'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 Chapter 1 Verse 9
Moses was now dead, but
the God of Moses was very much alive. Moses' days of service to his God on
earth had come to an end, and a new instrument of the Lord was to stand in the
That wilderness had been Joshua's training ground. Moses was his example, and the lord Himself was preparing him for the great work that lay ahead of him. He was to walk in the same spirit as Moses, and he was to carry on the same work.
Moses could only take the children so far. He took them as far as the river, where the land of Canaan visible to them, but then it was Joshua's task to take them over.
Surely here we have a
symbol of the law as our schoolmaster to bring us as far as it can - to
Christ. The law itself can't obtain the inheritance for the saints; it can't
obtain eternal life for them, but it can lead them to the only One who can do
We were also aware of the law of God written in our hearts. We were convicted of our sin and misery every day. We looked for refuge in the wilderness, but there was none. The law as our schoolmaster led us to a river of decision. It led us to our Joshua, to Jesus Who was the only One who could lead us safely across. Moses the lawgiver died, as did all our fleshly attempts to please God and to fulfil the law.
accepted the new authority that God had given, and we trusted Jesus to take us
safely across, to reconcile us to God, to cleanse us from all our sins and to
give us eternal life.
Do the stones on the bed
of the Jordan not signify the burying of our sins and as the waters returned
to cover them? As you view these stones, can you not hear the Lord saying to
your heart -"your sins and iniquities I will remember no more?" What of the
stones at Gilgal?
So Christ is the end of
the law to all those who believe. The stones representing their sins were now
covered, as the blood on the mercy seat covered the broken tables of the law.
Now it was time to serve a new master. The wilderness was behind them. In front and on every side was the land flowing with milk and honey - the Promised Land.
Our text can easily be divided into three sections.
1 - Be strong and of a
First of all then, "Be
strong and of a good courage.." Why was Joshua to be strong and of a good
courage? The answer, I believe precedes the question: God had commanded it.
It was easy for him to see the qualities of leadership that Moses had possessed, but did he possess them! It is easy for us to see the gifts that our brothers and sisters in Christ have, but it is not so easy for us to see them in ourselves. Because we do not see them in ourselves does not mean that we do not possess them!
Joshua says in his mind,
"How can I step into Moses' shoes, and how can I heal the breach?" Of
ourselves we can do nothing. God must be our strength. How does God give us
The book no longer
condemns us - it liberates us. Our strength is no longer in ourselves but in
Jesus. He upholds and keeps every one of us. We are a people kept by God
through faith unto salvation.
There is strength in
love. The love of Christ constrains us. Are we to keep silent in front of our
fellow man? No, but because of what Christ has done for us and because of the
love that we now have for Him - we cannot but speak of the things that we have
seen and heard.
There is strength in
faith. We look not on the things that are seen but on the things that are
unseen. We do not look at the swellings of Jordan, but we look to Jesus.
Let me quote what Thomas
Boston says of faith, - "Faith that staggers not at the least amount of reason
is the soundest faith".
Secondly - " Be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed". Why? Because God commands it. What was making Joshua dismayed at this time? Surely it was the loss of his companion and mentor, Moses.
Death is the greatest
divider of all. For those of you that have experienced the painful loss of a
loved one, you will know the heartbreak and anguish that was in Joshua's heart
at this time.
It was in this loneliness that he became aware of the Presence of the Lord as He spoke to him saying, "Be not dismayed." He also said, "Be not afraid." What would have been making Joshua afraid?
I've mentioned many things before. 1- His new responsibilities. 2 - The crossing of the Jordan 3- Obedience to the Word of God. 4 - The dividing of the land.
And all this without the
pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night that had helped to
guide Moses! As there are many fears in Joshua's life so there are many fears
in our lives.
If we walk by sight it
will jot be long before the mountains will come into view. But if we walk by
faith then we fear God. He who has looked into the face of God can look any
man in the face.
What wonderful words of encouragement and comfort for Joshua and for us today. No matter what perplexing providences lie before him, no matter what duties he is expected to undertake, he has the full assurance that God is with him.
These words are for your
comfort and encouragement also, because just as Joshua heard these words, so
you also have heard them. God speaks these words to you just now!
Wrong! A thousand times wrong! This was written especially for you! It is a command to your heart from God. "Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest."
Author: Iain Mackenzie Edited by: Pastor Al Moak