Day 29

Joshua Commissioned to Succeed Moses

from the reading plan

Numbers 27:1-23, Joshua 1:1-9, Hebrews 11:13-16

Joshua 1:9 is a popular passage in Scripture, and how could it not be? God’s promise to Joshua that He would be with him wherever he would go buoys us and gives us courage in every season, does it not? And even more so, the person and character of Joshua in the Bible is inspiring. Of the twelve men sent to spy on Canaan, only two men in Israel trusted God, and one of them was Joshua. You’ll remember from previous readings that many in the nation wanted to turn back to Egypt. Because of Joshua’s faith, he was allowed to enter the promised land when everyone else in his generation was barred from entering. He was also a great leader, clinging to the Lord in the face of many dangers, and he was chosen to succeed Moses.

For many of the great leaders of the Bible, we often wonder how we can learn from their stories, their faith, and their resilience. I tend to zoom in and ask, “How can I behave like this?” While this isn’t a bad question, the Bible is primarily a story about God. Before I can take away any practical life lessons, I have to ask the bigger-picture questions for the whole of Scripture: Who is Joshua’s story pointing to?

Hebrews 11 lists many faithful leaders in Scripture and tells of the faith of the Israelites to march around the walls of Jericho, an event that occurred under Joshua’s leadership. But Hebrews 11 also tells us they all died in faith but did not receive the things promised (v.39). Hold on—didn’t we just read that Joshua did get to enter the promised land? What didn’t he receive?

Joshua’s leadership led the Israelites into the promised land, but they were still waiting on the Messiah to usher them into the true kingdom of God. Many commentaries describe Joshua’s character who foreshadows what Jesus would be like, and Scripture says Joshua had the Spirit in him (Numbers 27:18), but the serpent-crusher told about in Genesis had not yet come into the world. Moses’s failure was not the end of the Israelites’ story; God made a way for them through Joshua. And Adam’s failure is not the end of our story; God made a way to salvation for us through Jesus. 

When our present circumstances threaten to dissolve our faith, Jesus is still at work in us. Strength cannot be summoned and white-knuckled from inside of who we are; courage is only found in who God is. We can be strong and courageous because we follow a God who promises to dwell with us. We can be strong and very courageous because we follow a promise-keeping God. 

“Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
—Joshua 1:9

Written by Kasey Moffett

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