At the outset of the book of Joshua, one finds God’s commissioning of this new leader. God establishes Joshua with the leadership once held by Moses, and sets out the task for which he has been raised up: to lead the people into their inheritance of the Land of Promise. The first chapter begins with God’s charge to Joshua to assume this new leadership. Verse 6 offers a powerful exhortation to “Be strong and courageous” in his pursuit to bring the people into the new land.
However, in verse 7, the command is repeated. Only this time it is strengthened. Joshua is to be “strong and very courageous” in being careful to do according to all the law that Moses has commanded. In verse 8, this is explained further as the Lord says that Joshua is to “meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”
Future enemies, struggles, hardships, and task may require courage, but Joshua is going to need extra strength and courage to take the law and make it permeate all that he is. Here, God reveals to Joshua the importance of this new way of living spelled out in the law. Joshua is to make this rule be THE rule. It is to so infiltrate all that he is that he might not turn away at all, but will pursue the rule that the Lord has established in all ways.
This law, this rule, is to become a universal way of life. It was with Moses and now is with Joshua and is to be for the Hebrew people THE way of conducting one’s own life. No matter where they go, live, or are taken, the law is the law.
Video link – http://www.adland.tv/commercials/gatorade-sport-sport-long-2004-045-usa. For this new nation, “it’s 90 feet to first no matter where home is.” Regardless of their changing position, God’s way is the way.
The Lord’s call to “very courageous” indeed reminds us of the challenge of allowing His ways to completely transform our way of life and thinking. Joshua, though a man in command, is to allow himself to be commanded by this way of life. It will surely require courage. It is clear that prosperity and success will not be found outside of following the Lord (vs. 8). Matthew Henry’s commentary reminds us of this as he notes that “Those that make the word of the God their rule, and conscientiously walk by that rule, shall both do well and speed well […] and it will entitle them to the best blessings: God shall give them the desires of their heart.”
So also, may we make the word of God our rule, no matter where we might be. May it permeate our lives as we “meditate on it day and night,” being careful to what is written. This will surely require much courage. To this end, it is even more powerful a promise that God offers in Joshua 1:9 as He says that “the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”