After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: “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. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 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. 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. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. 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. 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. 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.” Joshua 1:1-9
The line of succession is a bit odd here. Joshua, which means “Yahweh is salvation” in Hebrew, is chosen by God to succeed Moses after he dies. At this point we are just told that Joshua is an “aide” to Moses and he will lead the Israelites across the Jordan River. God is definitely stressing that Joshua needs to be strong and courageous. They are preparing to enter a land not their own…the people who currently live there will probably not be happy.
This passage provides an interesting parallel to the way Jesus describes Himself and us. Jesus said we are not to be of this world and He was not either. In coming to earth as Jesus God entered a world not His own for us. We are called to follow Jesus’ example and be in the world but not of the world. Just like the Israelites are called to occupy the Promised Land but not adopt the ways of the people they encounter and conquer.
The Israelites will soon be crossing over the Jordan and entering a land not their own. They are likely to feel very scared and weak at times which may be the reason that God has stressed that Joshua will need to be strong and courageous — strong in faith and courageous amid conflict.
Prayer: God help us to be strong in our faith and courageous amid conflict.