23 Apr. Joshua 1:1-18

23 Apr. The Israelites prepare to cross the River Jordan

“After Moses, the servant of the LORD, died, the LORD spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant. The LORD said, ‘My servant Moses is dead. Now you and all these people go across the Jordan River into the land I am giving to the Israelites.’”

“’I promised Moses I would give you this land, so I will give you every place you go in the land. All the land from the desert in the south to Lebanon in the north will be yours. All the land from the great river, the Euphrates, in the east, to the Mediterranean Sea in the west will be yours too, including the land of the Hittites.’”

“No one will be able to defeat you all your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forget you.’”

“’Joshua, be strong and brave! You must lead these people so they can take the land that I promised their fathers I would give them. Be strong and brave. Be sure to obey all the teachings my servant Moses gave you. If you follow them exactly, you will be successful in everything you do.’”

“'Always remember what is written in the Book of the Teachings [the Books of the Law]. Study it day and night to be sure to obey everything that is written there. If you do this, you will be wise and successful in everything. Remember that I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the LORD your God will be with you everywhere you go.’”

“Then Joshua gave orders to the officers of the people: ‘Go through the camp and tell the people, “Get your supplies ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan River and take the land the LORD your God is giving you.”’”

“Then Joshua said to the people of Reuben, Gad and East Manasseh, ‘Remember what Moses, the servant of the LORD, told you. He said the LORD your God would give you rest and would give you this land. Now the LORD has given you this land east of the Jordan River. Your wives, children and animals may stay here, but your fighting men must dress for war and cross the Jordan River ahead of your brothers to help them.’”

“’The LORD has given you a place to rest and will do the same for your brothers. But you must help them until they take the land the LORD their God is giving them. Then you may return to your own land east of the Jordan River, the land that Moses, the servant of the LORD, gave you.’”

“Then the people answered Joshua, ‘Whatever you command us to do, we will do. Wherever you send us, we will go. Just as we fully obeyed Moses, we will obey you. We ask only that the LORD your God be with you just as he was with Moses. Whoever refuses to obey your commands or turns against you will be put to death. Just be strong and brave!’”

          (Joshua 1:1-18)

 


 

Have you ever sung the children’s song, "Be bold! Be strong! For the Lord your God is with you"? Now you know where the words come from! They are God’s words to Joshua, encouraging him to be strong and brave as he prepared to lead the Israelites into the ‘promised land’ and defeat the Canaanites in battle.

In early Spring, in c.1406BC, the LORD told Joshua to get ready to lead the Israelites across the River Jordan and into the ‘promised land’ of Canaan. He reminded Joshua that he had promised that the whole of this land – from the desert in the south to the mountains of Lebanon in the north, and from the River Euphrates in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west – would become their home, but only as long as the Israelites obeyed God and followed his commandments written down in the Books of the Law.

God’s promise of a homeland was always conditional on the Israelites keeping their side of the covenant agreement made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (and renewed on many occasions), and we’ll see as we read on through the ‘Old Testament’ (literally, the ‘Old Covenant Agreement’) that the Israelites found it impossible to keep their side of the agreement, and so were later deprived of the land they’d been promised.

In accordance with God’s command, Joshua’s officers told the Israelites to be ready to move in three days time. They were to get their provisions packed up and be ready to invade Canaan when Joshua gave the order.

Joshua reminded the fighting men from the tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh of the promise they made to Moses – that they would join their brothers in battle, before returning to their new homes in Gilead and Bashan on the eastern side of the River Jordan (see Numbers 32:1-22).

And then God encouraged Joshua to be bold and brave, “because the LORD your God will be with you.” (Joshua 1:9)

The map - which we’ll refer to over the coming days - shows Joshua’s campaigns in Canaan.

You can read more about Joshua’s preparations to cross over the River Jordan @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/27-the-israelites-move-into-canaan/the-israelites-cross-the-river-jordan/


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