Note: At North Baptist Church we are currently on a 31 week journey through the entire Bible. Called The Story, this journey finds us discussing the same Bible passage in our personal reading time, the sermon, Adult Bible Fellowships, and Small Groups. I figured I would post a few thoughts each week as I go through my lesson prep.
At the start of Week 7 of The Story, we find the nation of Israel in a state of change. Moses—the only leader they had known—is dead, replaced by Joshua. They are on the plains of Moab, a stones throw away from the Promised Land. The new generation is waiting to conquer this land, completing the task their parents couldn’t in Kadesh Barnea 40 years earlier. As readers, we look at the start of Joshua and wonder if this generation will actually conquer the land, or if they will suffer the same fate as their parents by dying outside the land.
God’s instructions to Joshua sets a new tone for the Israelites. First, he says that this generation will indeed enter and conquer the Promised Land; the nation will conquer all the land they walk upon (Joshua 1:3). Second, God tells Joshua to “be strong and courageous” (verse 6) – a charge God repeats two more times in this brief speech. This language contrasts with the response of the first generation at the edge of the Promised Land, who wilted and were terrified at the prospect of conquering a land filled with giants and fortified cities (Numbers 13:28). God is saying “The people and leadership were terrified back then. This time will be different; you will have confidence and assurance – you WILL conquer the land!“
That is great, but why should Joshua be confident? How does he know that the nation will conquer the land? What is this confidence based on?
God provides the answer to that as well in his short speech in Joshua 1. God promises Joshua faithfulness all his days (vv. 5, 9). He also restates the nature of the conquest: it is not the nation that will take the land from the Canaanites; it is God that is giving the land to them (v. 2). And those giants dwelling in the land? They are nothing; God says “no man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life” (v. 5).
Joshua’s confidence is based not on his strength nor the strength of his army. Instead, it is based on the strength and might of God. Man’s trust in God and God’s power over all is put on display at the first siege and battle, located at the town of Jericho. Without lifting a weapon, the people of Israel destroyed an entire town. It was done by the lifting of a ram’s horn, a prolonged shout from the nation, and the hand of the Lord.
Join us this week in Adult Bible Fellowship as we look more at the conquest of the Promised Land, as well as how we should place our confidence in God’s work.
(Image credit: FMSC)Tweet