Joshua 1–5: Be Strong & Courageous

Read the Bible in 2023 ◊ Week 1: Tuesday

“No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.”
Joshua 1:5–6 LSB

Tuesday’s reading is Joshua 1–5. If you’re not familiar with Old Testament history, then you might want to use M’Cheyne’s reading plan in the right sidebar. It does mix readings from different books of the Bible, but it begins with Genesis and goes straight through the first five books of the Bible before you read Joshua. You can also use a chronological or historical reading plan.

The history in Genesis and the history of the Exodus of Israel from Egypt provide important background to the events in Joshua. If the pace set by M’Cheyne’s chart is too fast for you, then just slow down a bit, but do read large chunks of the Bible at a time rather than just one or two verses in a sitting, as Geoffrey Thomas encourages us to do. I find reading history in the Bible goes more rapidly for me because it’s narrative, and I’m meeting people and learning how events unfold rather than being presented with ideas to think through.

When the book of Joshua begins, Moses has died and God tells Joshua to cross the Jordan with the rest of Israel and take the land which God has given him. Joshua 1–5 is preparation for conquering the land.

In chapter 1 God commands Joshua and he assumes leadership of Israel. In chapter 2 he sends spies to Jericho; they are hidden from harm by Rahab because she has realized the Lord is with Israel, and she, in turn, pleas for and is promised safety for her household when Israel takes the city. In chapters 3 and 4, Israel crosses the Jordan River on foot as God dries up its waters, and two monuments are built, each of twelves stones, one in the river and one beside the river.

In chapter 5, Joshua circumcises the sons of Israel, and the Lord tells Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” (Read Genesis 17, for background on why Joshua did this). Israel observes the Passover, and chapter 5 closes with the appearance of “The commander of the host of Yahweh” whom Joshua falls down and worships.

How are these opening chapters a light to my feet and a lamp to my path? I go back to Joshua 1:5–9. Joshua 1:9 is drilled into my memory because of a Bible song tape for kids we listened to over and over again when our children were young. My son loved the song for this verse, and he would kick his heels against his car seat in time to the music.

“No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.
“Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.
“Only be strong and very courageous to be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn aside from it to the right or to the left, so that you may be prosperous wherever you go.
“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall 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 successful, and then you will be prosperous. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be in dread or be dismayed, for Yahweh your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:5–9 LSB

In Joshua 1:6–9, God commands Joshua three times to be strong and courageous. Verse 5 tells us why Joshua is to be strong and courageous. This is the verse I took note of today.

“No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.”
Joshua 1:5 LSB

In verse 5, God promises to be with Joshua as He was with Moses. He promises Joshua that He will not fail him or forsake him. I needed to read this and remember that God has promised to always be with me. He has promised to never fail me or forsake me. As I read this verse in Joshua I thought of Hebrews 13.

Make sure that your way of life is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,” so that we confidently say,
“THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID.
WHAT WILL MAN DO TO ME?”
Hebrews 13:5–6 LSB

The words that are all upper case small letters are cross-references to Old Testament passages. The first sentence cross-references Deuteronomy 31:6–8 and Joshua 1:5. In the verses in Deuteronomy Moses is giving all of Israel and Joshua the same promise and command that God will give again to Joshua.

In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul writes that they are persecuted, but not forsaken. In great length, Jesus in John 13–16 explained to the disciples what their life would be like. He told them about the persecution they would face, and He told them how He would help them. He did not leave them alone to face this world. After His Resurrection, just before He ascended to heaven, when He gave them what is known as the Great Commission, He again promised they would not alone: behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

I have been overwhelmed with the details of life the past few months. Our search for a place to live has been long, tiring, and very discouraging. I needed again to hear God’s promise to always be with me. I need to know, remember, and trust that He will not fail me; He will not forsake me. I’m very grateful to God for His Word, and how He uses it to comfort and encourage me. When we know who God is, our God who never fails or forsakes us, then we are able to strong and courageous.

What did you learn from Joshua 1–5 that can be a lamp to your feet and a light to the path you will walk today?


Silvesterzug Laterne: Bk muc. (CC BY-SA 4.0).
The Ark Passses Over the Jordan, James Tissot: Public Domain.
LSB: Legacy Standard Bible

Copyright ©2011–2023 Iwana Carpenter

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s