A couple chapters ago, we heard the encouraging and comforting words from God that he would be with Joshua. Joshua’s courage was the result of this promise. Today we read about how Joshua rounds up the Israelites to prepare them for their journey across the Jordan River. God reminds him of the promise. “Today I will begin to make you a great leader in the eyes of all the Israelites. They will know that I am with you, just as I was with Moses.”
Take a moment to just imagine what everyone is feeling? I can see how some may be wondering why they had to hurry up just to wait again along the shore. Others may be nervous, perhaps even fearful of the water. Yet, Joshua was taking charge. It’s hard to imagine he had any fear at all. He was ready. His moment had come.
Joshua secretly sent two spies to investigate Jericho. Didn’t he trust God’s provision? Of course, he did. Even when we know we are doing exactly what God wants for us, and we’re living in his will, it’s up to us to do our due diligence. God has his part, and we have ours. Joshua wanted to be even more prepared so there would be no surprises.
Of all the places those men could have stayed, they found the perfect location. Rahab, as a prostitute, would have provided an unassuming place for a couple of guys, newbies in town, to go. However, somehow word had gotten out that the Israelites were on a scouting mission ahead of their battle to conquer. That was some good intel to be sure.
Joshua is not wasting any time, is he? He is readying up the people for the journey. It will start by crossing the Jordan River. I’ve never seen the Jordan River in person, but I’m guessing it’s more than a “trickle” of water. There were certainly no bridges waiting for the people to cross. More recently, river crossings took place by the settlers making their way across the United States in covered wagons.
What were the people feeling? I can only imagine. It wasn’t going to be easy. But roaming around the desert for generations wasn’t easy either. What makes all the difference is when we put our trust in God. When God is the one leading the charge, we are more likely to call upon the courage that assurance gives us.
It is now Joshua’s turn to be in the spotlight. As we walk through the book of Joshua, we will see Joshua’s leadership style, God’s people entering the Promised Land, and lots of God sightings. I remember having children watching the world around them to find God. We called those God sightings. Maybe in a sunset, in a kind word from a sibling, or smile from a stranger. God is all around us.
Our text today gives us that assurance, too. While God was giving Joshua the encouragement he needed for his mission, we can take those promises as our own, too. “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” When we are forging new territory and trying something new in our own God mission, we can rely on God to be beside us.