Ministry Resources

People of the Bible

A series on prominent figures of the bible and the lessons we can learn from their lives by Charles Stanley.


It was hard to believe Moses was dead. He had led Israel faithfully through the wilderness and now as he prepared to leave this earthly life, God allowed His servant to survey the land He was about to give Israel. Under the guidance of God’s Spirit, Moses chose Joshua to lead the people through the waters of the Jordan River and into the Promised Land.

At first, the responsibility seemed reasonable enough. However, as the reality of Moses’ death grew, Joshua became all too aware of his own inadequacies. He may have given up had it not been for the word of encouragement God gave him: “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites.

“No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them,” (Joshua 1:2, 5-6, New International Version). God’s loving words of hope to Joshua were both reassuring and motivating.

You are never alone in the decisions you face. God is with you. If there is a need for encouragement, pray and He will lift your heart the way He lifted Joshua’s. Most of us know what it feels like to be overwhelmed by the pressure of responsibility. We feel weak and worry that God is not pleased with us. This was the one thing Joshua had going in his favor. He needed the Lord, and God responded in a marvelous way. Never forget that when you call out to Him, God will answer your cry. Human limitations make you unusually sensitive to the limitless power of Almighty God. This is where we receive a great and mighty blessing.

You can also be sure when God calls you to a certain task, He always provides the resources it takes to get the job done. In the first chapter of the book of Joshua, God issues a challenge to His servant. It also is a challenge to you. It is one of obedience and commitment. The mission Joshua and the nation of Israel was about to undertake was not an easy one. The land they were entering was occupied by dire enemies. Only by the power of God would they be able to settle in the land.

However, Joshua was fully committed to God’s will and purpose. He evaluated the situation before him and devised a course of action to accomplish God’s plan. When you make a commitment to the Lord, never go back on your word.

Joshua recalled Israel’s past failures and was determined to be sensitive to God’s timing. Having been a part of the first group of spies sent into the Promised Land, he was keenly aware of what a missed opportunity could mean. And he did not intend for Israel to make the same mistake twice.

When faced with a challenge, are you aware of your limitations and your personal need for God? Or do you forge ahead in your own strength? God wants to be your strength. And when you seek His wisdom, He provides the foreknowledge you need so you will not make a mistake.

Those who push ahead without God miss a great blessing. Their lives are often marked by heartache, failure, and disappointment. Joshua listened for God’s guidance. In chapter five, Israel had crossed over the Jordan River and was preparing to attack Jericho. Tensions were high. The people had witnessed God’s hand holding back the waters of the Jordan River. The sight was reminiscent of the Red Sea crossing.

God sent the commander of His heavenly army as a final encouragement to Joshua. ‘Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”
“Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?”‘ (5:13-14).

God always reveals His will to those who seek Him. Joshua was a man who was mighty in spirit. There was a decisiveness to his life that was not based on feelings or emotions nor was it swayed by the opinions of others. Each time we make a decision to follow God, our depth of obedience will be challenged.

Is God requiring you to do something? If so, honor Him with your prayers. Ask Him to make you sensitive to His presence, His timing, His Word, His will, and His way of accomplishing the task. The city of Jericho was shut up tight. The walls were high and fortified. Yet a single trumpet blast, given on God’s command, reduced them to rubble. Joshua humbled himself before the Lord, and we are to do the same.

Everything about Joshua’s life was wrapped up in a relationship–the quiet, intimate, warm, personal relationship with God. This is what made him decisively mighty in spirit. Will you, like Joshua, accept God’s Word and challenge to follow Him in victory?

Copyright © 1997 November IN TOUCH magazine
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