Joshua led the people of God, the Israelites, into the Promised Land. He was very directed and purposeful. He led them in battle against their enemies and interceded for them when they went astray, which they often did. With strength and courage he led them to victory over the forces of evil ever-present in the land of Canaan beyond the Jordan River. He was a Christ-like figure who ventured forth in obedience with clear and resolute instructions and guidance directly from God. Like Christ, Joshua did not disappoint when it would have been easier to succumb to fear and dark opposition. He completed his mission, interceding for the people, giving them victory and an inheritance. While difficult, his story finishes well, summarized by his strong declaration in the last chapter, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)
Decisions and Crossroads
We too have choices to make, often difficult with decisions reflecting our true loyalties. Do we venture to the north or south, to the east or west for this job or that school, or opportunity, or even relationships? We make critical life choices all the time out of intuitive feelings, well-intentioned council around us or prevailing wisdom of the day. Unfortunately many believers do not follow the Lord’s directive either explicitly in the Word or via prayer. Many of us do not even take difficult decisions to Him or listen for His answers. Or we may pray, but do we really trust? Often the answer gets clouded with our own true desires or the words of worldly advice all around us.
Strong and Courageous?
Attractive as it sounds, it certainly is hard to discern a guiding God who has plans for us and makes clear paths to walk in His ways and obediently heed His direction. We are too often not like Joshua, strong and courageous, but rather weak and opportunistic, susceptible to what feels best for our career and future or current circumstances. How many times have we probably missed what was a blessing intended for us by our heavenly Father?
Good Intentions Fall Short
The people responded to Joshua’s declaration with one of their own: “We too will serve the Lord, because He is our God.” (Joshua 24:18) Joshua is skeptical of their good intentions and warns them of God’s destruction of them if they forsake the Lord and serve other gods. The people stress their commitment and reaffirm their devotion to God. Unfortunately it’s not long from this point (see book of Judges) that the Israelites fall into disobedience and suffer the consequences of their sin.
Are you not only strong and courageous, but consistently devoted to God?
“Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan…I will not fail you or forsake you…Only be strong and courageous, being careful to do according to all the law which Moses commanded you; turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. The book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth…for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:6-9