30 Days in the Bible, Day 12: Joshua 1:1-9
The book of Joshua might have the most abruptly discouraging opening of any book in the Bible. Not only does it tell us that Moses is dead, that’s the first thing God says to Joshua in the book. Joshua had been trained and commissioned to replace Moses, so he knew this day would come. Moses had almost certainly informed him that he would not be returning from Mt. Nebo. The Lord told Joshua that Moses had died, since no one ever saw Moses’ body.
Yet even as prepared as he was, the reality of becoming Israel’s leader still might have given Joshua some second thoughts. Three times the Lord tells him to be courageous, and He adds a “do not be afraid” for good measure. Joshua had shown himself to be a man of courage during the journey to Canaan, but the Lord still reminded him to have courage as he took Israel into the land.
Certainly that courage came from knowing that the Lord was with him and with Israel, but God gave Joshua another source of courage and confidence. The Law that the Lord had given to Israel through Moses was intended to guide the nation and its leaders as they went forward in following God. Joshua was to constantly be reading, studying, and living the Word of God as the leader of Israel, and in that Word he would find the Lord speaking to him.
In addition to meditating on the Word, which we looked at yesterday, Joshua was to keep the Book of the Law “on his lips.” Whatever he said to Israel and its leaders, whatever judgments he made, whatever directions and orders he gave to the people, they were to be steeped in God’s Word. Although Joshua would speak with his own voice, he was to reflect what God had already said in his words.
A good preacher or Bible teacher will express God’s Word constantly. They won’t simply reflect the words of the passage they are addressing at the moment, but recall other parts of Scripture that bear on their teaching and its application to life. Not only that, but when they give advice or address an issue, it will be apparent that their words aren’t just founded on their own ideas or even a theological or philosophical system, but on the Bible.
We live in a world that wants to tune out Jesus and His Word. In order to engage with ideas and teachings that oppose the Lord’s will, we must be prepared to use the Word as the solid foundation for what we say. When we rely on the Word, and on the Holy Spirit as He guides us in knowing, understanding, and using the Word, we will have confidence and courage as we face the challenges of our society and culture today.