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Church family and guests this is a very special time for not only the many students across this great land, but also for our many graduates and students who will be moving onto the next stage in life or moving onto the next upcoming grade.
You know when I was in middle school and high school, I can recall how excited I was to be moving onto the next grade.
It was also a frightening time not really knowing what was ahead.
Like many of our students and graduates who are moving onto the next transition in life, if you think about it we are all in transition.
All of us are moving through this quest of life.
Time as we know it does not stand still.
As we go through life, have you ever thought of the opportunities God provides to us as every turn and every step to bring glory to His name?
They are there waiting for us to take ahold, and they’re for us to do so.
They are not mean to be wasted.
When these opportunities arise, sometime we need to stand strong an courageous to answer the call.
Our passage this morning takes to the beginning of the book of Joshua.
The central character of the book is not Joshua but God.
God fights for Israel and drives out the enemy before them.
He is a faithful God who desires a true covenant relationship with His people.
The book of Joshua is also about Israel’s response to God’s covenant promise, and this morning we are going to get a taste of that.
Joshua is standing at the threshold of a gigantic task.
Now of course the book of Joshua is a very well-known book.
It’s a beloved book and for good cause.
It’s also a book about new beginnings.
Joshua is the record of what happened at the end of the 40 years of wilderness wanderings.
They were so ready to enter into this wonderful land flowing with milk and honey.
It’s a book about warfare.
The book of Joshua goes into great detail about the military victories, and some defeats of the nation Israel as they sought to take the promised land.
Now we might wonder about, why would God give us a book like this in Scripture?
It’s to remind us that we too are in a battle.
But we are not in a war of flesh of blood.
We are fighting a spiritual battle.
This battle began on the day of your conversion and it will rage until the day you are called home.
I wish the devil would take vacations every now and then.
Wouldn’t it be great if he just took May off?
We could all just kick back.
Well it’s not going to happen.
Turn with me in you Bibles to Joshua.
We’ll be reading chapter 1 verses 1 through 9.
Our first point this morning in these first couple verses is where God addresses Joshua directly, promising the land that He promised to Moses.
Joshua writes the words “after the death of Moses.”
This is considered to a link to the book of Deuteronomy.
It helps to link the various pieces of Israel history together.
It’s the same when you start looking into the book of Judges.
Judges is a continuum following Joshua’s passing.
Let’s turn our attention to the end of verse one, we come to an interesting word, aide.
Depending on your translation it may read “aide or assistant.”
In the Hebrew, this word can take on a couple different meanings.
In this context, it is pointing to the means of service to an individual.
At one point or another we all have started a new task or job where we either were placed with a mentor.
In a perfect world the mentor would take you under the wing and show you the ropes so to speak.
You would be learning about all the different landscapes that pertained the job.
We know learning is a process, and things take time to grasp.
That is what’s happening here, when we see the word aide.
You could think of Joshua as a trainee.
Joshua is not yet identified as a person who has earned all his stripes.
The use of the word aide is to show the likelihood he had not yet “filled Moses’ shoes.”
Joshua needed to grow into the job.
The land of Canaan had been promised to Abraham hundred of years before.
Although God allowed Abraham’s descendants to be slaves, God never pulled back, or to say - oh just kidding Abraham.
I wanted to see if you we really all in when I made the promise to you.
God’s promise was always to bring them back to their own land.
It’s an awesome feeling to know the promises of God are true, and He never leads to think other wise.
God will never say to you - oh just kidding.
Isaiah had much to say about the promises of God.
Isaiah said in:
If the book of Isaiah would have been written before Joshua, these words would have likely provided the encouragement they would have needed.
In the next couple verses God does exactly that.
God took pains throughout this charge to assure Joshua that Moses’s death would not end God’s presence with Israel, nor God’s guidance of Israel’s leaders.
For the Israelites to see the fulfillment of the divine promise, their feet will have to tread the land.
No benefit will come to them without their active participation.
The gift had already been given; the time had now come for the recipients—the Israelites—to possess it.
Sometimes that sound easier said than done.
God tells the Israelites He would give them every place where they set their foot.
God also lets them know what their boundary would be.
He also lets them know no one would be able to stand against them.
What a promise!
Could you image the sovereign God of the known universe saying these things.
Are your socks knocked off yet?
Because mine sure are.
This is our second point this morning!
God makes a great promise to Moses that I will be with you.
We see that in Exodus 3:12:
And now God is making the same promise to Joshua at the end of verse 5 “I will be with you.
I will not leave or forsake you:
This would provide special comfort to Joshua knowing that God would be with him in the same way He had been with Moses.
Remember back to where Joshua is called an aide?
Joshua would have been present during the many demonstration of God’s presence in Moses’ life, and would have known how significant the promise was.
Let’s change gears, we change from knowing God is always present to a command.
Can you think back to a time in your life where you were profoundly moved by a simple phrase of words?
My grandfather use to say, if the plan doesn’t work, change the plan but not the goal.
In verses 6,7 and 9, (We’ll come back to verse 8 in a minute) God issues Joshua a command, but God is also encouraging Joshua.
God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous.
This profound for Joshua, since God mentioned this three times!
This is something that stayed with Joshua.
God wove something into the fabric of who Joshua was as person.
I can hear Joshua now, telling everyone who needed encouragement – be strong and courageous – stay strong and courageous.
The command to be strong and courageous was repeated.
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