"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 1:11(NASB)
Joshua was given the daunting task of leading the children of Israel into the Promised Land. For forty years, he witnessed the rebellious unbelief of an entire generation, all of whom had been buried in the wilderness - with the exception of himself and Caleb who trusted the Lord.
He was tasked with bringing the second generation of Israelites into the land which was promised to Abraham as an everlasting possession. But Joshua's faith was to be sorely tried.
Three times, he was instructed by the Lord to be strong and very courageous, for God promised to be with Him... to lead and guide him, and to bring him to a sure victory. The Lord promised his servant, Joshua, that he would have God's ever-present, sustaining presence and power with him, if he would but trust His Word.
Joshua would have to face many tests of faith in the days and years ahead, as he battled to win the Promised Land for God's people. But perhaps the greatest trial he was to face, would be to maintain his own faith in God. Joshua's greatest test of all would be to sustain his trust in the Word of God, obey His commands, and believe the Lord's precious promises.
It was after the death of Moses that the Lord spoke to Joshua and gave him these instructions: "Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, by saying, 'Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you are to cross this Jordan. In three days, you are to go in to possess the land which the LORD your God is giving You - to possess it.'"
The task before this man was tremendous, but Joshua was to inform the people that "every place on which they trod, would be given to them as a lasting possession." Joshua was to inform the Israelites that neither man nor army would be able to stand against them: "I will not fail you, nor forsake you," was the reassuring promise of God.
Joshua had to come to understand that the battle did not depend on his own skill and abilities - victory belongs to the Lord. However, Joshua's greatest struggle was to be the battle for his faith in God. He had to fight the inner conflict between faith and doubt, and keep trusting the Lord to fulfil His Word.
Joshua had to realise that Israel's success in conquering the land did not depend on his own fighting skills or leadership abilities, but on God's precious promise to sustain them in the battle and to guide his servant in the way he should go.
Joshua did as the Lord commanded. He prepared the people and rehearsed God's orders in their ears: "Prepare provisions for yourselves," he commanded, "for within three days you are to cross this Jordan. You are to go in to possess the land of Canaan, which the LORD your God is giving you, to possess it."
For the rest of his life, Joshua would be commanding his troops and fighting physical battles. But the battle to maintain his trust in the Word of God and to faithfully carry out the commands of the Lord, would be fought every day of his life, from that day forward. Throughout the Old Testament, we discover that "the just shall live by faith," faith in the Word of God and faith in His precious promises - for the battle is not ours but belongs to the Lord.
It was not by might, nor by power that Joshua triumphed as he led the Israelites in the battle for the Promised Land. He triumphed by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. And when Israel trusted God they were victorious, but when they were influenced by human council they were defeated.
The battles that we fight in this post-Cross dispensation, may not be fought with the same slings and swords that Joshua's army used to conquer so many Canaanite cities - for in this Church age, we are in a spiritual battle which requires spiritual armour. Today, we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers. Our battle is against the rulers of the darkness of this world. We are fighting against spiritual wickedness in high places.
However, we are faced with the same dilemma as Joshua - the battle for our faith in God. Day by day, we are all faced with the fight to maintain our trust in God's Word and the quest to believe that His precious promises are 'YES' and 'AMEN' in Christ. May we come to full acceptance that today and every day, the battle is not ours but belongs to the Lord. Our victory has already been won by Christ - we simply have to live by faith and not by sight.
We are not only saved by faith, we are also to live by faith - faith in the Son of God. The just shall LIVE by faith - not by feelings, intuition, or any other human reasoning. May we live each day in spirit and truth, by trusting the Lord in all things and refusing to be influenced by our own human understanding.
Heavenly Father, help me to trust in the facts of Your Word and not to allow my own frail reasoning to doubt You or question You. Help me to live each day by faith and not rely on my human impulses to take control of my life. Help me remember that no matter what I am facing, You have promised to lead and guide me and never to leave me, even to the end of the age. Thank You for Your Word of truth. In Jesus' name, AMEN.