Life will often lead us to significant crossroads. It could be a job offer, a relationship, an addition to the family, a financial situation… you get the picture. But crossroads will often come in the form of tragedy. Make no mistake: Joshua 1 shows us the intersection of faith and tragedy.
Verse one opens with, “After the death of Moses…” Let’s be real here — that is one of the biggest understatements in scripture. This was the leader God used in so many ways for the people of Israel. Moses was their leader and God’s servant. His death was no small thing. It shook the Israelites to the core. In fact, the Bible tells us just how hard this was: And the people of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days. Then the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended (Deuteronomy 34:8 ESV). So what now? Who will rise up and take the mantle? Maybe the person that would find this most difficult.
Enter Joshua. He was Moses’ confidant. He was his truest disciple, not just any other assistant. But Joshua was likely one of the most-grieved in the land, second to Moses’ family. He probably wanted to fold. Yet, in this tragedy, a true leader was born. The Lord encouraged Him to live by faith and trust His word. No easy tasks ahead, but Joshua was off and running and the people (mostly) followed him into the Promised Land.
When we first went through Joshua in Jumpstart a few years ago, our Lead Pastor (Tim) led us through a series of thoughts on what God told Joshua to do or to be. This summary was especially helpful for me and it will be for you too:
• Be strong and courageous (v.6)
• Fear is paralyzing. Trust – don’t fear (2 Timothy 1:7)
• Carefully obey the Scriptures (v.7-8). Think about them, talk about them, follow them
• God’s Word keeps leaders heading in the right direction (Hebrews 4:12)
• Don’t be afraid or discouraged (v.9). Discouragement destroys leadership – look to God and keep going (Hebrews 12:2)
In starting Joshua today, be encouraged. When the crossroads of tragedy and faith find you, you’ll realize that your only hope is in the God who loves you, calls you, and gives you purpose even in the most difficult of circumstances. Also, remember that there is another “Joshua” that we find in the New Testament, and He will lead us into a much better Promised Land than a piece of real estate in the Middle East. His name is Jesus, and today, wherever you are and whatever you face, He invites you to be strong and courageous. And an added bonus: He’ll be with you every step of the way (Matt. 28:19-20).
What did you learn today? What is God teaching you? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.
By: Todd Thomas