January 22, 2011: Joshua 1 Devotional Sharing

Submitted by Carol Chou, Gracepoint Berkeley

Joshua 1:1-6, 9
“It was probably intimidating to have been a second lieutenant to Moses, which Joshua had been during the forty years following the Exodus from Egypt […] As the forty years of wandering in the wilderness pass, Joshua goes on with his routine work at the side of a real leader, Moses. Although designated in advance to be Moses’ successor (Num. 27:18-33), Joshua sees himself as an assistant, as a servant. Moses is seen as a great ‘servant’ of the deity; but Joshua is seen as the youthful servant waiting on Moses and is called ‘Moses’ assistant’ (1:1).”[1]

How might Joshua have felt upon hearing God’s command for him to lead the rebellious Israelite people to conquer the vast Promised Land?

Upon hearing God’s command for him to lead the rebellious Israelites to conquer the vast Promised Land, Joshua must have felt intimidated by Moses and his great leadership, apprehensive about measuring up to him in leadership, spirituality and connection with God, knowing what to do especially with rebellious people, whether or not he would be able to handle the people’s rebelliousness, keep order, and keep them together or lose them in an uprising or scatter. Joshua might have thought, “Why me? Why not someone else? I lack __, __, __ – all the things that Moses had. What if I can’t do as good of a job as Moses? What if the people don’t listen to me? What if they all leave? God, are you serious? Are you sure this isn’t a mistake?” Or he might have thought, “Great, why did Moses get to be the hero that led them out of slavery and why do I have to lead them when they are rebellious and uncooperative. They’re just gonna hate me.”

What assurances did God give Joshua in the face of such a daunting task? Why is God’s promise in vv. 5 & 9 so important as Joshua embarks on this task?

In the face of such a daunting task, God gave Joshua the assurance that He had a plan and knew what He was doing in leading Joshua, that every place Joshua set his foot on would be his, that no one would be able to stand up against him all the days of his life, that God would be with Joshua just as He was with Moses, never to leave him or forsake him. God’s promise that He would always be with Joshua as He was with Moses and never leave him nor forsake him was important as Joshua embarked on this task because God was promising that Joshua wouldn’t have to worry about measuring up to Moses, that it actually wasn’t Moses’ leadership or abilities that were so important in making him a great leader, but the fact that God was with him, never leaving him nor forsaking him, but guiding his every decision and step. This promise was God’s invitation for Joshua to stop focusing on himself, stop worrying about his abilities, competence, future, and success, and depend on God, trust and commit to following Him because He is able to accomplish His plans.

-He is able, more than able, to accomplish what concerns me today.
-He is able, more than able, to handle anything that comes my way.
-He is able, more than able, to do much more than I could ever dream.
-He is able, more than able, to make me what He wants me to be.

What daunting task, and accompanying promise, has Jesus given to His disciples (Matthew 28:18-20)?

Matt 28:18-20 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in?? the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

The daunting task that Jesus gave to His disciples was to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to obey everything He commanded them. The accompanying promise was that He would be with them always, to the very end of the age.

In light of the task given me, what provision of God can I count on, and what would it look like for me to be “strong and courageous”?

I have been given the task of making disciples of all nations. Currently, it is to make disciples on the Berkeley campus, a task that can potentially affect many nations. The provision of God that I can count on is that He will be with me and that He will never leave nor forsake me. For me to be strong and courageous means fighting the desire to stay within my comfort zone to meet new people who could potentially reject me, think I’m a loser, or hurt me. I can do this through reminders of the truth that life is about more than just me and that there is a spiritual battle to fight in a world full of Satan’s lies and schemes that only steal, kill, and destroy the hearts of those who seem or act okay on the outside, but have a lot of hurts, pain, guilt, shame, or just indifference and exasperating purposelessness that they have no idea what to do with. For me to be strong and courageous means opening up my life to people, not just those who are easy-going and nice, but all kinds of people – those who are outright rebellious, those who seem to agree on the outside, but rebel inside which gets exposed through little things, those who hide and refuse to be known or open up, those who have past baggage that needs to be worked through. This means a lot of encounters in which I’m unsure of what to say or do, or times of being spent emotionally and physically, but also times of clinging to the Word of God, mediating on it day and night so that I know and understand God’s heart, and prayer to align and prepare my heart according to God’s Word, then speaking truth and laboring in love. Especially after the retreat as a lot of things were stirred up, I need to be vigilant, strong, and courageous to carefully obey God’s commands, rely on Him rather than focus on myself and my abilities.

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Submitted by Andrew Iskandar, Gracepoint Minneapolis

Joshua 1:1-6, 9
How might Joshua have felt upon hearing God’s command for him to lead the rebellious Israelite people to conquer the vast Promised Land?

Upon hearing God’s command for him to lead the rebellious Israelite people to conquer the vast Promised Land, he might have felt uncertain, doubtful of his abilities to do so and overwhelmed. He was called to be the successor of Moses, one of the greatest faith heroes of the Bible, who had just led the people of Israel out of Egypt, and they were big shoes to fill. And not only that, but he was asked to bring them into THE Promised Land, the land that the Israelites had been waiting for during the many years wandering in the desert. It might be similar to how a rookie basketball player feels right before Game 7 of a basketball championship when the star player goes down with an injury upon being asked by the coach to lead their team to victory. Or how a vice president of a country might feel on the eve of a major political event or battle in a war if the president became incapacitated. “Am I ready for this?” “Can I do this?” “Who am I to be here in this position?” probably would have been questions running through his head.

What assurances did God give Joshua in the face of such a daunting task? Why is God’s promise in vv. 5 & 9 so important as Joshua embarks on this task?

God gave many assurances to Joshua as he faced this daunting task because He knew that Joshua probably felt overwhelmed and frightened by what he was about to do. He reassures Joshua that all the promises He had given Moses were also to be given to him. He reassured them that no one would be able to “stand up against” him. He also tells him that just as He was with Moses, He would be with Joshua, that he would “never leave [him] nore forsake [him].” This would have been such a source of relief for Joshua. He had had a front row seat in witnessing all that God had done for and through Moses throughout the Exodus. He saw how God provided food and water in the dessert for Moses. He saw how God had given them victory in battle over their enemies during the Exodus. He even saw how God never left them even during the “not so great moments” during the Exodus when the Israelites were grumbling and complaining. Through this reminder of this promise, that God would never leave him nor for forsake him, Joshua would have felt greatly encouraged to face this daunting task. Joshua knew that he was not going to go at it alone, but had the Almight God at his side.

What daunting task, and accompanying promise, has Jesus given to His disciples(Matthew 28:18-20)?

Jesus gives a similar daunting task as well as a reassuring promise to the his disciples before he goes into heaven through the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20. He calls them to make disciples of ALL nations. This task seems overwhelming even to me today, even with the knowledge of the Internet, the experience of flying around the world, and previous interactions with various people groups. But these disciples were uneducated fishermen from Galilee who had never been more than 30 miles from their home and had no idea what was out there in their world. Before meeting Jesus, their lives were simply fishing, eating, sleeping, etc. And now they were being called to this seemingly impossible task! Surely they would have been frightened and overwhelmed. But again, Jesus gives them that similar promise of reassurance, that he will be with them. “And surely I am with you always…” And just like Joshua with Moses and God, the disciples knew Jesus and would have recalled all of their experiences with him, calming the storm, walking on water, healing the sick, multiplying bread, raising the dead, and even rising from the dead himself. This promise would have reassured them and encouraged them to take on the calling that they were given.

In light of the task given me, what provision of God can I count on, and what would it look like for me to be “strong and courageous”?

I have been given a similar task as the disciples, to “make disciples of all nations”, specifically here at the University of Minnesota and the students and people I meet here. And even here, it seems daunting and there are times that I feel overwhelmed. There are 50,000+ students here and there are only 21 of us here on the church plant. And even with the mission team here right now, we are only at 40. That’s a ratio of 1250:1! And not only is it the numbers that make it daunting, but just the spiritual condition of this place and my own personal fears and insecurities. Many people here have become jaded about church and God because of their personal history and broken past. They mistakenly chase after fools gold and believe that their lives are about romance, career, academic success, money, etc. And even within me, I feel unsure of myself as I attempt to go out among them. Do I have the words to speak that can convince them of the Gospel? How can I relate to these people who are so different than me? But what I’ve experienced just this past week is that “God’s word is living and active” (Hebrews 4) and it reassures me of God’s presence and power in my life and it compels me to be “strong and courageous.” He told me through Isaiah 55 that His word is powerful and that “It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” This reassured me that God’s word is a LOT more powerful and can achieve the things that He sends it out to do. That means I just need to be faithful to preach it to those around me and let Him do the work of transforming lives. He reassured me in Ezekiel 2, that regardless of “whether they listen or fail to listen” I just need to preach to them and not be worried about the “results” of my efforts and that I “do not (need to) be afraid of them or their word.” And then through Jeremiah 1, He addressed my personal insecurities, that I should not look down upon myself and trust that God is “with [me] and will rescue [me]” “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you” God’s word was truly amazing and appropriately addressed me this past week as I thought about the challenge and calling to preach the word to the students here at the U. And in 2 Timothy 4, God tells me that it means to be “strong and courageous”. “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” I need to keep my head in all the situations I am in, to know and remind myself that God is with me and that I have the Gospel message to bear to this world. I need to “endure hardship,” to face the physical, emotional, and spiritual challenge of doing ministry. This means working hard, giving it all with my resources of time, energy, money, talking to strangers, loving people in concrete ways even through it’s difficult, etc. I need to fulfill the “duties of [my] ministry” as one of His disciples of this world. And it’s not like a duty in a burden kind of a way, but as a responsibility as one who has received the Gospel message. God has saved me from my sins and this compels me to go out and face these challenges and fears. And knowing that He will be with me always and that His power is at my side is a great and wonderful reassurance!

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