Father, take us into your eternal rest as soon as we cease being a servant of yours. For I would never want to bring shame to your name by anything I do or say. This is something I often pray. At Moses’ death he was called a “servant of the Lord” (Joshua 1:1), and so was Joshua (Joshua 24:29). We are all servants and doing the right thing does not mean doing things right. Moses found this out the hard way. God had told him to speak to the rock but instead he struck it! According to the Israelites he did things right here but according to God he did not. The story goes that the people and all the livestock were really thirsty and making their request for water known to Moses. I have a modern example of this. A friend of mine has “a lot on his plate.” He has been trying to balance a full time college ministry on the campus of Pittsburg State University while also working as the general contractor of two building projects. Because his work has become overwhelming he has been saying no to some right things so that he can give himself fully to doing the right thing. It does not matter if you are a college minister, single mother, pastor, college student, factory worker, or a stay at home grandparent sometimes doing things right does not always mean doing the right thing. How are we to know what the right thing is? We do the right thing by investing time both quality and quantity with God in prayer and the study of his Word.
JOSHUA… A LEADER WORTHY OF FOLLOWING
In the text I am about to read Joshua has to feel diffident. For example he is following in the footsteps of Moses whom had leaded the Israelites for forty years! Joshua needed supernatural confidence to complete the task God is asking; therefore, God says, “Be strong and courageous.” To lead Joshua must be brave!
The LORD’s Charge to Joshua
1 After the death of Moses the LORD’s servant, the LORD spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant. He said, 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Therefore, the time has come for you to lead these people, the Israelites, across the Jordan River into the land I am giving them. 3 I promise you what I promised Moses: ‘Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you— 4 from the Negev wilderness in the south to the Lebanon mountains in the north, from the Euphrates River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea* in the west, including all the land of the Hittites.’ 5 No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you.
6 “Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. 8 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. 9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua’s Charge to the Israelites
10 Joshua then commanded the officers of Israel, 11 “Go through the camp and tell the people to get their provisions ready. In three days you will cross the Jordan River and take possession of the land the LORD your God is giving you.”
Joshua had been supernaturally encouraged as the person God had chosen to lead. It is not as though Joshua just happened upon this leadership responsibility. For example he had been Moses’ aide (Exodus 32:17; Joshua 1:1). He had previously led an army into battle (Ex. 17:8–16), and he believed that God would give them victory over their enemies (Num. 13:16, 17). Joshua knew how to do the right thing. This is why God chose him to lead the Israelites into the Promise Land.
BOOK OF JOSHUA…BIG PICTURE
The Book of Joshua describes the Israelites conquest of the land of Canaan and the division of the Promised Land to the individual tribes.
The dream had now come true. So is this the end of the story? If it is then why would God speak about another rest (Hebrews 4:8)? None of the people twenty and older that Moses led in the desert found rest in the Promise Land. How could God just dismiss a whole generation of people? God had told that generation what was right; nevertheless, they refused to listen.
There is a lesson in all this for us.
It is quite simple. If we refuse to preach the Word to our family and friends then we too will become a generation that gets dismissed!
Today, if you hear his voice do not harden your heart (Hebrew 4:7). Jesus our savior made a way for us to enter eternal rest.
To explain let me tell you a story of two brothers. Ted was in the hospital and knew his time was short. Turning to his brother Dan, Ted honestly asked “will a person live again.” Dan was ready for this question. He opened his Bible and read…
1 Corinthians 15:3-6 (NLT)
3 I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. 4 He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. 5 He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. 6 After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died.
1 Corinthians 15:20 (NLT)
20 But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died.
1 Corinthians 15:50-55 (NLT)
50 What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that our physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These dying bodies cannot inherit what will last forever.
51 But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! 52 It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. 53 For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.
54 Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die,* this Scripture will be fulfilled:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.*
55 O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?*”
If our hearts are softened then our heavenly Father, in His wisdom, will take us unto himself. Dust to dust and ashes to ashes is true but as followers of Christ we look for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ who shall change the body of our humiliation and fashion it a new in the likeness of His own body of glory by the working of His mighty power.
This is what some of the people said that settled east of the Jordan River.
Joshua 1:16, 17
16 They answered Joshua, “We will do whatever you command us, and we will go wherever you send us. 17 We will obey you just as we obeyed Moses. And may the LORD your God be with you as he was with Moses.
I was discussing what the Israelites said to Joshua with a friend late Thursday night. He pointed out that God would always be with Joshua. The question is will Joshua always be with God and for that matter will we? Joshua’s responsibility was to obey. When he obeyed God led him to do the right thing.
This week I though to myself, “what kind of person, what kind of leader would I want to follow?” It would be one like Joshua, one who obeyed the Lord and did the right thing. What is the right thing? The right thing is preaching the Word (2 Timothy 4:2). May we all have the strength and courage to do it! Amen.