Friday, October 5, 2012

Claiming the Promised Land

God’s Instructions To Joshua
Joshua 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.” (Joshua 1:1-2) 

Until Moses’ death we have no record of God speaking to Joshua personally, although Deuteronomy 34:9 says, “And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the LORD commanded Moses.”  Until that time, Moses had been the conduit God used to speak to Israel.  Now God commanded Joshua to finish the job Moses had started, to take the land God had promised them almost seven hundred years before.

“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.” (Joshua 1:3-5) 

God promised Joshua that they would be able to take every piece of land they might traverse, because He would be with Joshua in the same way he had been with Moses, and no one would be able to stand before his power.

The area described here is much larger than what was described to Moses in Numbers 34, which only described the area they would take initially.  It is the same as was described to Abraham in Genesis 15, however, Reaching from El Arish on the Mediterranean shore to Lebanon on the north and east to the Euphrates river and the desert to the south east along the Persian Gulf..  It would encompass much of present day Syria and Jordan, part of Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and part of Egypt.  Under Solomon at his peak, Israel came the closest to owning what God had promised them.  When we consider what God had promised Israel, it is not hard to understand the Arab concerns over Israel’s claims to the land based on God’s promises.

“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.” (Joshua 1:6-7) 

The key to Israel’s victory would be their faith.  They were to be bold both in  their adherence to God’s law, as given Moses.  Surrounded by peoples with different standards they would be tempted to relinquish theirs for those of their neighbors.  They were not to deviate either to a more liberal or a more strict standard, but to follow it exactly.

“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.” (Joshua 1:8-9)

In order to follow Gods law exactly, without becoming either more strict or more liberal, it would be necessary to constantly review and discuss it.  They would need to take time to think about the Law every day, constantly looking for areas they might be missing if they were to keep everything it said.   Taking the time to do so would ensure victory, success and prosperity in all their endeavors, because it was what God had commanded.  There would be no reason to doubt or hesitate since they could be sure God was with them.

In II Timothy, Paul describes the spiritual preparation needed to serve God.  It is very similar to his instructions to Joshua.  II Timothy 3:14-17 commands. “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” In order to please God it is critical that we do the things he has taught us, exactly as he directed.

The scriptures teach everything that is needed in order to please God, but we will need to know what they say, and that can only be learned by studying.  II Timothy 2:15 commands, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”  Failure to study thoroughly will result in improper interpretation and application of the scripture, and in displeasing God.


  1. I was just talking about study today with my wife. We were discussing how some "teachers" simply throw mountains of Scripture at you to prove their point, whatever point it is, but this proves nothing. The Devil can quote Scripture. The better question is: do we understand what we say and affirm? To rightly divide God's word and teach properly we must REASON with others; but the foundation of our reason comes from a firm and comprehensive knowledge of God's word. I am troubled by teachers who use certain Scriptures as weapons rather than using the entire Bible as a teaching tool. I enjoy your lessons because you begin with Scripture and then apply it practically; you reason. Thanks for lesson.

    1. Thanks, Ian.

      Unfortunately, it is often easy to cherry pick several verses that seem to support a position if interpreted carefully. Sheer numbers of verses will intimidate a lot of people into never examining any of them. Like you, I am concerned how prevalent the practice is.