Read: Joshua 1
Moses, the man whose relationship and calling was so unique among men, is now dead. In his place is Joshua, whose courage and faithfulness made him among the only two of the original spies into Canaan to survive the forty year wandering.
The burden passed to Joshua was extraordinary. Not only was Joshua charged with bringing the Hebrews into the Promised Land and putting into place all the national systems Moses had laid out in the Torah, he had to assume authority from a giant man of faith, a man who spoke to Yahweh, a man who Yahweh himself called “the most humble man who lived on the earth” (Num. 12:3). That mantle of responsibility must have been quite intimidating. Talk about big sandals to fill.
But Yahweh had prepared Joshua during those forty years. He had been an eyewitness to Moses’s enormous faith and also to the consequences for disobedience. He’d even had his name changed, from Hoshea to Yehoshua, which means ‘Yah saves’—and not coincidentally is the exact same name as Yeshua, the coming Messiah. This name is a constant reminder to Joshua, and to Israel, that it is God who provides salvation and it is God who will write the next chapter in their story.
By this point in history, Egypt had already weakened the Canaanite cities through a series of battles. They were fairly disorganized vassal city-states with small-time kings from a variety of transplanted tribes. These city-states were obligated to pay tribute to Pharaoh and looked to Egypt to send reinforcements, but from the Biblical narrative and from the historical data it seems as though Egypt wanted no part of another conflict with Israel—they’d already seen what happens when you mess with Yahweh.
So before they move into Canaan, Joshua doesn’t tell the Hebrews that they need to prepare themselves for a long battle that they might not win. He says in effect, “It’s ours—let’s go get it!” He had faith that God had already done the hard work and that he would continue to prepare the way.
Just as Joshua took up the mantle of responsibility from Moses, we have been given the privilege of being the Body of Christ since he left this earth. And just as Joshua must push into the battle in complete trust, so we need to walk forward into battle without fear.
The Word says that this is not our home, we are in enemy territory and we are fighting a battle against the forces of evil (Eph. 6:12). We can take daily courage from the events in Jericho, which fell with no more than the shouts of the people and shofar blasts—an act of complete faith in the God who had promised them victory.
So why then are we so afraid? We do we cower in fear before the enemy, slinking around with our tail between our legs? Can we not trust the promises of the unchanging God who made them?
We have the Creator of the universe on our side. If we are in covenant with Yahweh through Yeshua (Jesus) then we are clothed in spiritual armor that cannot be pierced by the fiery arrows of Satan. We have already won.
This doesn’t mean that we won’t fight battles. The Hebrews even lost some battles later on: because of sin, because of division, because of faithlessness. But God did not throw up his hands and toss Israel aside. Instead, he continued to remind them that he is with them, that his promises are everlasting, and if they simply trust and obey, he would fight their battles for them.
We are more than conquerors (Romans 8:31-39). We cannot simply believe this truth with our minds; we must live this promise out every day. We must cross every river in faith, march on every fortified city in obedience, and trust that those walls will come tumbling down. We must take hold of Joshua 1:9 that commands us—actually commands us—to be strong and courageous. This means that being fearful and not trusting the Lord to fight for us is actually sin! That is certainly convicting for me. But it is also incredibly freeing because we don’t have to rely on our own human strength to fight. We can lean on his instead.
Spend some time today meditating on this scripture and ways that Yahweh has already carried you to victory. Then like Joshua, humbly lay your fears and doubts before the Lord and trust that he is already at work on your behalf. Have courage! You are more than a conqueror! Live, and fight, in that freedom today.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
What parallels do you see between yourself and Joshua? What responsibilities do you feel you’ve been given by God to carry? How do these similarities encourage you in your current situation?
What battles are you fighting right now? What fears and doubts are you burdened with as you consider that struggle? Have you asked the Lord to fight that battle for you and truly laid it as his feet?
Have you embraced the knowledge that you are already victorious over sin and death through Jesus? Does your daily life reflect that freedom and victory?