1 After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.
7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law 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. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
10 So Joshua ordered the officers of the people: 11 “Go through the camp and tell the people, ‘Get your provisions ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you for your own.’ ”
The story of Moses and subsequently Joshua are fantastic. As we open up to the first chapter of Joshua a transition is being made from the generation of Moses to the generation of Joshua. Moses and his generation would not see the promised land, but Joshua’s would. These people who had been in the wilderness for 40 years were getting ready to cross the river into the promised land, but it would not be easy.
Moses had written what we now know as the Pentateuch or, as it is referred to in this text, the book of the law. That consists of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Notice the promise that goes with obedience to these first five books of the Bible. In order to obey what was written you have to know what was written; so, along with the promise and the command to obey it you have another exhortation in verse 8. Let it be on your lips, speak it, do it all the time.
All of this is part of studying the Bible. Of course we now have the entire Bible, all 66 books. The principle remains. There is one more observation I want to bring to the fore. In verse 9 God reminds Joshua, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.” This reminder comes immediately after the command to keep the law and speak it day and night. Could it be that knowing and speaking God’s word gives us the courage we need in obedience? I think that is exactly the case!
What are of your life do you think you are most likely to lack courage? What does the Bible say about that thing? Or, what does the Bible say about courage in general?