JOSHUA - Lesson 2: Commissioned to Conquer
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
Joshua has just been commissioned by God to lead more than a million people -- with huge herds of slow-moving livestock -- into the promised land. To occupy the land, they must march against great fortified cities, hostile kings, physical giants and large armies trained for warfare. Joshua had no trained soldiers, no horses, no organized army. Before him lay the “unsurmountable obstacle” of crossing the Jordan river at flood stage without the benefit of bridge or boat and conquering he great city of Jericho with its impregnable walls.
In the midst of these “impossible circumstances” God spoke words of encouragement and hope to Joshua.
Precious King, as you spoke to Joshua many centuries ago, speak now to my heart. As Joshua faced a multitude of enemies who would hinder occupation of the promised land, so have I enemies who would hinder my enjoyment of the riches of our kingdom. Prepare me to conquer as you did Joshua. I trust you to lead me, dear Shepherd.
1. Read Joshua 1:1-9. How many times did God tell Joshua to be “strong and of good courage?” God's personal commands imply a need in us, His people. In this case, He knew that His servant, Joshua, needed to hear this message. What, then, does this repeated message tell us about Joshua?
2. What about you? Do you need to hear these reminders? Why, or why not?
3. You and I are all too aware of most of our own weaknesses. Yet, God tells us to be “strong and of good courage." How is that possible for you? (See Galatians 2:20 and 2 Corinthians 3:5) To be blessed by those promises, what must you know with certainty?
4. According to verse 7, what can you do when you have been made "strong and of good courage?"
5. Prayerfully ponder verse 8. How does this command help you to "be strong and of good courage?"
6. (Personal) What kinds of battles are you facing today? Who or what are your enemies? (Fear? Anger? Too busy a schedule?) How can you prepare yourself to occupy His promised land of peace and victory?
7. (Review) God had promised to give His people the rich, fertile land they were about to enter. But this covenant promise involved a certain response and action on the part of the people. What specific steps must Joshua take in order to drive out God's enemies and possess the land?
Note: Science has shown us that Israel's climate was far more moist four thousand years ago than it is today. God had promised to "bring rain in its seasons" and the land was lush and green. He also warned then that if they rebelled against Him, the land would become dry and deserted. See Deuteronomy 11:14-17. In recent years, archeology and climatology have validated this climate change, which was part of God's sovereign plan.
8. (Personal) In the spiritual realm, what corresponding steps must you take to occupy and find rest in God's eternal kingdom?
9. Read Exodus 23:20-24. Through Moses, God had provided His people with laws and guidelines that would help them live together in peace and love, trusting and following their heavenly King. Then, starting in v. 20, He makes a beautiful promise concerning victory over the enemies in the land.
A comparable victory takes place in our lives. By our union with Jesus, we have been made citizens of heaven where Christ reigns and where God’s will is done. However, until the enemies are “driven out” and every territory of our lives cleared for Him, we cannot fully experience the rest which He delights to give us.
10. What did He promise His people -- first through Moses, then through Joshua, who would be leading His nation into the land?
11. How might this promise apply to you?
12. As with many other Biblical promises, God gives us a command which points us toward the fulfillment of the promise. What does He require of His holy people?
How does that exhortation apply to you today?
13. How do these verses relate to Joshua: 1:7-8?
14. What additional insights into this promise does He show you in l Peter 1:3-7?
15. Read Joshua 1:9. How do the command and the promise fit together? Why are both important to a life of faith and victory in Christ?
16. Read Romans 8:31-39. How does this passage repeat and affirm the promises of Joshua 1:1-9?
17. If we would live every moment in the awareness of God's amazing love and continual presence with His people, what change would take place in our relationships with each other and in our responses to the challenges He allows into our lives?
18. (Personal) In light of all that He has shown you in the above Scriptures, what is your response to your Shepherd and King?
Next: Lesson 3 - Preparing for Victory