Day 1

Joshua Succeeds Moses

from the Joshua reading plan


Joshua 1:1-18, Deuteronomy 31:1-6, Psalm 1:1-3

You remember that scene in The Fellowship of The Ring when the travelers emerge from the Mines of Moria? They are devastated, forlorn, almost hopeless. Gandalf, their leader, was dead. What were they to do? How would they finish their journey and accomplish their mission?

That must have been how the people of Israel felt when Moses died. Who would lead them? How would they face the conquest to take the Promised Land? They stood on the brink of an unknown land populated by warrior peoples and even giants. They had just wandered in the wilderness for more than forty years. Their future was far from certain.

Except it wasn’t uncertain because God had made a covenant. He had declared that He would uphold His side – to make Israel a great nation in this land – if they upheld theirs. (If they didn’t and decided they no longer needed to obey, the consequences would be dire.)  But the nature of God’s promise meant that the person leading Israel wasn’t the key to their success; obedience to God’s law and trust in His Word was.

Well before Joshua led Israel across the Jordan River into battle, God had made a promise: “I will give you this land, just be strong and courageous.” He promised to go ahead of the people and fight for them. The battle was His. The people simply needed to trust and obey.

But camped on the border of the future, Joshua needed reassurance. And God gave it to him. He didn’t give Joshua strategy or a battle plan or a pep talk. He gave Himself. He said, “Remember My Word. Keep it with you at all times. Never forget it and always obey it. Do this and the land will be yours. Be strong and courageous because I am with you and am going before you” (Joshua 1:8-9, my paraphrase).

Strength and courage in the Lord and obedience to God’s Word – these are the themes of Joshua. It is not a book about a man as much as it is a book about God establishing His people. Joshua is the man God appointed to lead Israel. But his leadership rests fully on faith and obedience.

This is stunning in its simplicity. What are God’s people called to when facing adversity? Or when we are called to lead above our capacity? Or when we have a challenge ahead of us that seems insurmountable? We are called to be strong and courageous because God is with us.

Our strength is not our own. Our successes are not our own. God’s hand guides and works as we follow His Word in obedience, and it will root us and establish us.

Written by Barnabas Piper

Post Comments (15)

15 thoughts on "Joshua Succeeds Moses"

  1. Daniel says:

    What great encouragement we received today as we read how great our God is. He is a God who is faithful to accomplish that which he has said he will do, and that he will never leave us. It is because of who He is that we can be strong and courageous. Lord help me to rest in those two truths, your faithfulness and your never leaving us, and stand ready to go where you lead.

  2. Nathaniel Branscome says:

    Refreshed and ready to run. When God says this, shouldn’t we run so that in running, we will have more added. I don’t want to stop. The more land I cover before the sun goes down, the more land is new at the horizon. Not that we can or have acquired more but that more can be under His acquiring. “toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory.” Joshua 1:4 #prayerbeard

  3. Ronald Douglas says:

    Remember that God has already gone before you and will take care of you. My job is to obey his commandments and remain faithful. My strength is not my own. As hard as it is to accept that it is the truth.
    I pray that God helps me live this out in my daily life no matter how hard it might be.

  4. Joel A'Bell says:

    It’s great to think through who comes next in leadership. Am I gathering people close to me and growing them from me?

  5. Anthony David says:

    He reads truth

  6. Titus Tucker says:

    8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

    In Joshua as the Israelites are traveling through the wilderness, God reminds his people to keep their eyes focused on Him as they are waiting to enter the Promise land.

    In our daily lives God calls us to meditate and focus on Him always, he shows that through his words like in Joshua 1:8 or through our lives maybe through a friend or maybe through an event.

  7. Stefan Cooper says:

    Success in life is never about simply being good at what you are doing or being lucky, true success is when God takes over and does His will. Because our view of success should be the completion of His will, not the exaltation and perfection of our own. Without God your endeavors are ultimately fruitless.

    Father,
    I thank you so much for the beautiful wife you have given me. I am beyond blessed with her and the grace she has shown me. I pray that you help me remain the man I want to be and not the man I was. I love her too much to lose her and I need Your help to stay on the straight and narrow. I thank you for all you have down for us and I pray that we strive every day to achieve your goals for us that we may see true success. Once again, thank you so much Father. I love you.

  8. Tim says:

    Reminds me of my time in CU. I used to think that if I was on fire or behaving in a certain way then CU would thrive. If I didn’t behave in a certain way then it wouldn’t. Turns out, it’s not about me. I’m not that big of a deal! It’s much bigger than me, it’s about God. If I can put my faith in him, that he is able to release me from the sin that holds me captive then he will. I must meditate on scripture and learn it though!!

  9. Josh Wagner says:

    Faith and obedience are the main themes of this chapter, book, and our life. The Christian life be broken down into those two key concepts. As simple as that may look on paper, I’ve found that it has become two of the most overly complicated concepts in Christianity today. Instead of simply having faith is Jesus, and obeying His Word, our faith is reduced to church attendance, having a sticker on your car, and posting the occasional Facebook Bible verse on our timeline. While obedience to God’s Word looks a lot more like obedience to whatever our spiritual mentor taught us removing the need to seek God and His desires for our life on our own. Lord help me to have real, genuine faith, and to obey You and Your Word above any pastor or book.

  10. Joshua says:

    Help me to be courageous as I step out in faith to your calling. I’m tired of being a Jonah and running from you. I’m here, facing a future of uncertainty, trusting that You will give me strength and courage to fight on.
    I don’t know why times have been so tough for me God, or the reasons behind the struggles I’ve faced, but… I. Trust. You.
    I pray that the things I wrestle with and the tough times I’ve faced can be used to bring honor and glory to you.

  11. Neal Embry says:

    God has made this incredible promise that the victory is already won, the people just have to go and fight for it. Yet, that still requires fighting.

    While God gives us the victory, He calls us to work in trust and obedience to obtain it. The victorious Christian life is not passive, but active. It is not legalistic or self-reliant, but hard at work believing God and acting like it.

  12. Michael Olanipekun says:

    Obedience isn’t a passive thing. In this passage Joshua was not simply required to lead by trusting in God but was to know him more by reading His Word.
    This was the first instruction. Almost as if to say, ‘you will lead by following me. Follow me, know me and I will prosper you and our people.’

  13. Jonathan Rodriguez says:

    God’s promise to Joshua was to rest upon his power to do this great word, resting didn’t not me taking it easy. It was obedience to the word of God and faith that God’s plans were flawless and would lead the people to victory. Joshua was called to lead the people, and his leadership would be in the same line as Moses, devotion and obedience to God, this looked like foolishness to most men. However in Joshua’s eyes he saw it as life because he watched Moses all those years get before God.

  14. Josh Tarr says:

    I think sometimes I forget that Jesus is with me in all things. I forget that the success and failures I face were put in place by him. Only for my good! I need to acknowledge that he is there and continue to pray to him for help.

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