Never apply logic to what God has given you to do.
What can we learn from the Biblical account of Joshua? Well quite a lot actually! When we first read of Joshua, he is Moses’ assistant. Joshua was one of only two spies to bring back a good report concerning the ability of Israel to take the promised land. The other ten spies had told the people that land was “great, an absolutely wonderful place to live, but……..” – isn’t that so often the way with Christians? They read of the promises of God, they see how wonderful they are, but then they apply logic and add “but….“. Never apply logic to what God has given you to do. You are not supposed to be doing it in your own ability, it doesn’t matter if it seems impossible – that’s where faith comes in.
There is still time for you to get out of the desert.
God has already said, that you can do all things through Christ which strengthens you (Philippians 4:13). An entire generation of the children of Israel missed out on the Promised Land, and instead lived out their lives in the desert, because they were unwilling to believe that what God had said, was possible. Do not make that same mistake – there is still time for you to get out of the desert. As long as you are still alive, there is always the opportunity to turn things around. The mighty giants can and will fall when you have faith in God – just ask David!
Joshua could have given up. But he didn’t.
Another forty years passed, and during this time Joshua could only wait to go in and claim what God had promised. Joshua and Caleb (the other spy who gave a good report) are the very embodiment of Hebrews 6:12, “[Be] followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises“. Joshua could have wondered when God’s promise was ever going to happen, he could have given up. But he didn’t. Joshua held on to what God had said and refused to let go. That is the kind of faith and patience that you need to possess what God has promised. This is the situation at the beginning of the book of Joshua. Moses has just died, and Joshua has had a promotion – he is now the leader of God’s people. God then gives Joshua some advice, which we would do well to heed. In Joshua 1 :6 God says, “Be strong and of a good courage“, He repeats this in the very next verse, “Only be thou strong and very courageous“. This is the first step in doing what God has called you to do, don’t look for reasons that you can’t do it instead, have confidence that with God on your side you cannot fail.
We are to read God’s Word, meditate on God’s Word and speak God’s Word.
God’s next instruction, in verse 7, could be summarised as “Follow my way of doing things, do what is right and you will prosper wherever you go“. How to actually know what God’s way of doing things is, can be found in verse 8, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein“. We are to read God’s Word, meditate on God’s Word, and speak God’s Word. The result of doing this will be the same result promised to Joshua, “Then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success“. God follows this up by saying again, “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage“, God is making sure that Joshua really gets this. But this time God adds, “Be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:9). Likewise, we never need to be afraid – what God promised to Joshua, equally applies to us. Chapter one of the book of Joshua ends with those same words repeated a fourth time, “Only be strong and of a good courage“.
Joshua selected those two men very carefully.
Joshua Chapter two begins with Joshua sending out two men to spy out the land. The Bible doesn’t specifically state the reason that only two men were sent this time, rather than twelve as Moses had sent; however I believe that Joshua was not about to sent out twelve men and risk the same thing happening that had happened before. I believe that Joshua selected those two men very carefully. They needed to be men of faith, like Joshua himself. Men who would come back and encourage the people. So the spies were sent out and whilst they were staying at the house of Rahab, who lived on the wall of the city, she informed them that the people that the previous generation of Israelites had been so afraid of, had actually been dreading their arrival for the past forty years! After Rahab helped the spies to escape and they, in return, had promised that anyone who is in her house will be safe, the spies returned to Joshua.
Joshua’s carefully selected men bring back a report of faith.
Listen to the difference between what these spies said and what the ten spies had said forty years previously. The original report was one of fear and doubt, “We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it. Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan“. This time however was different, Joshua’s carefully selected men brought back a report of faith, “Truly the Lord hath delivered into our hands all the land; for even all the inhabitants of the country do faint because of us“. That is the choice that we are faced with: Are we going to stagger at the promises of God? Are we going to remain in the desert? Or are we going to be strong in faith and go in and possess the land?
[Don’t] settle for half measures.
There’s one final thing that I want us to learn from Joshua, and it is this: To continue, until we have fully possessed all the promises of God. Not to settle for half measures. not to sit back and relax when only half the job is done. By chapter 18 of the book of Joshua, the people have still not taken possession of everything that God had promised them and Joshua says in verse 3, “How long are you going to sit around on your hands, putting off taking possession of the land that God, the God of your ancestors, has given you?” (The Message) and that is the question that I want to end with today.
To compliment what I have written here, I recommend this post from The Word Detective on how the Israelites broke from their cycle of walking round and round in the desert. It is called When Is Enough, Enough?
If you have any further questions or thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment.
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