Joshua Chapter One (Part Two)

Introduction: A key idea in Joshua is that God blesses obedience. Today, we hope to discuss the command of Joshua to the people.

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Read Joshua 1:5-9

A. The Commission of God to Joshua (continued). The Lord assures Joshua that he has a work to do and that the Lord would be with him. He is to lead the people in the conquest of the land of Canaan.

Joshua is urged several times to be strong and courageous, which may imply there will be temptations to be weak and cowardly. Obedience is a key to his success.        

Applications -

- Some will try to stand against you. Notice in vss. 5-9 that there may be those who try to stand against Joshua, but none of them will succeed because of the Lord’s presence. He is urged to be strong and courageous. He is called to lead the people with confidence in God.

First, if we strive to obey God’s will for our lives, we can expect some opposition. We can expect some people to try to stand against us. But thank God, we can also expect God to work things out for those who strive to obey Him.

Second, every believer is called to be strong in the Lord, instead of being discouraged by our circumstances. In other words, we can trust God, in spite of family troubles, work issues, health challenges, and the other things that come our way.

Third, our confidence should be in the Lord, not the loyalty of the people nor our own abilities.  People are subject to change on us. And our ability without God’s grace will always come up short. Let’s work on being strong and courageous in the Lord, as we carryout His will for our lives.

- Studying and obeying God’s word. Notice in vss. 7-8 that studying and obeying God’s will and word are essential. It will be difficult for us to confidently do God’s will without knowing what God’s will is.

The best way for us to know God’s will is to prayerfully study His word, the Bible. And the more we understand His word, the more we are expected to obey it.

Let’s work on studying and obeying God’s word. If you have not mastered studying, serving, and giving then you have a significant amount of work to do.

Read Joshua 1:10-18

B. The Command of Joshua to the People. Joshua orders the officers to get the people ready to move and take possession of the land. Joshua calls the two and half tribes who already had their land to join in the fight for the rest of the people of God to get their land.

There is a great affirmation of the leadership by apparently the officers.

Applications -

- Following leadership. Notice in vss. 10-11 that the officers are commanded, the officers tell the people, and it is inferred that the people follow leadership. First, every leader needs some people who will help him/her by following instructions.

There are too many who want the title but will not follow instructions. Consequently, so little gets done because no one person can do it all.

Second, the leader’s helpers need to have enough relationship with the people that they can echo their instructions to the people. Any officer who only gets along with the leader but has no relationship with the people is very limited, at best.

Third, the people need to be able to follow leadership and often delegated leadership. If there has to be a long detailed conversation about everything that needs to be done, there will be so little accomplished.

Often we simply have to follow with confidence that God will work things out.

Let’s work on following leadership. The leader needs to follow God, the officers need to follow the leader, and the people need to follow what God has sent through the leader. This is the path to blessings, especially in the church.

- Keeping our word. Notice in vs. 13 that it is rehearsed with those on the East of the Jordan what has been previously agreed upon. It is good to make some official agreements and to be able to rehearse them at the right time.

Writing things down is a great way to remember what those agreements were. Trust is built when we do what we say we are going to do. Trust is destroyed when we don’t do what we say we are going to do. Let’s work on remembering and carrying out our agreements. 

Think about how this applies to marriage vows, church covenants, the oaths of office that leaders take, and even employment contracts.

- Blessed to be a blessing. Notice in vss. 12-15 that those who had their blessings in hand were called to help those who did not have their blessings in hand, especially in light of how the blessed receive their blessings because of the collective effort.

In like manner, those of us who have our blessings in hand should not stop fighting for others to be blessed and simply enjoy our blessings. “No,” we have been blessed to be a blessing to others.

Specifically, in the African American community, it is important for those W. E. DuBois would have called the “talented tenth” to remember that if it had not been for the other nine tenths, we would not be where we are.

We owe to those who have help us the duty of helping others who are yet struggling along. Let’s work on using our blessings to be a blessing to others.

- Pledged followership. Notice in vss. 16-18 there is pledge of followership. First, it is essential for helpers and followers to follow the leader. In too many cases, what the people want and what helpers want has almost replaced what God wants.

God has a reputation of speaking to the leader and the leader uses his/her helpers to speak to the people, with the understanding that people will follow leadership and trust God for the results.

Second, it sounds nice that the people will follow Joshua as they followed Moses, until you review how rebellious they were with Moses. Too many people have a rather distorted memory of yesteryears. At least there is a hint that they understood respecting the office, not just the officer.

Third, notice that those who don’t follow leadership with be disciplined - put too death. It is sad that too many people are more moved by fear of negative consequences than such noble ideas as obeying the Lord or trusting the promises of God.

Consequently, there must be discipline among God’s people. More specifically, there must be negative consequences for not following leadership. We don’t kill people, but surely you cannot sit in high office and be openly rebellious against the leader.

And sometimes, we don’t have to kill the person, God has a way of seeing that some people die. Let’s work on following leadership and urging others to do the same with trust in God.

Conclusion: Let’s work on being obedient to the Lord. God has much for those who obey His will.

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