Joshua 1:7 Be Strong and Very Brave 4/10/2011 ßą
#1. The Law and the Gospel (Josh 1:1-2, Rom 7:1-6, 6:2, 4:8,15, 5:13, 6:7,18,22, 8:1,33, 10:4, 3:31, 7:22, John 8:36, Matt 5:17-18, Eph 2:15, Col 2:14)
#2. Be Strong and Very Brave (Jos 1:6-9, Num 13:16, Matt 1:21)
#3. Have Not I Commanded Thee? (Josh 1:9, Rom 10:17, 8:32)
Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Numbers, Num 33:48 (2X). Gen, Ex, Lev, Numbers. The Prophecy of Numbers is called “Numbers” because the children of Israel were numbered in “Numbers.” In fact they were numbered twice, once in the beginning of their exodus from Egypt and the second time at the end of their 40 years of wandering. One aspect that is not very well known of the Prophecy of Numbers is that it contains a very precise list of all the 41 camping grounds of the children of Israel during their 40 years of wanderings through the wilderness. Their last camping ground before they entered into the land of Canaan was number 41, which was in the land of Moab at the edge of the Jordan River. Here is where we read in Num 33:48-53,
Nu 33:48-53 And they departed from the mountains of Abarim, and pitched in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho. And they pitched by Jordan, from Bethjesimoth even unto Abelshittim in the plains of Moab. And the LORD spake unto Moses in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan; Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places: And ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it.
This passage tells us that about two million Israelites were camped in the plains of Moab on the east side of the Jordan River, ready to cross the Jordan near Jericho. God commanded the children of Israel to drive out the people of the land, and destroy all their idols, and God will be with them to accomplish this task, for the iniquity of the Amorites was full. Here in the land of Moab God caused Moses to die and God buried him in the land of Moab. This was the historical setting of where the children of Israel were before they crossed the Jordan. Let us turn now to the Prophecy of Joshua, Jos 1:1 (2X). The title of this sermon is “Be Strong and Very Brave” which is found four times in this chapter, in verses 6, 7, 9, and 18. This was God’s charge to Joshua and to the children of Israel: Drive out the Canaanites, destroy their graven and molten images, and be strong and very brave, for the Lord God will give you the grace to be strong and very brave. We read here in Jos 1:1-9,
Jos 1:1-9 Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast. There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
This passage does not begin with the word “Now”. The Hebrew text says “And”. It means that this Prophecy of Joshua connects to the end of Deuteronomy. In fact, every Prophecy following, all the way to First Chronicles begins with the word “And”. Can we see what God is declaring to us here? By this simple connective term “And” God is telling us that the Bible is One Book, not 66 books like so many churches teach. This is an important point we need to register in our mind, so that we arrive at the correct interpretation when we read Rev 22:18-19.
#1. The Law and the Gospel (Josh 1:1-2, Rom 7:1-6, 6:2, 4:8,15, 5:13, 6:7,18,22, 8:1,33, 10:4, 3:31, 7:22, John 8:36, Matt 5:17-18, Eph 2:15, Col 2:14)
Moses the law-giver has died, and now Joshua leads the children of Israel into the Promised Land. This was not only historically true, but it was also a picture, or a type of the law and the Gospel. Moses was not allowed to lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land because Moses is a picture of the law of God. Joshua shares the same name as Jesus; Joshua is the Hebrew name and Jesus is the Greek translation of the same name, meaning Jehovah is Salvation. And so, when Joshua leads the children of Israel into the Promised Land, that is a picture of Jesus leading His children, the Israel of God, into the kingdom of God. Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 7:1 (2X). When Christ saved us He made us free, as He said in John 8:36, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed”. It means that He delivered us from our sins, so that when God looks at us He sees no sin. What does that mean in terms of the typology of the law and the Gospel? It means that we have died to the law. The Bible states repeatedly that we have died to sin, for example in Rom 6:2, and since sin is a transgression of the law we have also died to the law, according to Rom 7:4. But let us begin now at Rom 7:1,
Ro 7:1-6 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
This passage speaks of the law and the Gospel. Verse 1 says that every person comes into the world with the law of God ruling over them. Just like the woman is bound by the law to her husband until her husband dies, so every person is bound to the law until one of them dies. The law does not die, for God established the law. The Lord Jesus said in Matt 5:17-18, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Therefore, when we read in Rom 7:4, “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God” we understand that we have died to the law when Christ died, for we were in Christ from before the foundation of the world. The law is not dead. The law still hangs over the heads of those who have not died with Christ, which are all those who never will be saved. But God is adamant in telling us that we have died with Christ and in Christ, and we have been buried with Christ and in Christ, and we have been raised with Christ and in Christ. Can we understand this? No! But do we believe it? Yes! And since we have died with Christ we are delivered from the law, for we read in Rom 7:6, “But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” We were dead when we were held under the law, but now we are under grace. Now we are delivered from the law, so that we should serve in the newness of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, and we should no longer serve in the oldness of the letter of the law. Let us get a confirmation of these truths with some other verses that we have here. Please turn two pages to Rom 4:8 (2X). There God says in Rom 4:8, “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” Who is this man to whom the Lord will not impute even a single sin? He is one of His elect, for the Lord Jesus Christ has taken away all his sins. Drop down to verse 15. God says in Rom 4:15 “Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.” For whom is there no law? For all the elect whose sins have been paid at the cross there is no more transgression of the law, for they have died to the law, and thus they are no longer married to the Law. Drop down to chapter 5, verse 13. God says in Rom 5:13 “For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.” Death reigned from Adam to Moses, for sin was in the world even though Moses had not come yet. And so, why was there sin in the world? Look at verse 12. It was because by one man, Adam, sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. But sin is not imputed to the elect of God for they died with Christ and died to the law. God says in Rom 6:7 “For he that is dead is freed from sin.” God says that if we have died with Christ we are freed from sin. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” God says in Rom 6:18, “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” And so, it is really true that we are made free from sin. The only way we could become servants of righteousness is when we are freed from sin, for if only one sin still clings to our soul, we would be still servants of the Devil. God says in Rom 6:22, “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” What are the results of being freed from sin? We can now be servants of God, and we can produce good works unto holiness, and we can look forward to everlasting life with Christ in the NH&NE. We have already covered Rom 7:4,6, where God says that we have died to the law, and we are delivered from the law. God says in Rom 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” There is no condemnation for all our sins are gone. And the sign that we indeed belong to the elect of God is when “we walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit”, meaning that we are no longer striving to please our flesh, but we are striving to do those things that are pleasing in the sight of God. All these conclusions are supported by other verses from the Epistles. For example we read in Eph 2:15, “Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances (literally: decrees); for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace.” On the cross Christ has abolished in His flesh the enmity between Jews and Gentiles, making us both one by breaking down the wall of partition between us, which was the enmity of the law of commandments given by God in decrees. Another example we find is in Col 2:14, “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances (literally: decrees) that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.” Again God emphasizes that for the elect the law has been taken out of the way, because we have died to the law. This does not refer to just the ceremonial law, for the word “ordinances”, which we find in Eph 2:15 as well as in Col 2:14, should have been translated “decrees”, as decrees from God, referring to the rules and requirements of the Law of Moses, carrying a suggestion of severity and of threatened judgment. We no longer keep a list of the law, but instead we love the Lord Jesus, and if we love Him we want to do those things that are pleasing in His sight. What are those things that are pleasing in the sight of God? If we avoid the things that grieve the Spirit, such as violating His commandments, and we do those things that are pleasing to Him, such as harmonizing verses in the Bible, and witnessing for the Lord Jesus, and loving our spouse, and doing our job as unto the Lord, and so on, we are doing those things that are pleasing in His sight. We could go on and on with many other verses from Romans, but I think I made the point. Therefore we totally agree with Rom 3:31, which says, “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” We do not neglect the law of God, for we read in Rom 7:22, “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man.” But now the law is no longer the law of sin and death, but the law has become our friend, for it is through the law that I came to realize that I needed a Savior. But now, looking at the law I can with delight look at what I am saved from. Praise God for such a great deliverance. And what is the Gospel? What is the Good News? The Good News is that God loved His elect from before the foundation of the world, and if I discover that I have received the faith that came from God, then I belong to His elect. If I discover that I believe everything that the Bible tells me from cover to cover, and that the love of God for Christ has been poured into my heart, and that there has been a thirst in my life for the spiritual things of God’s Word, then I know that this has been produced by a miracle from God in my heart; He has circumcised my heart. It means that God loved me from everlasting past. I cannot say that my lifestyle and my actions have anything to do with that, for I know that I am not saved by my good works or for my good works, for that is just dirty rotten pride. But if I believe that I am saved by grace, then the faith I received as a free gift from God was the evidence that God saved me. All of this came into focus when I read in Jos 1:1-2 that Moses died and now I am being led by Joshua, representing the Lord Jesus Christ, into the glorious kingdom of God. Please return again to the Prophecy of Joshua, Jos 1:5 (2X).
God gave Joshua a Divine encouragement in Jos 1:5, and there we read, “There shall not any man be able to
stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” This was the Great Commission to Joshua, and to the children of Israel. These words remind us of the words God spoke in Heb 13:5-6, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” What has conduct to do with the invasion of the land of Canaan? We must realize that the Bible was written also to us, to give us instruction in moral issues as well as instruction in types and figures of Christ and of the Gospel. Historically Joshua and the children of Israel were going to invade the land of Canaan. But when we apply these words to us it does not mean that we physically are going to fight against the Canaanites; that was 3500 years ago. But what we should see in there are the battles that we face when we enter the kingdom of God here on earth. As children of God we want to do those things that are pleasing in the sight of God. And thus we are going to do battle with the giants in the land. For example, we want to get rid of our smoking habit; that is a big giant we want to fight. The only time we should smoke is when we get angry at sin, or when we have to listen to a false prophet on the radio. But smoking cigarettes is killing ourselves, and God said: Thou shalt not kill. Take me as your example: I smoked for 15 years from age 15 to age 30. Then I quit. Fifty years later I pay the price by contracting some emphysema. Another giant we need to fight is to cross out ourselves and give God all the honor and the glory. That is a great big giant, for we are inclined to be proud people. I used to be a proud self-made man, until I read Romans chapter 9. Our pride really gets in the way of many doctrines in our theology. But God will help us a little by throwing our face in the mud, and He makes us realize that this giant really must die. Other giants we need to fight are covetousness, and eating too much, and laziness, and so on. You get the drift of what I mean. And see, this is why I brought up Heb 13:5-6, and this is how conduct fits into the line of thought here. We must “be content with such things as we have”, for if God has not given us everything that we want to have, then God in His wisdom decided that we do not need them. And thus we must “be content with such things as we have”, for God says in Rom 8:32, “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” and that refers to all things that we truly need. And if our conduct does not measure up to what is expected of a child of God, then our witness falters.
And so, what was Joshua’s response to this Great Commission? He immediately commanded the officers of the people to prepare provisions, for they should be ready to pass over the Jordan within three days, and he made arrangements to send out two spies to spy out the city of Jericho. How does that apply to us? What is our Great Commission? We cannot say that we have not heard our Great Commission. We read in Matt 28:18-20,
Mt 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.
Are we immediately ready to go out to obey the Lord’s Great Commission? I do not think I have to tell you this but we are typical church people. We are not “gung ho” like missionaries are. Even though the Lord told us plainly “There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee”, or He said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me”, or He said, “how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” Or He said, “and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world”, we are not impressed with these well sounding words from God. This is the complacency and the weak faith of the church in the end time, and this is one of the reasons why the church of the end time loses out against the Mormons and the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Moslems, for the children of darkness are much more active than the children of light. This is a solid fact of our days. We do not have to deny it.
#2. Be Strong and Very Brave (Jos 1:6-9, Num 13:16, Matt 1:21)
Jos 1:6-9 Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
Three times does God say here in this passage, “Be strong and of a good courage”, which literally says in the Hebrew text, “Be strong and brave”, or in verse 7 God says, “Be strong and very brave.” What is the meaning of this, and what is the meaning of the prosperity gospel that is apparently in this passage? First, from our discussion of the law and the Gospel we understand that God’s promises are not meant to set aside His law as unimportant, but those promises are given to encourage us to do with all our hearts and might whatever He has commanded us to do. Joshua had to act to engage in battle without hesitation. And why? It is because the omnipotent God, the living God, had declared that not a man should be able to stand before him, and that God would not fail nor forsake him. Then what was there to fear? Therefore Joshua had sufficient reason to be strong and brave. If God be for us, who can be against us? Secondly, we need to remember WHO God has put in charge of this operation. We read in Num 13:16, “And Moses called Oshea the son of Nun Jehoshua.” The name Jehoshua is derived from “Hoshea”. Start with “Hoshea” which means Salvation. Then add to it “Yah” which stands for Yahweh, or Jehovah, and you get Jehoshua, or Joshua, which means “Jehovah is Salvation”, or “Jehovah is Deliverer”. Whenever a Canaanite would ask an Israelite, “Who is your leader?” the Israelite would answer, “Joshua, or Jehovah is our Deliverer, or Jehovah is our Salvation”. Thus the name Joshua was a constant reminder to the OT congregation that “Salvation is of the Lord”, meaning that only the Lord determines who is going to be saved. The same can be said for the Lord Jesus. How did Jesus get His name? We read in Matt 1:21, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins”. Who are His people? They are ALL those whom He came to save from their sins, which are the elect remnant from the Jews plus the elect remnant from the Gentiles. If His people would refer only to the Jews, then that would leave me out, which means that in Matt 1:21 Jesus does not save the Gentiles from their sins. That is an unacceptable conclusion. Again we are reminded that “Salvation is of the Lord”. And thus, when we ask who God has put in charge of this operation, we have to answer that it is Joshua, or Jesus, which both have the same name. Thirdly, the prosperity gospel is not at all in this passage. The end of verse 7 says literally, “That thou mayest act wisely withersoever thou goest”. The word “prosper” is not at all in this verse. The end of verse 8 says literally, “For then thou shalt prosper thy way, and then thou shalt act wisely”. It is the same Hebrew word meaning “to act wisely” which has been translated in verse 7 as “prosper”, and in verse 8 as “have good success”. And thus, our understanding of verses 7 and 8 is now completely changed from a prosperity gospel to a spiritual Gospel. No longer is material prosperity and good success in view, but to act wisely. And so, the word “prosper” that remains in verse 8 should be understood as spiritually prospering, or spiritually growing in the grace and the knowledge of the Lord.
Now, let us look carefully at these three injunctions, or commands, that God gave here in verses 6, 7, and 8 and then we see that these are three humanly impossible tasks. Take verse 8 for example: “Take this Book of the law, meditate therein day and night, and do ALL that is written therein”. Humans cannot do that. We cannot obey the law of God according to ALL that is written therein. God never expected that of us, for the law was given to us to show us our need for a merciful Savior. God says in Gal 3:18, “For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise”. In other words, eternal life does not come by obeying the law, that is impossible, but eternal life is a gift from God, and He gave it to Abraham by promise. Drop down to verse 24. God says in Gal 3:24, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith”. The law was our teacher to teach us that we need a Savior, who is given to us by grace through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God. Now take verse 7 for example: You must “observe to do according to ALL the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee”. Again, the same arguments apply here as in verse 8. This is humanly impossible to do, for we humans are not built to serve the Lord by obeying the Lord in ALL the law that He gave to Moses. Let us now look at verse 6. The literal translation of Jos 1:6 is, “Be strong and brave, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land which I swore to their fathers, to give to them”. What does the land signify? It represented the kingdom of God. This is the same word “land” that God promised to Abraham that he would inherit the “land”, and we know from Rom 4:13 that Abraham would be the heir of the world, no not this sin cursed world, but the kingdom of God. Joshua could not cause this people to inherit the kingdom of God, for only Christ can cause people to inherit the kingdom of God by dying on a cross for them.
And so, all three injunctions, all three commands that God gave in Jos 1:6, 7, and 8 are humanly impossible. Only the Lord Jesus Christ can do these things. Do we have to understand these words this literally? Well, does God mean what He says? If we believe God, then we take the whole Bible literally, for God means what He says. Let us look again at the three conditions that God imposed on Joshua. #1. God did not say in verse 8 “This Book shall be continually in your mind”, but God said “It shall not be out of your mouth”. In other words, “you must be speaking the words contained in this Book and meditating on these words day and night”. This is what you must do continually. #2. God says in verse 8, “That thou mayest observe to do according to ALL that is written therein.” That is no small task. No Israelite before Joshua has been able to do that; not even Moses and Aaron. Just think of the Ten Commandments which are listed twice in this Book. The Lord Jesus rephrased those Commandments like this: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind and thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”. We know that no single human being can do that to God’s satisfaction. #3. God says in verse 8, “Thou shalt make thy way prosperous”, or literally, “Thou shalt prosper thy way”. Is that possible? We know that only God decides if man’s way is going to be prosperous or not. It is entirely God’s doing if we have a plenteous harvest. But here God is saying to Joshua, “You are going to make your way prosperous; You are going to determine your own future.” And then God says, “Thou shalt act wisely”. We know that Joshua did not act wisely at least on one occasion. Therefore we are directed by God to look for the spiritual interpretation of these three verses, and we need to take our eyes away from the historical interpretation.
Christ has the words of this Book in His mouth from before the foundation of the world. He does not sleep or slumber. He speaks the words of this Book to mankind day and night. The words of this Book are in His mouth like a twoedged sword. Christ is the only one who obeyed the law perfectly. He is the sinless Lamb of God. He must obey the law perfectly, or else He will not qualify to be our Savior. Christ is the one who causes His way to prosper. He paid for it on the cross and He made the transaction perfect and complete by also rising from the dead. Since He is God, He also is in control of His future. And so, what are the Three Divine Assignments of verses 6-8?
Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Deuteronomy, Deut 31:6. #1. You shall cause this people to inherit the kingdom of God. For this, Lord Jesus, it is necessary that you die for them on a cross, and that you atone for their sins. #2. You must be subject to all the law of Moses. The law demands that the price You have to pay is equivalent to eternal damnation. You must be strong and courageous because there will be many temptations. You must obey the law perfectly so that You act wisely within the confines of the law, for You must qualify to be the Savior. #3. The first time You came as the Savior, now You shall come as the Judge. You shall judge the earth with the Word of God. Remarkably most of these words can be found in Deut 31:6-8, and there we read,
De 31:6-8 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the LORD hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it. And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.
This passage can be assigned to Joshua, but Jos 1:6-8 definitely has to be assigned to the Lord Jesus Christ. Please turn again to the Prophecy of Joshua, Jos 1:9 (2X).
#3. Have Not I Commanded Thee? (Josh 1:9, Rom 10:17, 8:32)
Jos 1:9, “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage (Lit: Be strong and brave); be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed (Lit: discouraged): for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
In verses 1-2 God showed us the task that Joshua was to carry out, and God gave us the spiritual meaning of the death of Moses (the law) and the advancement of Joshua (Jesus). In verses 3-5 God showed us three Divine attributes Joshua (Jesus) was going to inherit in order to carry out this task, and God showed us how this is applied to our daily life as prophets, priests, and kings. In verses 6-8 God showed us three Divine assignments that were supposed to be given to Joshua, but that only the Lord Jesus could fulfill. And in verse 9 God summarizes the entire task before Joshua, and God says, “Have not I commanded thee?” For the third time Joshua was ordered to be brave. Some might conclude that Joshua was a timid man. But that is not so. Joshua has been leading the battles for Moses several times during the wilderness wanderings of the children of Israel. No, Joshua was not faint hearted. But the triple encouragement that he received indicated that the battles he now was going to engage would be exceedingly fierce. But let us now apply this verse to ourselves. There is a moral courage as well as a physical courage. There are many who are endowed with physical courage lack in moral courage. They flinched not in the face of enemy’s fire, but they were afraid to be seen reading God’s Word, or they were afraid to address someone’s blasphemy. But God says, “Be strong; you have a Divine protection. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I already given to you to possess. I have given you the whole world for your battleground. And I have made you invincible. I will not fail you nor forsake you. My grace shall be with you wherever you go.”
Do we have the faith to appropriate these words to our soul so that we will indeed be brave? Has the love of God filled our soul so that we want to do all we can to go through this life as a child of the King? How do we increase our faith? God says in Rom 10:17, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” When we read the Word of God daily, or when we pray and meditate on Words from God that are in our memory, or when we talk with other Christians about our understanding of certain verses, or when we engage in a formal Bible study we are enriching our memory with more words that we hear, and God says that He will use that to open our spiritual ears for more spiritual understanding of His Word and to increase our faith. God will use our activities of hearing the Word of God to increase our understanding and increase our faith. It is as simple as that. And then, in a deeper sense, it is the work of faith to make us familiar with the character of God and with His attributes and to be influenced in our soul by a sense of the same attributes: Faith looks to His majesty as truly as it does to His love, and submits to His authority as truly as it delights in His grace. We then find that His promises bind us to trust Him more. But please realize that all gifts from God are by grace, and by grace alone. God is not a vending machine where we pump in our two cents worth of effort and out comes an abundance of faith, and hope, and love. We cannot expect certain gifts from God because we pray, or because we study the Bible, or because we witness for Jesus. That is not how God operates. We must trust that He will supply us with all our needs, even faith, but it is all a gift from God, and we must be grateful if He does supply our needs. “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” Praise God for His indescribable gift. AMEN. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.