Joshua has been Moses right hand man for a long time – in Exodus 17 he commanded the first post Egypt battle against the Amalekites and he accompanied Moses up Mt Sinai in Exodus 24. He had been one of the 12 spies, and one of 2 who were full of faith about entering the Promised Land. Joshua and Caleb were the only ones of that first generation allowed to enter the Promised Land. As we have already seen in these daily reading Moses developed and encouraged Joshua even as He himself had been forbidden by the Lord to enter the Promised Land. The Lord has shown a succession plan!
Todays reading is that plan in action
Moses is no longer able to go out and come in – that’s not about his physical condition at 120 years old, because when he dies in ch 34 we are told his vigour is unabated! It’s about the fact that he can’t go into the Promised Land. He’s not allowed to complete His life’s ambition and goal of fully delivering his people from Egypt into the Promised Land.
To the People v3-6
God is with the people of Israel and He will go before them. God will do through them, what He has promised to do. Be strong and courageous – because God is with you.
To Joshua v7-8
Moses publicly inaugurates Joshua to take over in front of all the people of Israel to take over. Be strong and Courageous is the familiar refrain – Joshua is told that seven times in Deut 31:6,7,23 and Joshua 1:6,7,9,18. He needed to hear it! Later Joshua encourages chiefs under him “Be strong and courageous”
To the priests v9-13
The law is now written and the Priests are to read it to Israel every 7 years. We are only told about 4 occasions this ever happened! The first we know of a public reading of the law is in Joshua 8:30. The next we hear of it is during the reign of Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 17:7), more than 500 years later. Then, in the reign of Josiah there was another public reading of the law (2 Chronicles 34:30), more than 250 years after Jehoshaphat. Lastly in the days of Nehemiah, the Priests read the law to the people (Nehemiah8:8). Of course this is an argument from silence (in other words it may have happened without being recorded for us),but it would seem from the Josiah occasion that the law books were pretty dusty and hidden away! The New Testament is abundantly clear that we are not under the law (Rom 6:14) and to go back under it would be huge mistake, putting us under its’ curses (Gal 3:10). The principle that we can glean is that it is important to read and apply the Bible in our lives.
The hand over v14-29
Moses and Joshua go to the tabernacle, in front of the people and the Lord appears in a pillar of cloud – Joshua is being anointed as he steps up to go for it. He is warned the people will “whore after other gods.” so Moses is to write a warning song! Finally the Lord commissions Joshua with the words Be string and courageous – He must have heard the audible voice of God, confirming his big call and the words will be words that ring in his ears.
As Moses wants to rebuke the elders that their people will blow it big time, you can feel his frustration – leading people would be easy without the people!
Let the words “Be strong and courageous” ring in your ears today.