What Does Joshua 1:2 Mean?

"Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel.

Joshua 1:2(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

Moses was the man God chose to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt and into Canaan. For four hundred years the Israelites had dwelled in the land of Egypt, but over time they became an enslaved people. However, God remembered the promise He made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; that He would give them the land of Canaan and make them into a great nation through whom all the families of the earth would be blessed.

For eighty years, God prepared Moses to deliver His people from Egyptian slavery, lead them across the Red Sea and into the land He promised to give them. But despite being brought out of slavery, the people grumbled and murmured against God. God was angry with Israel and postponed their entrance into Canaan for 40 years until all but two of God's faithful servants, Joshua and Caleb, remained alive. Only two of the Israelites redeemed from Egypt were allowed to enter the Promised Land of Canaan, because the rest of the people had become a disobedient and rebellious nation.

Even Moses was not permitted to enter Canaan because He disobeyed God when He struck the rock a second time, instead of speaking to the rock, as the Lord had commanded. And so Joshua was chosen to lead the Children of Israel into the Promised Land. Following the death of Moses, Joshua received instructions from the Lord. He was told, "Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel."

Before the foundation of the world, God's plans and purposes for the redemption of the fallen human race were established. He chose one nation to be the people through whom would come the Redeemer of the world and, for a time, Moses was the man God chose to lead His chosen people out of bondage. But after his death, God transferred the leadership role to Joshua and gave him the necessary instructions for the next step in Israel's journey.

The death of God's servant did not frustrate His perfect plan, because for many years the Lord had been preparing a new servant for the task ahead. It was made clear to Joshua that the unconditional promises given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the conditional covenant Israel made with the Lord, would continue, unbroken, through the generations. And for a time, Joshua was to become Israel's leader under the Lord's sovereign authority.

Having wandered in the wilderness for forty years and seen an entire generation buried in the desert, God was about to forward His promise through Joshua. It must have been daunting for him to discover that he was to take over from Moses, Israel's great leader, law-giver, and servant of the Lord. But God uses each servant for a time to forward His perfect plan of redemption, before ordaining and equipping those who are to follow. And the final chapters of Deuteronomy together with the opening ones in the book of Joshua, demonstrate the transfer of leadership from Moses to Joshua.

Joshua was not called to take over the work Moses was given. He would be given his own instructions. Joshua was not required to keep on leading Israel through the wilderness. His task was different from the one that Moses was given. Joshua was to arise and cross over the River Jordan, with all the people of Israel. He was to leave the wilderness and enter into the land that God had promised to give to the sons of Israel, so many years before.

This would require new instruction, new challenges, a new role, and new responsibilities. This was designed to strengthen their faith in God, Who would fulfil His promise by bringing them into a land flowing with milk and honey and giving them victory over their enemies. They, in turn, would need to trust Him to lead, guide, direct and fight for them, through the instructions the Lord would give to Joshua, His newly appointed servant.

God's plans and purpose for the redemption of mankind are unchangeable, for He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, but God chooses the work that He gives to each of His servants individually. He knows each one of us by name and has prepared good works for each of us to carry out for His praise and glory. We will not all be required to be great leaders like Moses or Joshua, but we are all His people, members of the body of Christ who have been born into His family and created in Christ Jesus to carry out the work that God has prepared beforehand for us to do. 

We are, however, required to be faithful servants who heed the Word of God and steadfastly work the works of God in the place to which He has called us. May we faithfully fulfil the ministry to which we have been called, and do it to His strength and for His greater glory. 

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the Word of God, the truths it contains, and the examples set out before us. May we all be faithful soldiers and servants in the work that You have prepared for us to do. Thank You that Your perfect plan of salvation and the wonderful way that we can see it unfolding before our eyes, in the lives of all Your people - thank You in Jesus' name, AMEN.

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