And they answered Joshua, saying, All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go. According as we hearkened unto Moses in all things, so will we hearken unto thee: only the Lord thy God be with thee, as he was with Moses. — Joshua 1:16-17
At the start of the 1980 Olympics in New York, the United States hockey team had no prospects of a gold medal, even in the mind of its coach. In the semifinals, the U.S. met the Soviets, who were heavily favored to win. However, as the game progressed, the U.S. team began to believe they actually could gain the victory, even though that thought had seemed ridiculous a few days before. The team members started to pull together in an unprecedented way, and the game ended with the U.S. team winning by one goal in the final seconds. Then, they went on to capture the gold medal! “Do you believe in miracles?” was an announcer’s cry at the close of the game. The underdogs had won! Teamwork had paid off in a dramatic way.
In today’s text, the Israelites faced an exciting prospect — the Land of Promise was finally before them. They were gathered just outside the Promised Land and were united in their desire to follow their leader and possess the land. In our focus verse, they pledged their unanimous support to Joshua. In order to conquer the land, everyone had to agree to the leader’s plan and be willing to support and obey him.
Even in our day, the prospects of “what could happen if . . .” can be exciting to consider. When, as the people of God, we are truly unified in our purpose to see the Gospel go forward, the prospects are worth getting excited about! Does it seem too fantastic that God could answer our deepest desires? Does it seem out of reach that God could bring our hopes to reality? When we as Christians unite to pray and work together for a specific purpose, Christ himself is there with us. Anything can happen!
Nothing is more exciting than saying deep in our hearts that “God can do this for us!” What had seemed impossible in the natural begins to take on a different perspective in our minds and hearts as we pull together in unity of prayer and faith.
The people had wandered in the wilderness for forty dry, dusty years, and now the day that they had anticipated was upon them. Joshua was appointed by God to lead Israel — 600,000 soldiers and their families — and conquer the seven nations in Canaan.
God appointed Joshua to lead the people of Israel after the death of Moses. Joshua had been schooled — he had assisted Moses for forty years and had been the military leader for the armies of Israel. He and Caleb had been the only spies to give a good report, and therefore they were the only surviving members of the older generation who had witnessed all the miracles that started when the people left Egypt. Even so, the task of leading the Children of Israel into the Promised Land must have seemed overwhelming. God was faithful to assure Joshua of His continued help if Joshua would listen to His Word and obey it. The message, “Be thou strong and very courageous” was repeated several times in the chapter.
In asking for an inheritance on the east side of Jordan, two and a half tribes had agreed with Moses that their armies would fight with the rest of Israel until the land was conquered. Joshua reminded them of this promise, and let them know it was time to implement its fulfillment.
The leaders of Israel stated their willingness to support and follow Joshua just as they had followed Moses. They were united in their purpose to serve God and to possess the Promised Land.
What thrilling and exciting days these must have been as the people prepared for the crossing of Jordan. No doubt, they were busy getting their families and belongings ready, talking among themselves about what was ahead. There would be battles, but God would be with them.
God desired to make Israel successful in possessing the land He had promised them. It was not His plan that they would fail or live in discouragement and defeat. Joshua and Caleb had reminded the people once before, “We are well able.” Forty years later, the people as a whole had finally come to the same conclusion. Now, it was critical that they do everything God’s way if they wanted to succeed.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. The land contested
A. The preparation for the conquest
1. The commission of Joshua (1:1-18)
a. The appointment of Joshua (1:1-9)
b. The command of Joshua (1:10-11)
c. The submission to Joshua (1:12-18)
It is God’s plan that we be victorious spiritually. He has deliverance from every trial and affliction, and will give us certain victory if we order our lives according to His will. We can get excited about a lot of things, but is there anything that stirs our enthusiasm and increases our faith more than the possibilities of God’s power working for and through us?