Today’s commemoration is for Joshua, and our devotional reading comes from LifeLight: Joshua—Leaders Guide.
When God appointed Joshua as the leader of Israel after Moses’ death, God reminded Joshua that He would be with him every step of the way. God promises us the same thing too through His Son. Jesus is always with us, no matter what trials or challenges we encounter.
It is the spring of 1406 BC, according to our best chronological data from the Bible and other resources. The location is Shittim in the plains of Moab east of the Jordan River opposite Jericho. The great leader Moses has died. The Lord speaks to Joshua as He had spoken to Moses. Earlier, Joshua had been commissioned to lead (Numbers 27:18-23). He had been trained and tested by the Lord while he served under Moses. The important work ahead called for a proven leader.
God promises Joshua that he will enjoy the continuing gracious presence of the Lord Himself, just like Moses. What could bring more comfort and encouragement? The all-powerful and overwhelmingly gracious Lord will never leave Joshua, no matter what enemies he will face and in spite of any circumstance he finds himself in. We don’t have to envy Joshua for this promise. The same promise belongs to us. See Deuteronomy 31:6 (see also Hebrews 13:5), noticing the purpose of the author in repeating the promise: God will never leave or forsake us.
God’s encouragement centers on turning Joshua to the Torah of Moses, the existing Scriptures of his day.
The Hebrew term Torah means basically “teaching, instruction.” While Torah is commonly translated “law,” this is inadequate or perhaps misleading. The meaning in verses 7–8 is the entire teaching of Moses, the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, which Moses wrote. Those books contain both Law and Gospel, God’s commands and His promises through Christ.
As Joshua meditates on the message of Scripture he will be “prosperous” and “have good success.” These words need to be understood according to God’s definitions. There is a big difference between what God and the world consider to be prosperity and success. For example, in Luke 16:22–23, a sickly beggar is a success as angels carry him to Abraham’s side in heaven. In contrast, a wealthy man in hell is a failure. Believing or rejecting “Moses and the Prophets” (Luke 16:29) marks the difference in God’s eyes between success and failure.
To the right and left of Scripture lie the desolate wasteland of unchecked human reason, mere human opinion, doubtful interpretation of Scripture, and the bottomless pit of fatal heresy. For strength and encouragement, prosperity and success that lasts beyond a lifetime, God directs us and Joshua to Scripture alone. Who would want to turn either to the right or left of Scripture by adding or subtracting from it (Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32)?
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.
Devotional reading is adapted from LifeLight: Joshua—Leaders Guide, pages 15–16 © 2006 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.