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Sunday, June 23rd, 2024
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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Bible Commentaries
Joshua 1

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-18

At this time you may be seated and we'll turn to the book of Joshua.

Now it came to pass after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, that the Lord spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying ( Joshua 1:1 ),

Moses' minister; it doesn't mean that Joshua was Moses' pastor. The word "minister" there actually is in its true meaning, which is "servant". It is interesting how that somehow we've really sort of twisted the concept of a minister. So many men in the ministry today really don't look at the ministry as servanthood, but they're almost wanting people to serve them. "You know you ought to bring it to me because after all, I'm your minister." That's totally opposite of what the word minister really means. It means a servant.

Jesus said, "If any man would be chief among you, let him be the servant of all"( Mark 10:44 ). So a true minister is a man who is there not to be ministered to, but who is there to serve the needs of the people. So when it reads that he was Moses' servant, or his minister, it means that he was Moses' personal servant. He accompanied Moses, he helped Moses do the things, and Moses was, he was just his valet sort of, just his servant.

Now after the death of Moses, God elevated him from Moses servant, to the servant of all of the people of Israel. Faithful in the little things, now the Lord has entrusted into his hands even greater things. This is always the process of God. Jesus said, "Because thou hast always been faithful in little things, now I will make thee ruler over many" ( Matthew 25:21 ). He said, "If I've entrusted to you the little things, and you haven't been able to take care of them, how can I entrust you the things of the kingdom?" As the Lord encourages us to the faithfulness to our service, no matter what avenue of service He may call us to.

Many times we look with disdain on particular ministries within the body. We look with sort of envy or desirability on other ministries within the body. Men are prone many times to put greater honor on certain ministries. Actually, the particular ministry that I have within the body is one that people often look up to in an enviable kind of a way because it is a particular ministry that draws a lot of prominence because I stand before people. But it doesn't really follow that my ministry is more important than your ministry within the body. There are some ministries that never cause any attention or notice to be drawn to them, which God has placed as some of the most vital and important ministries within the body.

There is that ministry of intercessory prayer. Rarely do you know who it is who has that ministry. Yet what an important ministry within the body. What great honor God places upon that ministry. What great rewards will that person have who has and is faithful to that ministry. I don't know that they'll have rows in heaven, I hope not. Because I'm afraid that I'll have a back row because there is so much feedback to the ministry that I have. It's so neat to have people like you who display and show so much love, and so much warmth, and so much kindness. I fear lest I often am getting all my rewards here, and they'll be nothing left for me when I get up there. I'll have to stand in the back on my tiptoes trying to see down to the front. Some of you people who have never been on the platform, never been in the public eye, you'll be right down there on the front row, because you have been faithful to God in that ministry that He has called you to fulfill. Though it wasn't one that caused a lot of attention to be drawn to you, but you were faithful in that to which God called you.

We need to get away from this concept of full-time ministry, looking at that, those who are on the Calvary Chapel staff are those who've been hired by some mission board are full-time ministers. You are, all of you called by God to be a full-time minister. Now Sears and Roebuck may pay your salary, or some other corporation, but you have been called of God to full time, serving the Lord. Whatever you're doing in word or deed, you should be doing for the glory of God, and as unto the Lord. Knowing that from the Lord you are going to receive your reward. So we need to have the proper concept of the ministry, and especially those who do serve on any church staff. We need to get away from that idea that the minister is someone who is especially holy, or is someone above the others, because as a minister, I'm actually a servant. Can you imagine seeking to serve this many people? But yet that's what God has called me to do. So Joshua was Moses' minister, that is he was his personal valet or servant.

Now after the death of Moses, the Lord then spoke unto Joshua. His name is a very significant name. It was given to him by Moses, originally his mother called him "Hosea", which means "salvation". But Moses after he saw the quality and all in this man, called him "Joshua", or "Yashua", which is "Jehovah is", or "Jehovah's salvation", or "Jehovah is salvation." It is the same name as Jesus. This is in Hebrew "Yashua", in Greek it is "Jesus". So we find in Joshua a very interesting type of Jesus Christ, who, Joshua, led the people into the inheriting of the land.

Now Moses could only lead the people so far. Moses led them out of Egypt and to the border of the Promised Land, but Moses could not lead them in. Moses stands for the law. The law cannot lead you into the fullness of God's blessings for your life. The law can lead you up to the border, but the law can't take you in. So, Moses the representative of the law, could lead them up to the border of the Promised Land; he could not lead them into the Promised Land. It is necessary now that Moses lay down his leadership. Joshua takes up the leadership to lead them into the promises of God.

Now there have been given unto us exceeding rich and precious promises. God has a life for you that is a super rich abundant life in Jesus Christ. It isn't God's will that you be on a spiritual roller coaster, that you be a yo-yo in your spiritual experience. It is God's desire that you enter into the full, rich life that He has for you in Jesus Christ, that you enjoy that life of victory in Christ. But the law can't lead you into that. Only Jesus Christ can lead you in. So where Moses had to leave off, Joshua took up, for the law led them as far as it could. Now the new relationship is gonna be one of faith. They're gonna have to begin by stepping out in faith, coming into this land that God had promised.

Now their conquest of Canaan is typical of the Christians entering into the life of victory that God has for us, as we are conquering over the giants of the flesh that have been entrenched so long in our lives, as we enter into that glorious victory in and through Jesus Christ, that the Lord has for us. Now, it is interesting that Joshua could only lead them so far. He led them into the conquering of the land but he never brought them into a rest. That is something that was reserved for Jesus Christ.

In Hebrews the contrast is made of how that Joshua led them in but could not bring them to the place of rest; that is a work that was reserved for the finished work of Jesus Christ. And once Christ made the work of salvation complete through His death upon the cross, then He has brought us now into the rest where we rest our salvation, our eternal life in that finished work of Jesus. We have that neat rest in the Lord. So Jesus has done for us that which Joshua could not do. He brought them only into the land, not into the rest, but Jesus has brought us into a glorious rest. So you get into some of the typology and it makes a very fascinating study.

Now God spoke to Joshua and the words of the Lord were actually words of encouragement. Commanding Joshua now to take up where Moses left off, and for him to lead the people the children of Israel. The beautiful promise in verse three where God said,

Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses ( Joshua 1:3 ).

Now I like that because this is stepping in and laying claim to that which is already yours. Notice it's in the past tense, "Every place you put your sole, I have already given to you." Now God has already given to you a glorious, full, rich life of victory. All you have to do is go in and take it by faith, go in. "Wherever you put the sole of your foot", the Lord said, "I have given to you". You can go in and begin to lay claim to the blessings of God, to the promises of God. Let us beware lest God having given us the promise that we would fail to receive it, or enter into it. It is important that we begin to lay claim to those victories over the flesh life that God has promised to give to us. "Every place you put the sole of your foot, I have given to you."

From the wilderness from Lebanon even to the great river, Euphrates ( Joshua 1:4 ),

Now the tragic thing is that they didn't put their sole all the way. So God says, "It's all yours, every place you put your sole of your foot down, I've given it to you." They only went so far and then they quit. They never did go over the river Euphrates. They never did take all that God had given to them.

Now it is also tragically true that so many times we fail to take all that God has given to us. We fail to enter fully into that life of victory in Jesus Christ. We hesitate, or we become as they did, satisfied, "That's all we need." We become more or less complacent in our spiritual growth. We just hit a plateau and we say, "Oh praise the Lord. This is wonderful." We don't press on any further.

So when God tells them the area that is theirs, it is sad that they never did take all of the area that was theirs. They never did fully possess their possessions: that which God gave to them. That is why the scriptures are constantly exhorting us. "Let us go on, let us go on into the completeness, into the fullness." God has so much for you. God wants to do so much for you. If you'll just press in by faith, lay claim, take it, it's yours.

Now the Lord is encouraging him.

No man will be able to stand against you: as I was with Moses, so I'm gonna be with you: I will not fail you, nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage: for unto this people you're going to divide this inheritance, the land. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do all that is written according to the law ( Joshua 1:5-7 ),

Now the encouragement for Joshua as God promises His presence, His power. Then as God again tells him the conditions upon which he will experience that presence and power of God.

Be careful that you observe to do the whole law: don't turn, don't deviate from it to the right, or to the left. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for thus thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and thou shalt have good success ( Joshua 1:7-8 ).

Now God is saying, "Look keep the law, don't deviate from it, for it is by this observing it day and night, meditating in it, thus thou shalt make thy way prosperous, thus you will have good success."

As we turn to the first Psalm, we read, "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law does he meditate both day and night, he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth fruit in his season, his leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper"( Psalms 1:1-3 ). People looking for prosperity, people who are looking for success, God has given you the rules. Meditate in it, observe it, and thus shalt thou make thy way prosperous, for these are the rules to prosperity. These are the rules to success. So the conditions upon which he can know the power, the presence, the victory.

So Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, Pass through the land, and command the people, saying, Prepare your food; for within three days you're gonna pass over this Jordan, and go in to possess the land, which the Lord your God gives to you to possess. And to the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and to half the tribe of Manasseh, he said, [All right now, you promised Moses you were gonna go in and help us, and he reminded them of their promise, told them now to leave their wives and so forth, and to get their fighting men together so that they might cross with them, and take this land that God had promised unto them]; Until the Lord has given [verse fifteen] your brothers rest, as he has given you, and they have possessed the land which the Lord your God has given to them: then you will return and enjoy this land. And they answered Joshua, saying, All that you command us we will do, for whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go. And as we hearkened unto Moses, so will we hearken unto you ( Joshua 1:10-17 ).


Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Joshua 1". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/joshua-1.html. 2014.
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