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A Leader for Israel’s First Steps
Since Moses could not lead the people into the promised land, God had to choose a new leader to direct their steps. God selected another man of faith, Joshua. It was Joshua, along with Caleb, that had spied out the land of Canaan and said, "Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it." They rejected the faithless report of the ten who saw themselves as grasshoppers in the eyes of the inhabitants of the promised land. Their confidence was based in the Lord and his ability to give them the land ( Num_13:1-33 ; Num_14:1-10 ).
When God selected a leader to succeed Moses, it was only fitting that it should be such a great man of faith. Despite his strong desire to take Israel over Jordan, Moses was told Joshua would lead the people ( Deu_3:23-28 ). God had used a number of different circumstances to prepare Joshua to be a leader. It was he who led the people in battle against Amalek ( Exo_17:8-16 ). When Moses went unto God on the mount, Joshua was with him ( Exo_24:12-13 ). He was there when Moses came down from the mount with the tables of stone and found the people worshiping the golden calf ( Exo_32:15-20 ). Joshua also got to see the unselfish nature of Moses when he would not forbid Eldad and Medad to speak for God in the camp ( Num_11:24-30 ).
In Num_27:15-20 , Moses asked God to select a man to be the leader of Israel when he was dead. God had him lay his hands on Joshua to symbolize the transfer of authority, much like laying hands on a sacrifice symbolized placing the sins of the people upon it (see Exo_29:10-14 ; Num_8:5-13 ). This was done in front of all the people so they would recognize that the honor of Moses was now on Joshua. So, when Moses died, the people followed Joshua because he was full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom ( Deu_34:9 ).
Joshua's first instruction from God was to lead the people over the Jordan ( Jos_1:1-9 ). One author says there are 27 fierce rapids between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. The Jordan River falls some 700 feet in the space of 60 miles. McGarvey says it plunges with terrific force when it is at flood stage, which it was when Joshua took command. He also said it swells to a width of from one-half to one mile. Joshua was to lead from 2 to 3 million people and their herds across such a swollen torrent.
He did receive God's promise that they would be given all the land they walked on within the boundaries promised to Moses. Notice, the reception of this gift of land from God was dependant upon them meeting God's conditions. The land that was theirs for the taking was from the Arabian desert on the south to the mountains of Lebanon on the north and from the Euphrates River on the east to the Mediterranean Sea on the west.
Just as God had supported Moses in all of the works he did in his behalf, he promised to sustain Joshua. Joshua knew that no man, even powerful Pharaoh, had been able to successfully oppose Moses. God promised none would be able to oppose Joshua either (compare Heb_13:5-6 ). Of course, God's strength would be his only as long as he obeyed his commandments. Prosperity and success actually come from keeping the law which was designed for man's good.
Faith from an Unlikely Place
Jos_1:10-18 ; Jos_2:1-21
Joshua's first actions as a leader were designed to fulfill God's command to get ready to cross over Jordan ( Jos_1:2 ). Keil and Delitzsch see him taking three specific actions to prepare for the crossing. He first issued instructions to men, serving in overseer type roles, to pass on to the people (1:10-11). The word, which is translated "officers," literally means "to write," according to Coffman, and suggests they were like foreman writing down the directions of the boss and seeing that they were carried out. Everyone was to take no more than three days to prepare provisions to sustain them as they entered Canaan. Then, Joshua reaffirmed the promise of the tribes of Reuben, Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh to help the rest conquer their land before returning to the west bank of Jordan (1:12-18).
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Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Joshua 1". "Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25