Scripture: Joshua 1:10-18
Studies in Joshua: #4—Stirring up the people
Joshua emerges from the presence of God to speak to the people. This is the real purpose for God meeting with and speaking to Joshua on this occasion. He is prepared by this personal encounter with God to begin the work of getting the people ready to enter possession of their promised inheritance. This is particularly the function of God’s servants. This is a Christ-like ministry!
I STIRRING THE PEOPLE GENERALLY.
Joshua has a word for all the people, v10-11.
- He speaks with authority, v10. He commanded… Note also the role of officers who were also to command, v11. There is a structure of magisterial authority in view. God’s people are to be under authority! Cp Heb 13:17, 24. The authority of God’s servant is derived—he speaks authoritatively when he communicates the word of God.
- The people of God viewed as a pilgrim army. The military aspect of going through with God to possess their inheritance is never to be forgotten. This the view of them that Joshua has and would have them to hold of themselves. The word host is an ‘encampment’—a pilgrim people is in view. God’s people are ever to remember that they are on the march to the promised land. Their promised inheritance always beckons them to move forward. Cp Heb 11:9, 13.
- The simple preparation that is underscored. The preparation of victuals! Food—and the word specifically suggests hunted game—is to be prepared in advance. It is still true that an army marches on its stomach! Reserves of food are to be prepared that will see them through the initial stages of their advance into Canaan. God’s people who would cross into their spiritual inheritance must ever take care of their spiritual diet.
- A short time. There is only a matter of days in view here. The time to make final preparation is short. The steps to a fuller enjoyment of God’s promised portion may be quickly taken. Though they had waited years to get to this point, just a few days will see them into the promised land. Just a few days should see progress in our experience of God’s grace. What a difference a week should make in our spiritual life!
II A SPECIFIC GROUP ADDRESSED.
Joshua has special instruction for a specific group/section within the nation, v12-15. Here he addresses those who have already begun to enjoy their portion of God’s promised blessing, v13.
- He prompts a memory of God-given duty, v13. He repeats the word that had been given to these men in the very recent past. The previous two years had seen a series of battles that resulted in the possession of territory on the eastern side of Jordan that had been given to these tribes. Joshua reiterates the words of Moses. There will be no assumptions! He reminds them of what God has done for them. They have enjoyed a foretaste of the land beyond Jordan. God’s servants are guided into a possession of their promised inheritance by ‘old’ revelation.
- This message becomes the basis of commanded:
- sacrifice. They are now to leave wives and families etc. Such personal sacrifice is part of pressing on into a fuller experience of God’s grace. Cp 1 Cor 7:29
- Service, v14. They must form the vanguard for their brethren in their battles. They must not only be content with beginning to experience God’s inheritance for themselves but pursue this matter till all have enjoyed it.
- A promise of blessing in this context, v15. These men were given the assurance that the Lord will bless their efforts and secure rest for their brethren. Further, they will return to their own portion and enjoy it.
III AN EXAMPLE OF THE SPIRIT THAT MARKS THOSE WHO WILL POSSESS THEIR PORTION.
- Submission to authority, v16-17. They promise to listen and obey all that they are commanded by Joshua as God’s man.
- A horror of rebellion, v18. It is recognized as a serious offence—punishable by death! They will not support or cover such an attitude.
- Prayer for Joshua. They ‘pray’ for this man that he will know the presence of God with him. Their own well-being is tied up in this! This is the only thing they desire for him!
- Personal encouragement, v18. They pray and speak as an echo of God’s words to Joshua. This is a happy thing indeed. They encourage him to press forward in this campaign. This is evidence of the degree to which they have taken this matter to heart. Not merely are they content to be passively led into Canaan but are actively exhorting Joshua to go forward. Again, the word only is used.