Joshua: Victorious Livingin God's Promises

– Mobilizing God's People –

This is part '2/5' to a study entitled 'Mobilizing God's People' on Joshua 1:10-18. This page discusses the first key to successfully mobilizing God's people to do His will: 'Communicating God's Will' from Joshua 1:10-11. Of special note is a threefold explanation of what inheritance the Lord wants to give His people today. A full index is at the bottom.

Joshua 1:10-11

A. Communicate God’s Will

– A Life Commentary –

True success is a victorious and joyful life living in God’s presence
by His purpose, promises, precepts and power.

"Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, “Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, saying, ‘Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you are to cross this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you, to possess it.’” (Joshua 1:10-11)

Great Dreams are many but few are realized!People have a lot of great dreams but few are realized. We tend to speculate what could be more than work hard at accomplishing what needs to be done.

The Israelites were at a key point in their history. I call it a threshold or turning point. Something happens when you step over a threshold. You all of a sudden are transported into another room. Life has so many more opportunities than we ever have noticed. Most of us, however, are like a herd crowded about in a hallway, resisting to step into God’s promises. The promises for a rich and full life are there. Christ promised to take your burden away from your life. The Lord told us that we can make disciples of all the nations. These are things we all can reach.

A Turning PointUp to this point we have been looking at what the Lord had spoken to Joshua. In Joshua 1:1-6 the promise, vision and charge is all put before Joshua. It is the same thing. God’s commands always lead us to better ground. God’s promises always accompany His charge. The Lord is always sharing what He wants to bring into reality. We cannot differentiate between them. Going into the Promised Land was both a command and a promise of better living. But every challenge also has its obstacles. Fears lurk within and without. We can stand in the hallway and look in, but that virtual image is not the same as reality. Hopes are not the same as the real thing.

The enemies in the Promised LandJoshua was to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. In obedience lies hope. But who was he to lead? The Israelites? Those stubborn Israelites who not only went against Moses but against God Himself! They even had all sorts of miracles, but it didn’t make them a strong cohesive group devoted to God. But then he also had to lead them into a land of many nations. Do you think they would just passively let Joshua and his troops go into their land? No way.

God’s promises are always like that. They bring before our minds something good and lovely and yet they require something from us that we do not have. Most people would readily say that it is impossible. And so dreams remain dreams. They fade away like drifting clouds. They are never lived out in life. It is much like the fans of some great football team telling what the players should do. They act like they are the 7 foot experts. We might watch. We might even cheer but we will not play. Joshua here in 1:10-12 has told them to get ready. He is leading them in.

Now frankly, as I look at the church today around us I would say that we are in no Promised Land. One brave friend speaking about the dying churches about us said, “I don’t see it (the church in her glory).” Good for him. I don’t apologize for the dead church. If it is not living we may as well bury it out of sight.

What is your vision of the church? What do you hope for her? Is it all promise because God is not true to His promises? Is it not real because God has failed us? No. This is the point of the scriptures that we have already looked at and the ones that we look at today. By God’s grace we can make the dream come true. Every generation has a chance, for each generation has the promises and commands. You ask how can we be any different than all the others that have failed? This is what we will find in these verses.

In these precious verses the Lord assured Joshua of His purpose, precepts and power. It is like the little David facing Goliath and it is like the little church standing against the tidal wave of humanism coming upon the church. Again, God has given Joshua all that he needed to win. And so our Lord has given us what we need to win.

So what is your dream? If it is to have a big house and nice job, you have really missed it. You are like those in the wilderness and should die there. You would pollute his land. You have no dream for God’s land. God only gives His best to those who love Him. I see this dream of what God wants to fulfill in our midst to be of three levels, all are good and lovely and mutually dependent upon each other. By the way, I elaborate on this here because otherwise we will not know what to prepare for. Vision before plans.

(1) The Lord wants to take away our burdens.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and YOU SHALL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. “For My yoke is easy, and My load is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30). All that stress, worry, harshness and fear. He wants to meet you and take it away. God wants to take away our personal problems, family problems, relationship problems and marriage problems. It is a journey rather than an instantaneous solution, but it is a wonderful time learning from the Lord.

(2) The Lord wants to fill our hearts with His joy, love and peace.

God is not just there to take away our problems but gives His Spirit to fill us with the great and glorious things of life. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22, 23). For those dealing with burdens, they want the burden released. But God wants to take us higher into His presence. Why just climb out of the hole to level ground? We can climb Mount Zion, the mountain of God.

(3) The Lord wants us to inherit the world.

We need to recognize the closet parallel between Joshua’s Promised Land and our situation is the Nations. We are to capture the world through making disciples of Jesus Christ. Discipleship is the process through which the truth of God enters into His people’s lives so that they can be more like Christ and live out God’s will. And of course we have our enemies that love immorality, decry the supernatural and love the things of the world, but what we have is worth living for, battling against and dying for if necessary.

So how do we get on to making the plans real? There is a lot of discussion about how to take most of what we have learned from the business world and apply it to the church. We will fail here if we follow the world, just as the church has failed in the area of counseling. The pattern is to think that the world offers something that is missing in God’s Word. Once this is done, God’s word is no longer valued and what God would say is missed. The church then becomes an image of the broken world rather than of Christ.

Today, for example, rare is the pastor and elder that have confidence in the Word of God to deal with people's personal problems. They ship them off to some counselor with some very worldly assumptions. This worldliness in the area of leadership and management is now drifting into the world. Frankly we have all that we need here in God’s Word all written many years before the business world discovered these principles. God has made the church to lead the world not to follow it.

The issues that we see here are simple but very significant. We find four things seen here that create a sensitive leader. Leaders need to face all sorts of difficulties. If they fail, then those around them suffer. If you are in charge, then carry out your responsibility. Leadership comes hard for me. I never learned it as a boy from my father. But when God has given you responsibility for something, you need to carry it out. Joshua complied by being timely, respectful, directive, and have clear communication.

1) Timely

Joshua could have put things off. What a challenge and responsibility! He hadn’t done it before! He was nothing compared to Moses! Isn’t this how Satan attacks us and moves us to procrastinate? If we wait until we are fully ready, then it will be too late. We need to do better training up of men to be leaders. Every man should be a trained leader. God made women to be followers, assistants and helpmates. This does not mean they are not capable but that they are made for a strategic purpose.

2) Respectful

Joshua was attentive to the leaders about him. Verse 10 says, “Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people.” Poor leadership is plagued by people going around the authority of leaders. This can happen in two ways. Sometimes it is the leader that does not utilize those that are in authority under him. It is also a problem when those under authority bypass those in direct authority over them. We are not seeking God’s will when we bypass given authority.
We can understand why people do such things. The leader is not listening to you. A timid leader in charge avoids telling some strong-minded leaders what needs to be done. On the other hand the strong-minded leader because of pride often ignores those who are called to assist him. This causes other problems. We need to be respectful of those in certain positions. If we do not rightly communicate with them, then the people will begin to have problems with the mission. Factions can easily develop. Frustrations grow. Different opinions arise.

3) Directive

Joshua told the people what was going to happen. This is directive leadership. He did not take a poll. What do you think would happen if a poll was given? Clear directives are important. They help provide unity. Of course if this was Joshua’s dream rather than God’s, then it would have been a different matter. But God was leading. His commands were clear. There are places for voting and discussion but it must never be on the things that God has already made clear. These things just need to be spoken out.

4) Clear

Joshua clearly communicated to the people what needed to be said. First of all, he told the leaders and told them to distribute the information outward to the people. Let’s look closer to what he said. Joshua told them to pass on three commands.

a. What to do to get ready
They are to prepare provisions. “Prepare provisions for yourselves.” Actually, it is very interesting that this is really the only thing they had to do. Now we appreciate the fact that when you go on a trip, you need to prepare things to eat. They should be easily stored and not go bad. Things like granola bars.
But did you ever think what they were not told to get ready? If you were going to face seven nations, seven kings and seven armies, don’t you think that you would also get weapons and ammunition ready? This is where we see God’s advice vastly differ than the world’s. They were to be a people marked off by God’s protection rather than their own. They would fight of course but everyone knows that it wasn’t fair. God was on their side.

b. When they will go
They will take action in three days. Time all of a sudden becomes short. They need to think of all the things that need to be done. He no doubt heard complaints that the time was insufficient. But time was urgent. The people were not to settle down but move one. One way to keep criticism down is to move so fast that they have no time to argue. Pack up or be left behind!

c. What they will be doing
Lastly they were told what they would be doing after those three days. “You are to cross this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the Lord your God is giving you , to possess it.” Joshua was clear. Furthermore he embedded the promises with the vision. It was not a pep rally to convince them that they could do it. All the extra grace that the Lord promised Joshua was compacted in a few words and passed on to them. Joshua used his faith to inspire others. Success had everything to do not with how tough they are (down with pride), how ingenious they are in devising a way across the river but in trusting God’s enabling.

A good start is so important for it is this first impression that will be played over and over again. What has been done sets the expectation of what will be. All the things that will be said later will be built on this foundation that God is going to give them the land. The words shape their attitude toward God, their enemies and the mission. If you are a leader, do not feel overwhelmed by this. Remember stay close to God and He will tell you what to say. Doing it is half the job but not the whole job. We need to do it rightly.

Behind the scenes, I am convinced that Joshua was securing wisdom by staying close to God. He no doubt had already memorized many of the words Moses had written down. He had to meet God. Only God would give him confidence (not self-confidence but God-confidence). Only God could lead him. He had to meditate in God’s Word day and night. In his personal life had to obey God, which in this case required that he speak thus to the people and lead them over the Jordan.

They are to possess the land, and yet the land is something the Lord is giving to them. Now you might be thinking about how strange it is to fight for something which is being given to you but that is what is happening. God has so assured them of victory that they only need to go forth in faith. ‘Possess’ actually means to receive as an inheritance or to occupy and care for what was given to them.

Summary & Application

Joshua stood up against all the pressures that faced him and led the people of God into the Promised Land. God’s Words were no longer only to be dreams. They have heard those words, “Promised Land” for so long. Now it was going to become true. Joshua would make sure the dreams became true. Aspirations would become reality. There was much more to be done, but his vision and action are in the right place.

Application: How are you doing in your quest for which Christ died for and commissioned His people? Are you taking it seriously? It might be as simple as a father leading his family in prayer for other people. You might be a leader with a plan that seems from God but afraid to mention it.

You might be the kind of person who sees the needs around you and criticize why something isn’t done. Did you ever ask yourself why it is on your heart? And why you have not done anything about it? Again, we do not want everyone doing his own thing. We are a people of God under His leadership. He has appointed leaders. We should respect them and go through them. Trust them with your ideas. Pray for your leaders that it might be well with you. => Next

Index on Joshua

Reaching Beyond Mediocrity (Joshua 10:1-43)
– The Day the Sun Stood in the Sky –
Skepticism and Higher Bible Criticism
Joshua 10:12-14 Interpretations of 'Sun stood in the sky.'
Joshua 10:12-14 Purpose of Recording the Miracle
Joshua 10:1-11: A. Joshua's Sincere Obedience
Joshua 10:12-43: B. Joshua's Quest for God's Best
Joshua 10:1-43: Bible Study Questions

Joshua 1:1-5 The Mission: God's Purpose for Us

Mobilizing God's People (Joshua 1:10-18)

Joshua 1:10-18: Introduction to Moblizing God's People
Joshua 1:10-11: A. Communicates God’s Will
Joshua 1:12-15: B. Demands Total Participation
Joshua 1:16-18: C. Responds With A Clear Commitment
Joshua 1:10-18: Bible Study Questions
Finishing the Task (Joshua 13:1-33)

Joshua 13: Introduction: 3 Unexplainables
Joshua 13:1 Passes on the Vision
Joshua 13:2-5 Knows the Need
Joshua 13:6 Lives by Faith
Joshua 13:7-33 Distributes the Responsibility
Joshua 13:1-33 Bible Study Questions
Victory over Strongholds (Joshua 6:1-27)
Joshua 6:1-27 The Lesson from Jericho
Joshua 6:1 Our Need for God's Power
Joshua 6:2-5 Our Discovery of God's Solutions
Joshua 6:6-27 Our Participation in God's Victory
Joshua 6:1-27 Summary: You can win too!
Joshua 6:1-27_Bible_Study_Questions
Obtaining a Greater Portion (Joshua 21)
Joshua 21 Introduction: A Greater Deal
Joshua 21:1-7 A Special Calling
Joshua 21:8-42 A Special Service
Joshua 21:43-45 A Special Promise
Joshua 21 Bible Study Questions
Effectively Dealing with Defeat & Despair (Joshua 7:1-15)
Joshua 7:1-15: Learning about Defeat and Failures
Joshua 7:1-5: Falling into Failure
Joshua 7:6-10: Staying in Disgrace
Joshua 7:11-15: Road to Recovery
Joshua 7:1-15: Bible Study Questions

Other Articles on Biblical Leadership

Other Articles on Biblical Leadership

Bible Studies on Godly Living
Dangers of Counseling
Setting Priorities
7 Principles to Spirit Dependent Teaching

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Biblical Foundations for Freedom

Rev. Paul J. Bucknell

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