The Promise And The Pronouncement - Part I
The book of Joshua is a book of transition. It is the book that bridges the Pentateuch to the historical books. It is also a book that describes the people of God going from wilderness wanderings to becoming children of the land. The figure that looms large in the first five books of the Bible is Moses, but Moses was not allowed to enter into the promised land because he disobeyed God. Joshua, a type of Christ, was the one chosen to lead the children of Israel from the wilderness to the Land of Promise. There are differences between the two leaders: Moses led God’s people out of bondage, but Joshua took them into blessing. Moses brought them through the Red Sea; Joshua took them over the Jordan River. Moses was the symbol of deliverance, but Joshua was the symbol of victory. The reason for making this distinction is that it is one thing to be redeemed and delivered from Egypt, a type of the world system, but it is something else altogether to be victorious over the world, the flesh, and the Devil.
Joshua was standing on the banks of the Jordan River. Moses had just died, and Joshua was chosen by God to finish what Moses had started and complete the mission at hand. Could it be that Joshua was overwhelmed and considered himself to be under-qualified to do what God had called him to do? We all tend to feel that way, especially when God has called us for a specific task. Regardless of how he may have felt, God spoke to Joshua’s heart and gave him three promises and three pronouncements (charges). This was to reassure Joshua that he was the one who would see and dwell in the promised land.
The Promise of Inheriting the Promised Land
The three promises that God gave to Joshua began with the promise of inheriting the promised land. This land was promised to Abraham and his descendants; however, it was occupied by enemy tribes. Despite that, it was not God’s will for any part of the land that was promised to God’s people to remain in the hands of the enemy. Even though these enemy tribes were inhabiting the land at that time, it did not belong to them. This land belonged to God, and God was reminding Joshua that this promise was still in effect, and he would occupy the land.
How does this apply to us today? First of all, God has promised us certain things in life, with one being the opportunity to experience more abundant life; but there are enemy tribes that occupy parts of our lives. Remember, it is not God’s will for any part of our lives to be taken over by the enemy. Jesus has paid a high price to bring us into His victory, and He desires that we possess the entirety of the land. The Lord does not want us to live a defeated Christian life, but rather a complete and totally victorious life. To do that, we must claim the promises of God, just as He told Joshua to do. God spoke to Joshua and said to him that “every (single) place that the sole of your foot shall tread (walk) upon, that have I given unto you (it belongs to you)!” (Josh. 1:3). Joshua had to lay claim on those promises and believe that God was able to help him in this task. We must do the same today. Whatever God has promised us, we are to start claiming it and begin to believe God that He can bring those promises to pass.
The Promise of Complete Victory
The second promise that God gave to Joshua was the promise of complete victory over his enemies, in that not one person could stand before him all the days of his life. God did not say that there would never be any skirmishes or opposition, but the opposite. Yet, these enemies would not be able to stand against Joshua. Every giant, every tribe, and every enemy would be defeated, taken out, and conquered, as long as Joshua trusted the Lord. It is the same way with us presently. God has not promised us that we will not experience difficulties in life, but He has promised that He can bring us through every trial and tribulation.
Just as it was not God’s will for the enemy to stand over Joshua, it is not God’s will for the enemy to stand over us in a position of domination. We are to stand over the giants in our lives, and we can if our faith is anchored in Christ and the cross. The only fight that we are encouraged to fight is the good fight of faith. We are not commanded to fight against sin or the Devil, but we are to fight to keep our faith in Christ and the cross intact. Satan is not going to go away quickly, and we must be prepared for the onslaught of attacks that will be leveled against us. However, as the Lord spoke to Joshua and promised him that no enemy would stand before him, the same can be said of us as long as we trust in Him.
The Promise of Ultimate Rest
The third promise that God gave to Joshua was that of total and complete rest. Joshua knew that through it all, God would never leave them, and neither would He forsake them. His presence would always be with them, to lead and guide them every step of the way. Likewise, He has promised us that He will always be with us through every storm, trial, situation, and battle. He will never leave us when the going gets tough, and He will never forsake us when the action gets hot. These are testaments of the faithfulness of our God. When others turn and run, God has promised that He will stick with us closer than a brother and uphold us with the power of His right hand. It does not matter how big the enemy is that is standing before us; God has promised us that He will never abandon or desert us. He will give us rest from all the enemies that will ever stand before us, for He has already dealt with them at Calvary’s cross. We have rest today because of the finished work of Christ, and we can enjoy rest through constant faith in what He has done for us.
Part II of this article will continue in the October issue of The Evangelist.
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