“No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life, as I was with Moses, so I will Be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”
After the death of Moses God chose Joshua to lead the children of Israel across the Jordan river and into the promised land. Although many believe that entering the promised land is a picture of the Christian entering heaven, I believe that the better interpretation is that it is a picture of entering into the Christian life in this world. Because, when the children of Israel entered into the promised land, they had to fight! They had to fight to rid the land of their enemies, the Canaanites, which they never did accomplish. In contrast, in Revelation 21, Heaven is described as a place without death, pain, or sorrow. In contrast, Ephesians 6 describes the Christian life in this world as a battle.
Even though the verses in Joshua 1 are God’s instructions to leaders, they are applicable to all believers. All true believers are involved in the battle, and all true believers are leaders/teachers of someone, whether family members, friends, or co-workers. God has placed each of us in a position where we can both help lead God’s people in the promised land, and lead others into a saving relationship with the Lord. In Matthew 28:19 , Jesus says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations (people)...” Clearly Jesus is speaking to all future believers as well as the disciples because in verse 20, He says,”I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
All of that being said there are several principles in this passage in Joshua 1, for not only effective leadership, but also successfully and victoriously living the Christian life. In verse 5, God says,” I will not leave you nor forsake you.”(just as Jesus says in Matthew 28:20). In order to be victorious, we must continually trust and believe that the Lord is with us! If we don’t do that, we will fall! Because of that trust, we should be strong and of good courage, knowing that every battle we face is the Lord’s battle, and He is with us, and He has promised never to forsake us! In verse 7, God says to be strong and VERY courageous in order that we may obey everything that He has commanded. Obedience requires courage, especially in the face of a culture that hates the Lord. But our courage connects back to our trust and belief that He is truly with us and will not forsake us. When we truly believe that He is always with us, we are obedient. Notice that God also says,” Do not turn from it (God’s Word) to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper (Be successful) wherever you go. Being successful in the Christian life requires unswerving devotion and obedience to the Word of God! In verse 8, God says,”This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. This verse is the key to the whole passage. Reading, meditating on, and sharing (speaking) the Word of God are the keys to building that trust in the Lord, that in turn gives you the strength and the courage to live this Christian life. And when you in turn, pour what you have learned into others (Realizing that is part of God’s purpose for your life), You will grow in maturity, you will be victorious, and you will Be fruitful for the Lord! Remember , we are all leaders/teachers of someone, and it’s our responsibility to build each other up in Christ!