God’s expectations for Israel
Scripture: Joshua 1:7-8
Aim: To encourage the Christian to be obedient and responsive to the Lord’s directions.
Golden Text: “Remember the word that Moses, the servant of the Lord, commanded you, saying ‘The Lord your God hath given you rest, and hath given you this land’” (Joshua 1:13).
Before Moses died just east of the Jordan River, the Lord promised him that Israel, under Joshua’s leadership, would conquer the land of Palestine and possess it. This was Jehovah’s design for Israel. Jehovah led Moses up a mountain and from there showed Moses the land that the Israelites would conquer and occupy. Then Moses died and was buried by Jehovah Himself.
Before Jehovah led Joshua to cross the Jordon River into the land of Palestine, He gave Joshua some last instructions. Joshua 1:1-6 gives the promises of Jehovah. In this lesson we look at the expectations of Jehovah for Joshua and Israel (1:7-8).
I. Jehovah gave basic commands to Joshua (1:7). He was to be strong in the actions, which must be taken in the conquering of the land. The work was to be brutal and thorough. He must be strong to follow the Word of the Lord. This is true of every believer. He must follow God’s Word.
Second, Joshua was to be courageous (1:7). The work of conquering a land was not work for a weak, hesitating leader. In order to have a courageous army to follow, Joshua must show great courage in following God’s precise directions. People often get into trouble in their lives because they do not courageously follow the Word of God. God will always do His part. Man must do his.
Third, Joshua must faithfully follow the Word of God, which was given through Moses (1:7). He must not turn to the right, or to the left. He must keep faithfully the commands that Jehovah had given to Moses to be relayed to the people. Often Christians get into trouble because they do not follow the word that their Pastor, or spiritual leader, gives. Many times God speaks through the spiritual leader. It is too often that the people do not heed the word of their spiritual leader.
Fourth, prospering in the work of conquering Israel must be done by following God’s instruction (1:7). There is no value in beginning a work and failing to be able to perform it. In order to assure success in God’s work, there must be a faithful adherence to God’s directions. When God’s directions are followed, there will be the success that God wants.
II. Jehovah expected Joshua’s positive response (1:8). First of all, the Law, the Word of God must be first and foremost in Joshua’s thinking. This is a must for the faithful, successful Christian worker. His textbook for faith and action is the Word of God. It is more important than even the worker!
Second, he must mediate in it day and night (He is to think about it continually). Every thing must be tested by the Word of God. It was God’s instructions to Joshua. It is still His instructions to us.
Third, Joshua must then “do” the Word. Learn the Word and do the Word (1:8). Can the reader imagine the chaos should Joshua not have followed the Lord’s directions?
We today are no different. Much of our pain, disappointment, trouble and the hardness of the way comes to us because we do not learn the Word and obey it.
The result is success in the conquest of the land of Palestine (1:8). Joshua and Israel’s way and war will be a success as they follow the Jehovah’s directions. That is the only may to success!
Joshua and Israel are to be strong, be of good courage, do not be afraid, do not be dismayed (confused and uncertain about what to do), and expect that God will be with them whithersoever they go. We too may have the same assurance as we follow God’s leadership in obedience!
Howard Tillery is the pastor of New Ochlocknee Baptist Church in Grady County. He lives in Cairo.