Joshua 1

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015



The book of Joshua is very appropriately named after its main character.

Joshua had been trained for his position as the leader of Israel as an assistant to Moses.

In Exodus 17:8-14 Joshua had led the Israelites in victory over the Amalekites. As Moses' commander, he defeated the Amalekites.

Exodus 17:8-14 - 8 Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. 9 And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand. 10 So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses' hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up [i.e. supported] his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. 13 And Joshua discomfited [i.e. defeated] Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.14 And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it [i.e. recount it] in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.

Joshua attended Moses on Mount Sinai when the law was given.

Exodus 24:13-14 - 13 And Moses rose up, and his minister [i.e. servant, assistant, aide] Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God. 14 And he said unto the elders, Tarry ye here for us [Us includes both Moses and Joshua], until we [again, it includes Joshua] come again unto you: and, behold, Aaron and Hur are with you: if any man have any matters to do, let him come unto them.

He was one of twelve spies who was sent to spy out the land of Canaan in Numbers 13 and 14, and he was one of the two who advised an immediate invasion of the land, asserting that by faith in God they would conquer the land. As a result, he was nearly stoned.

Numbers 14:1-10 - 1 And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. 2 And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness! 3 And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt? 4 And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt. 5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel. 6 And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent [i.e. tore] their clothes: 7 And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. 8 If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. 9 Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not. 10 But all the congregation bade stone them with stones. And the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel.

Joshua was divinely appointed to succeed Moses as the leader of Israel.

Numbers 27:18-23 - 18 And the LORD said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit [i.e. the Holy Spirit], and lay thine hand upon him; 19 And set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge [i.e. commission] in their sight. 20 And thou shalt put some of thine honour upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient. 21 And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the LORD: at his word [i.e. at Joshua's word] shall they go out, and at his word [i.e. at Joshua's word] they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation [It means that Joshua will be the leader of Israel]. 22 And Moses did as the LORD commanded him: and he took Joshua, and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation: 23 And he laid his hands upon him [i.e. upon Joshua], and gave him a charge [i.e. a commission], as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses.

Deuteronomy 31:2-3 - 2 And he [i.e. Moses] said unto them, I am an hundred and twenty years old this day; I can no more go out and come in [i.e. I am no longer able to lead you]: also the LORD hath said unto me, Thou shalt not go over this Jordan. 3 The LORD thy God, he will go over before thee, and he will destroy these nations from before thee, and thou shalt possess them: and Joshua, he shall go over before thee [i.e. Joshua will lead you.], as the LORD hath said.

Deuteronomy 31:7 - And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou [i.e. you, Joshua] must go with this people unto the land which the LORD hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou [i.e. you, Joshua] shalt cause them to inherit it [i.e. the land].

Deuteronomy 34:1-9 - 1 And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho [i.e. opposite Jericho, across the Jordan River from Jericho]. And the LORD shewed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan, 2 And all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea [i.e. the Western Sea = the Mediterranean Sea], 3 And the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar. 4 And the LORD said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither [i.e. over there = over the Jordan River to that land]. 5 So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. 6 And he [i.e. the LORD] buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day. 7 And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated [i.e. nor his strength gone, nor his vigor diminished]. 8 And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days: so the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended. 9 And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the LORD commanded Moses.


Joshua 1:1 - Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister [i.e. servant, aide, assistant], saying,

Joshua 1:2 - Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan [i.e. this Jordan River], thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.

Joshua 1:3 - Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon [i.e. every place where you put your foot, every place where you step], that have I given unto you [since you is plural, you refers to Israel and not just to Joshua], as I said unto Moses.

Joshua 1:4 - From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun [i.e. the Mediterranean Sea], shall be your coast [i.e. shall be your territory].

Psalms 24:1 - The earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.

Since Psalms 24:1 is true, God owns all the earth and can give it to whomever He chooses. It is not wrong for God to do so whether the Arabs like it or not.

Joshua 1:5 - There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Jesus has made a similar promise to us in Hebrews 13:5 .

Hebrews 13:5 - Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Joshua 1:6 - Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.

Three times in verses 6, 7, and 9, God tells Joshua to be strong and of a good courage.

This first command to be thou strong and of a good courage is based on God's promise of the land.

Joshua 1:7 - Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest [i.e. wherever you go].

This second command to be thou strong and very courageous is based on God's power through His Word.

Joshua had to be around 90 years old at this time in his life.

Joshua was not to try to be innovative or change any of the instructions God would give him. He was not to try to improve on God's methods in order to achieve more and better results than God's methods would give.

Joshua 1:8 - This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth [this means that he was to talk about it]; but thou shalt meditate therein [i.e. in it = in the book of the law; he was to think about it] day and night, that thou mayest observe [i.e. that you may be careful, that you may take heed] to do according to all that is written therein [i.e. Joshua was to obey it specifically]: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success [Note that Joshua's prosperity and success would come as a result of his obeying all that is written in the book of the law.].

The same instruction also applies to us, but we have more of the Word of God than Joshua had.

David recognized that the same instruction applied to him.

Psalms 1:1-3 - 1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Paul wrote,

II Timothy 2:15 - Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

II Timothy 3:13-17 - 13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

James 1:22 - But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

Back to Joshua 1:9

Joshua 1:9 - Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed [i.e. don't be discouraged, don't be troubled]: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest [i.e. the LORD is with you wherever you go].

This third command to be thou strong and of a good courage is based on God's presence.

Three times in this chapter Joshua is commanded by the LORD to be strong and of good courage. It is based on God's promise, God's Word, and God's presence.

Do you suppose that the command to be strong and of a good courage was given to Joshua three times because he needed it? Certainly. More than once suggests it was being emphasized. How would you at age 90 or so like to have been appointed as the leader of 2,500,000 people about to go to war with the inhabitants of the land?

Similarly, the Great Commission was given on the basis of Christ's constant presence.

Matthew 28:18-20 - 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.


Joshua 1:10 - Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying,

Joshua 1:11 - Pass through the host [i.e. Go through the camp], and command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals [i.e. prepare provisions for yourselves]; for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan [i.e. the Jordan River], to go in to possess the land, which the LORD your God giveth you to possess it.

Just as the Israelites were to prepare for whatever lay ahead, we as believers must also prepare spiritually for whatever lies ahead of us. We do this by -

Bible Study

Obedience to the Bible


I Thessalonians 5:17 - Pray without ceasing.

Confession of sin

I John 1:9 - If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Faithful church attendance in a Bible-believing, Bible-teaching, Bible-preaching local church


Joshua 1:12 - And to the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to half the tribe of Manasseh, spake Joshua [i.e. Joshua spoke], saying,

Joshua 1:13 - Remember the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, saying, The LORD your God hath given you rest [i.e. is giving you rest], and hath given you this land [i.e. is giving you this land].

Joshua 1:14 - Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle, shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side Jordan; but ye shall pass before your brethren armed [i.e. you will cross over the Jordan River in battle array], all the mighty men of valour [i.e. all your valiant warriors], and help them [i.e. and help your brothers - the nine and one half tribes who have yet to receive their allotted lands];

Joshua 1:15 - Until the LORD have given your brethren [i.e. until the LORD has given your fellow Israelites comprising the other nine and one half tribes] rest, as he hath given you, and they also have possessed the land which the LORD your God giveth them: then ye shall return unto the land of your possession, and enjoy it, which Moses the LORD'S servant gave you on this side Jordan toward the sunrising [i.e. which Moses gave you on the east side of the Jordan River].


Joshua 1:16 - And they answered Joshua, saying, All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us [i.e. wherever you send us], we will go.

Joshua 1:17 - According as we hearkened unto Moses [i.e. as we obeyed Moses] in all things, so will we hearken unto thee [i.e. so we will obey you]: only the LORD thy God be with thee, as he was with Moses.

Only the LORD thy God be with thee, as he was with Moses indicates that the Israelites were willing to follow Joshua as he followed the LORD. They could not follow Joshua if the LORD departed from Joshua because Joshua had departed from doing things in God's way according to the Book of the Law. Blind loyalty is not to be given to any human being. Some pastors have demanded blind loyalty from their people, only to lead them astray from the teaching of the Bible. Blind loyalty belongs only to the LORD and to His Word. Do not follow me blindly. Follow me because I follow the LORD and His Word. If I were to go astray, you must stand for the Lord according to the Scriptures regardless of what I do. We don't need any more examples of the blind following the blind.

Joshua 1:18 - Whosoever he be that doth rebel [i.e. whoever rebels] against thy commandment, and will not hearken unto [i.e. will not obey] thy words in all that thou commandest him, he shall be put to death: only be strong and of a good courage [i.e. courageous].

This time Joshua is again told, Be strong and of a good courage; but this time it is the two and one half tribes which had already settled on the east side of the Jordan River who said it to Joshua. It must have been an encouragement to Joshua.