Joshua 1 (cont)
Many people languish their whole lives right here because they don’t understand the need to engage with God’s promise for their lives. They constantly ask God for the plan, but the plan was executed back in Egypt. Don’t ask God for the plan; you are IN THE PLAN right now. We need to be less PLAN CONSCIOUS and more PROMISE CONSCIOUS. God did not raise up Joshua to bring the people into a plan but rather to bring them into a promise. God did not send Jesus to die for a plan but to bring a people into a promise. He is not in love with a plan; He is in love with you. The Pearl of Great price is not a brilliant idea or plan – you are the pearl of Great Price in God’s eyes, and everywhere you put your foot in conquest, GOD has given it to you.
In v. 5, God promises Joshua that all his life, the enemy will be unable to stand before him. What is true of Joshua is true of the believer. God’s default nature is one of Lordship. Because He is in you – His Lordship is in you. Because He will not fail us, we will not fail. Failure is not our portion. Because of who He is, we are to be strong and courageous to obey without deviation what He has instructed us to do – to go forward and possess the land. We often see a contrary outcome because we have gone forward without holding to God’s unchanging hand. We pursue our own purposes and wonder why it doesn’t work out, but we were leaning to our own strength rather than God’s. A perfect example of this is regarding financial debt. We know God has promised us financial blessing, and we promptly go out and get head over heels in debt and wonder why we are not blessed. This is leaning toward our own strength and not God’s. Our strength and our courage is not in our credit rating but in the promise of God. This is just one small example of the error of trying to cross over into your promise by your own strength and not God’s.
In v. 9 comes the command of God repeated and emphasized. The Lord commanded Joshua as though to say, “what are you standing around for?” Jesus said in Luke 17:20,21 that the kingdom doesn’t come with observation. This is the erroneous way that people sit around in passivity and say, “I am waiting on God” or “why isn’t God doing what He said?” What YOU DO with what God has already said is MUCH MORE powerful than what you are waiting on God to do or say. Even in Jesus’ life, this is true. Rom. 1:4 says that Jesus was declared to be the son of God but the spirit of holiness (or the Holy Spirit). That means that in His earth walk; He limited Himself to the resources He died to make available to you and me. Why then was He so successful, and we are such failures? John 5:19 tells us the secret:
[Jhn 5:19 KJV] 19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.
God told Joshua, “Have I not commanded you…” and then Joshua turned around and commanded the elders. God commands Joshua, and He commanded the elders. Who are you commanding? The only person you are really in charge of is yourself. God has commanded you – you are to take charge of your SELF LIFE, your SOUL, and command it to respond to the voice of God (not just the scriptures but the intimate breath of God’s voice in your life moment by moment).
In v. 13, the command is to be reminded of God’s promises and His commands. There are times you have to remind yourself about what God said. We get distracted by unexpected things as the Israelites were distracted by Moses’ death. Circumstances change. Often God says things to us, and initially, we think, “yes, I could see that happening…” Then circumstances change, and we change our minds. We say, “things are different now; we must adjust to the new reality.” No, God hasn’t changed His mind. Your circumstance didn’t take God by surprise. He isn’t wringing His hands, thinking, “what am I going to do now…” When challenges come, we are to REMIND ourselves of what God has said. Part of this involves reminding ourselves of what God actually said and not what we THINK He said. Many times we take what we want to hear and run with it as though we are in charge of how the word and promise of God to us gets interpreted. This is a recipe for disappointment. We can never endow our finite understanding with an authority to interpret what God must do just because we thought that was what needed to happen. We must stay humble, obedient, and moving forward, expecting that our assumptions will sometimes be adjusted abruptly to conform to the unfolding of God’s purpose in our lives.
In vs. 16-18, Joshua is cautioned that people around him will rebel and cause trouble. There are going to be people involved in the things God leads you into. Notice the conditional nature of the people’s response. They, in effect, said, “we will be with you and do what you say as long as God is with you as He was with Moses…” In fact, they were basically saying, “we’ve got our eye on you and if you don’t do things the way Moses did we are out of here!” You have to hold everything loosely at times. Do not put your trust and confidence in the fact that someone is backing you at the time. Many times, people will change and fade from your life. Love them and let them go. Whether they judge you or not, forgive them, bless them and move on. Do not allow the allegiance of others to become the basis of your strength. Peter was the loudest and most insistent of Jesus’ followers, but when the time came to stand by his words, he said, “I know not the man…” We are to TRUST GOD and love people, not TRUST PEOPLE and love God. Keep your courage anchored in the fact that regardless of what people may or may not do, God promises us as He promised Joshua, “I will never leave you or forsake you