10 So Joshua ordered the officers of the people: 11 “Go through the camp and tell the people, ‘Get your provisions ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you for your own.’”
Immediately after God tells Joshua to be strong, courageous, not afraid, and not dismayed, he goes to tell the officers to get ready. The lesson here for me is that I should be ready and willing to go when God tells me, just as Joshua was ready. This is the kind of faith that can move mountains. When you have put your trust in God, and you are without a doubt that He will be with you, even leading you, there is no room for failure.
Joshua announces to the people the same way that Moses would announce to them when God had a message. It was not something that Joshua was to keep to himself. All of the people needed to hear that God was with them, and going out in front of them before they crossed over the river, because waiting on the other side of that river was war. God was giving them the land, but they would have to first take possession of that land in order to call it their own.
Application: God will provide a way for us, too, but we must trust that He will be with us, lead us, and go before us to clear the way. Then it is our job to follow through in faith, to go where God leads.
12 But to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joshua said, 13 “Remember the command that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you after he said, ‘The Lord your God will give you rest by giving you this land.’ 14 Your wives, your children and your livestock may stay in the land that Moses gave you east of the Jordan, but all your fighting men, ready for battle, must cross over ahead of your fellow Israelites. You are to help them 15 until the Lord gives them rest, as he has done for you, and until they too have taken possession of the land the Lord your God is giving them. After that, you may go back and occupy your own land, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you east of the Jordan toward the sunrise.”
In Numbers 32 the tribes of Gad, Reuben, and half of the tribe of Manasseh came together to ask permission to receive the land east of the Jordan as their inheritance instead of crossing over. They asked because they had large amounts of livestock, and the land there was perfect for raising livestock. Moses consulted the Lord, and made an agreement with those tribes that if they would send their fighting men to help the rest of the Israelites when they crossed over to take possession of the land, then they would be permitted to inherit the land they wished.
One of the things about the Bible that fascinates me is that there is an application for every part of your life. These three tribes had already been given their inheritance, and had already settled in. They could have easily said no to Joshua when it was time to live up to their words, but instead they did the right thing. God calls us to be set apart for Him, and part of that means helping each other to succeed. “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Hebrews 3:13
Application: By helping each other we may then go back to our own lives and enjoy the rest that God promises from our enemies.
When God goes before you, and makes a way (Christ), He also promises rest. Sin will still knock at the door, but you will be given a new strength that is directly from Him (His yoke), that will allow you to resist temptation if you do so in His power. “28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11
16 Then they answered Joshua, “Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. 17 Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses. 18 Whoever rebels against your word and does not obey it, whatever you may command them, will be put to death. Only be strong and courageous!”
In an overwhelming response the people express their willingness to be obedient to Joshua, and therefore to God who is leading him. This act of obedience also defines the faith they had in God’s promise for their inheritance. They adamantly express that their only requirement of Joshua, if they are to follow, is that God be with him, and that he be a man of faith (strong & courageous). The people are trusting that Joshua will be led by God, and therefore lead them to what God has promised since Abraham to fulfill; the giving of the land to his descendants.
What is not explicitly stated, but goes right along with the promise for land is the promise for redemption. In Genesis chapter 12 Abram (later renamed Abraham) is called by God to leave his home, family, and everything he knew to go out where God would lead him. God promises him that he will become a great nation (Israel), and that he will bless the world (Christ). It was imperative that Abram obey to fulfill the promises of God. From the book of Genesis to the New Testament the emphasis is that we are imperfect and unable to save ourselves. This is why Joshua puts his faith in God to lead him, because he knows there is no way to conquer nation after nation without God’s help.
Principle: God’s plans are fulfilled by our obedient faith.
“1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12