1. As you think back over the history of the United States, which of our past Presidents would be considered as great presidents? (George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and perhaps Ronald Reagan.)
2. What do most of these presidents have in common? (They led our nation during a time of great conflict.)
President Roosevelt was elected to four terms as president. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage only three months after his fourth inauguration.
3. What fears gripped the heart of the American people when he died? (How would President Truman lead our nation?)
The nation of Israel had known only one leader, Moses! God had led them out of Egypt and formed them into a nation during the 40 years they were in the wilderness. Now Moses was dead and a new leader had been appointed by God. Moses told the people who would be their next leader in Deuteronomy 31:3.
4. What fears might the Israelites have concerning a new leader?
5. What might have been going through Joshua’s mind as he began to realize he would be the next leader of his people?
Numerous times in the closing chapters of Deuteronomy God directed Moses to give Joshua the charge to “be strong and courageous”. God had prepared Joshua for the job.
6. When have you been charged to take on a task or responsibility that you felt inadequate to assume?
Today’s study will focus on Joshua. Moses had served God and Israel well, but now he was gone and Joshua had assumed leadership. The passage describes how God commissioned His new leader for a new task. God promised to be with Joshua, but He also expected Joshua’s complete obedience. The same principle applies to us. Our success at fulfilling the task God has given us depends on our obedience.
A New Leader! Read Joshua 1:1-5
1. Why couldn’t Moses lead the Israelites into the Promised Land? (Numbers 20:12 gives us the answer—because of Moses’ disobedience. Disobedience to God’s commands is costly!)
Moses death opened the door for a new chapter for Israel. With the announcement of Moses’ death God summoned His children to divert their attention away from the past. He alerted them to the present and pointed them to the future.
2. What assurance do we find in these verses about their future? (God spoke to Joshua, just as He had to Moses.)
3. What promises do we find in these five verses that would be extended to the people based on Joshua’s leadership? (1-He would give them every place they walked; 2-No one would be able to stand before them; 3-God would be with Joshua like He was with Moses; 4-God would never leave or forsake them.)
The commissioning of Joshua as Israel’s new leader provided assurance of God’s continuing presence. God’s presence promised the Israelites complete victory over their enemies in possession of the Promised Land. As the Lord had been with Moses, He would be with Joshua.
4. What made God’s instruction to Joshua regarding the Jordan River so essential? (Since it was God who directly commissioned Joshua, he could have confidence in his calling to lead God’s people. After the 10 plagues on Egypt the next major miracle God performed through Moses was crossing the parted Red Sea. The first major miracle God would perform through Joshua was crossing the parted Jordan River at flood stage! Does God know what He’s doing!!)
5. How are God’s presence and His promises connected?
6. Can you have His promises without His presence?
7. How can godly leaders be reminders of God’s presence?
8. How does a godly leader have influence beyond his or her immediate relationships?
After God made these promises to Joshua and the children of Israel, He began to encourage and call Joshua to be bold in his leadership.
A New Task! Read Joshua 1:6
1. What is the promise God gave Joshua in this verse?
Being “strong and courageous” wasn’t about Joshua building self-confidence. Rather, it was about staying focused on the Sovereign Lord. It was about keeping on believing wholeheartedly. To use Moses’ words: “The Lord is the One who will go before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you” Deut. 31:8.
2. How do the terms “strong” and “courageous” reflect both the power of God and the call to leadership that was given to Joshua?
Both of these verbs, “be strong and courageous,” are commands in the original Hebrew. The Lord did not merely ask Joshua to be strong and courageous; the Lord commanded Joshua to be strong and courageous, not once but several times here and in Deuteronomy.
3. How is this verse an encouragement to Joshua?
4. Why should we be strong and courageous as we pursue God’s calling on our lives?
5. What if God calls you to a task bigger than you could ever imagine?
6. What can we learn from this verse that we can apply to our own monumental tasks that we face? (God is unchanging! He promised to be with Jacob, Moses, Gideon, Israel as a nation, His disciples, Paul and us in Rev. 21:3-4.)
God doesn’t have any age requirements! Moses served God right up to his death at 120. Joshua served God in his most meaningful role the last 26 years of his life. We are never allowed to quit serving God! Our roles may change but we are always called to be His servants and to be obedient.
The Lord had given the qualifications that it would take to be the leader of the children of Israel. Now it was time for Joshua to learn how he would accomplish and meet these expectations.
A New Trust! Read Joshua 1:7-9
1. Joshua is commanded to be strong and courageous again in these verses. What is he to be strong and courageous in doing?
2. How did Joshua’s spiritual faithfulness impact his role as a leader of Israel? (Success could come only through obedience.)
3. How can we translate what Joshua was commanded to do to our own lives?
Joshua was told to meditate on the commands of God day and night. That is our lifeline to success in our lives as well!
4. How does the gospel’s affirmation of Jesus’ being the Word in flesh (John 1:14) deepen our understanding of how following Jesus is our standard for daily living?
5. What is the danger of obeying only a portion of God’s Word? (Failure! We don’t get to pick and choose which part of God’s Word we will obey. If we fail in one part, we have failed in all.)
Even though God ordered Joshua to be strong and courageous, Joshua’s success would be based upon his obedience to God’s law. God was sovereignly working to bring the people to this place of entering the Promised Land, and yet He was allowing them to choose whether or not to obey Him. Joshua’s obedience would be an example to his followers to trust in God and all His promises.
6. Why is it necessary for a leader to constantly be reminded of the truths found in God’s Word?
7. Should constantly being reminded of God’s truths be any less important for those who are not the leaders?
Summarize and Challenge!
All people face challenges, whether or not they are in leadership positions. Just as Joshua was called to be an example of strength and boldness for the children of Israel, so also are leaders in the body of Christ called to be that example. Believers should follow Joshua and other leaders’ examples to meet daily challenges with boldness, strength, and reliance upon God’s Word that is filled with His promises.
1. What distractions do you need to eliminate so you live more intentionally in the awareness of His presence?
2. How do we know Joshua remained “strong and courageous”? (See Joshua 24:14-15!)
Close with prayer that we will remain “strong and courageous!”