let us trust and in the Lord and let him reveal his promise in our lives.


The Scary Road that lies before us

In verse 9 of this passage, we see once again as our Lord tells Joshua to once again be strong and courageous but He also points out that there will be times where we tempted to be frightened and dismayed by what lies before us.  Just consider this for a moment.  Joshua had no idea what lay before him.  Yes, he knew that the people that resided within the promised land were big.  He knew that the promise was good which lay before the people of Israel, but he had no idea how God would bring down the walls of Jericho, nor did he know how the sun would stand still.  Yet in the face of all that lay before him, he did not allow his spirit to be conquered by the spirit of fear and dismay.  Isn’t it funny how too often in our spiritual lives, we allow ourselves to be tainted by the spirit of fear and dismay.  Whether it is experiencing victory in our own lives, or our church, or our ministry, or our families.  We too often allow the fear of this world and dismay of defeat in moments to conquer the lives our spiritual souls.  Yet, God tells us to not be frightened, to not be dismayed.  There will be times we will fall short.  There will be times where we fill frightened by what lies before us.  Yet as Romans 8:31 says, “if God is for us who can be against us”?  That day on the edge of Canaan land, it was not a day of fear.  That day in Ai when Israel was defeated it was not a day of dismay.  Yes, they were perhaps disappointed by the outcome, but they did not allow their moment of defeat, defeat their promise or journey.  Today, if you have faced defeat in your life, God still desires to reveal his victory if you will just stand against the dismay that lies before you.  Today if you stand a crossroads that scares you, God desires to reveal his victory in you if you will just stand against that spirit of fear that lies before you.  Today is a day of victory, the question is whose victory will it be?


Realizing that we have not covered the full breadth of this chapter in Joshua, I pray that over this next week you will take the time to re-read through this chapter to better grapple with the spiritual depth our Lord has for us in this opening chapter.  Today as we have discovered our Lord calls us to a promise, a promise to which our lives will live and experience a fullness that we could never imagine.  A promise that will not only change our lives, but will change the lives of those around us, maybe for many generations to follow.  Within this promise, God also calls us to be strong and courageous, to not allow the giants or lack of preparation to deter us from the promise that God has for us.  However, in our step of faith we are instructed to trust in the strength of our Lord and not on our own understanding.  To not go beyond the boarders which God has given us, but trust in his might and will.  To not embrace our own strength but his presence.  Finally, we are called to not be afraid or dismayed.  That there will be times where we will struggle in our journey, where we will fall short.  However, we are called to not allow the defeat of that moment become the defeat of our lives.  We are called to take that step of faith, even when it scares us to death, for if God is for us, who can be against us.