“Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, that the LORD spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ servant, saying, 2 “Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. 3 Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses.” (Joshua 1:1-3)
Whenever one thinks of being bold and confident we would automatically, I hope, be drawn to Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous!”, and one would be right; Joshua is a great example. He was, however, understandably nervous about the undertaking that lay before him, even though he had sat, as it were, at the feet of Moses and had witnessed all that had taken place since leaving Egypt: the plagues and the crossing of the Red Sea; the miraculous provision of water, food and shoes that didn’t wear out; he had accompanied him up the mountain and had witnessed first hand how Moses had lead the people – quite the preparation. Despite all of this, Moses was now dead and it was now all on his shoulders.
In his favour, 40 years earlier, he had been one of the 12 spies sent to spy out the land, and along with Caleb was confident that they could do it:
“The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land” (Numbers 14:7-9)
The people were afraid because of the many people, the giants in the land and the enormity of the task, but Joshua and Caleb were ready to go, not because they felt they were strong enough, but because they knew God was with them. Forty years on and the next generation, who were poised to take the land, were battle hardened and as we had learned in Be Ready – Preparing your Heart, they had suffered hardships in order to learn how to trust and rely upon the Lord. The previous generation however had been reliant on the state [of Egypt] and therefore were struggling to think like a free people, despite having witnessed God at work.
When we take up the call to service, we may think of the mission field we are called to as the land of promise which we must conquer (without the physical fighting of course). But, how can we move into all that God will achieve through us – we can be bold and courageous, of course – but where do we base our confidence? We read in Be Ready – Let God Lead that we would be limited if we go on in our own strength; that we must move forward in His strength and by His leading. But, how can we be confident of success? We can be confident because, “Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you” (Joshua 1:3). Not only have we let God go ahead of us to lead the way, but He has also given us every place that our feet will tread.
“No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5)
The way this has helped me is that, because the Lord has called me to a mission field, the promised land, if you will, He will have prepared the ground before me and will grant success, so that we can go forward with confidence, knowing that you have a right to be there – you will have the highest of authority. You have the right to be where God has called you.
“Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. 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 success.” (Joshua 1:6-8)
We may have this authority, but we still need to be patient, follow the Lords leading and lean heavily upon His Word. We mustn’t, in our confidence become arrogant, and we must still be winsome and wise in our approach.
“Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” (Acts 4:29)
There will be times when you feel less than confident, and this is understandable – the task can at times seem overwhelming – some days you may even struggle to get out of bed to do what you have been called to do, making all sorts of excuses. You will also inevitably face all sorts of opposition, not only from within, but also from without; but God is gracious, “For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust,” (Psalm 103:14), and so like the novice believers in 1st Century Jerusalem, you can ask the Lord for boldness in proclaiming the Gospel, despite all of these struggles.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
There are many things we can draw from the life and works of Joshua: the successes and failures; wisdom in leadership; following the Lords instructions and so much more; but for now let us be content to know that we can move forward with confidence, because “Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you” (Joshua 1:3) and not least of which, because the Lord is with us every step of the way.
In this series we have learned that we cannot miss Gods calling, in Be Ready – Hearing Your Calling (1/5); that He will equip us accordingly, in Be Ready – God Equips the Called (2/5); that He will prepare our hearts and our character for service in Be Ready – Preparing your Heart (3/5); we learned in, Be Ready – Let God Lead (4/5), how to let God go before us into all that He has prepared for us to do and in the above article how to go forward with confidence:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28;19-20)
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