Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
Joshua 1:16-18 (NIV)
Then they answered Joshua, “Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses. Whoever rebels against your word and does not obey it, whatever you may command them, will be put to death. Only be strong and courageous!”
Joshua 1:16-18 (MSG)
They answered Joshua: “Everything you commanded us, we’ll do. Wherever you send us, we’ll go. We obeyed Moses to the letter; we’ll also obey you—we just pray that God, your God, will be with you as he was with Moses. Anyone who questions what you say and refuses to obey whatever you command him will be put to death. Strength! Courage!”
“They answered Joshua, saying, “All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so will we obey you; only may the Lord your God be with you as He was with Moses. Any man who rebels against your command and does not obey everything that you command him, shall be put to death; only be strong and courageous.” -AMPLIFIED
Immediately preceding today’s text we find Joshua addressing the people of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. Joshua says, ““Remember what Moses the servant of God commanded you: God, your God, gives you rest and he gives you this land. Your wives, your children, and your livestock can stay here east of the Jordan, the country Moses gave you; but you, tough soldiers all, must cross the River in battle formation, leading your brothers, helping them until God, your God, gives your brothers a place of rest just as he has done for you. They also will take possession of the land that God, your God, is giving them. Then you will be free to return to your possession, given to you by Moses the servant of God, across the Jordan to the east.” -Joshua 1:12-15 (MSG)
We find in our text the people agreeing with Joshua and acknowledging him as the leader assigned to them by God. For any enterprise or operation to succeed it is of the utmost importance that the leader has the support of the people. If he or she does not have that support whatever the campaign is it will be doomed to failure even before it is started.
We find the people were having a bit of short term memory loss when they said to Joshua, “We obeyed Moses to the letter; we’ll also obey you…” We must assume that their intentions were true because they go on to say, “We just pray that God, your God, will be with you as he was with Moses.”
We can see how committed the people were to their promise of obedience to Joshua by the words that they spoke next, “Anybody who rebels against or disobeys your words—all you command—will be put to death.” -(VOICE)
“The people were not only willing to obey, but they were willing to deal with any disobedience in their midst because of the demoralizing effect on others and the dishonor it brings to the Lord. This is always crucial for any people of God.” -J. Hampton Keathley, III (The Commissioning of Joshua)
Discipline within the ranks, even within the church, is of utmost importance. Without discipline we end up with chaos, confusion and disorder. Thankfully, the Israelites had learned a few meaningful, significant lessons during their forty years on the back-side of the desert.
The people have given an oath to Joshua, a pledge of allegiance, if you will. They pledge their obedience to him, to obey his every command and go wherever he sends them. They were not pushed to make this vow; they chose to do so according to their own free will and conscience.
Good leaders are invaluable. The writer of Hebrews shares these thoughts on leaders, “Appreciate your pastoral leaders who gave you the Word of God. Take a good look at the way they live, and let their faithfulness instruct you, as well as their truthfulness. There should be a consistency that runs through us all. For Jesus doesn’t change—yesterday, today, tomorrow, he’s always totally himself.” -Hebrews 13:7-8 (MSG)
With the closing words of Joshua 1 we find the people themselves echoing God’s words of encouragement with their own, “Only be strong and courageous!” They have agreed to a standard of obedience. They have accepted Joshua as God’s choice to lead them. Now they encourage him to be “strong and courageous”. “We acknowledge you as our leader. We support everything that you will lead us to do. Now step out there and make us proud. Don’t be afraid of being firm and forceful. Let God help you be a bold, tenacious, and valiant leader.” – Tonia’s Translation
Oh, if the church would stand behind their leaders in such a way we could change the World!
Lord, you have placed leaders in authority over me; they have been placed there by you. Remind me always that to obey them is obeying you; for you have put them in authority over me. Help me to obediently follow their commands and let me be an encouragement to them. Being a good godly leader holds so much responsibility. Lord, remind me to faithfully pray for those leaders and may I humbly step up and help in every way that I can.