A great burden was laid upon the shoulders of a man named Joshua. The great servant of the Lord — Moses — had finally died. Moses in life held the favor of God and had His ear. God talked with his servant directly “mouth to mouth” (Num. 12:8). This great man of faith had followed all the commands of the Lord and performed miracles in God’s power unseen in times before. For over forty years Moses had led nearly two million slaves away from their masters in Egypt, and in return got nothing but grief and strife and disobedience.
And now, the great weight of the man of God’s mantle was placed upon his assistant Joshua. He no longer was Oshea, but became Jehoshua or Joshua which means “God’s salvation” (Num. 13:8).1 And, he was scared.
The ascension of Joshua as the leader of Israel meant he was to take on the directive given to Moses. Joshua was to lead the two-million Israelites across the Jordan River and into the Promised Land. Once in the land, Joshua had to defeat giants and armies which bore actual weapons. His people were former slaves and untrained in combat techniques. They were out-gunned, out-supplied, and did not have the home field advantage. Because of these factors, Joshua had even more to be scared about.
Joshua did have weapons the enemy could never imagine or stand up against, though. The ultimate was the support of the one and only living Yahweh. God promised Joshua, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (Josh. 1:9). Wherever Joshua wanted to go, wherever he was to lead, and in whatever he meant to accomplish, God accomplished it for him. God’s will that the Israelites inherit the land He promised them would be fulfilled through Joshua, and God’s purposes are always fulfilled.
Also, the people knew God was with Joshua and would make him prosper in all that he did, and they confirmed God’s promise by pledging their allegiance to their new leader (Josh. 1:16-18). Through God’s power and with the support of the people, and confirmed by the miraculous separating of the Jordan River, Joshua overcame his fear and led the Israelites on to victory over all of God’s enemies.
The Christian engaging in the world today can look to Joshua and remember that by the Holy Spirit’s indwelling and the power of God believers in Christ have what Joshua had as well. God has promised the Christian, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Heb. 13:5). Wherever those who put their faith in Christ go, so goes the Lord.
Like God’s directive to Joshua, the body of believers called the Church has a directive as well — the Great Commission of Acts 1:8. As God’s witness, the Church not only spreads the Good News of Jesus Christ to the whole world, but also acts as “salt and light,” bearing the character of Christ before all of mankind who dwell across the world. God’s promise stands.
As First Corinthians 10:31 commands, whatever a Christian does they should do for the Lord. In that respect, Christians should bear their duty like Joshua did, with a total trust in the Lord and faith that God will accomplish all things through the believer.
For example, if a Christian is engaged in the business world, then they are to remember that it is the Lord who grants success as God measures success, if they have given their life and business all over Him, that is. That means that when engaging with consumers, they are to show ethical business practices. When managing employees, they should treat their staff with respect and Christian love. When it comes to receiving the fruits of their labors, they should share generously in ways the Gospel can advance. And, when the opportunities for sharing the Good News present themselves, like Joshua, they should move forward with all of the same confidence and the assurance that God’s will shall be done.
Brown, D. & Fausset, A.R. & Jamieson R. (1979), Commentary on the Whole Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House. p. 166.