Day 1

Joshua Succeeds Moses

from the Joshua reading plan


Joshua 1:1-18, Deuteronomy 31:1-6, Psalm 1:1-3

BY Amanda Bible Williams

Text: Joshua 1:1-18, Deuteronomy 31:1-6, Psalm 1:1-3

Like any reasonable person, I put no stock in fortune cookies. Still, I usually crack one open once I’m overfull from a generous plate of sesame chicken and rice. Despite my satisfied appetite, I nibble on a bite of the sweet shell while reading the words printed on the tiny slip of paper inside.

I’m not sure why I have trouble resisting that treat at the bottom of my takeout bag. Maybe it’s my love of sugar, but I think it’s something more. In a world that seems to grow more uncertain by the day, we want a sure thing. We want to know what’s coming, what’s not, what’s next. We know a fortune cookie isn’t going to change our circumstances, but it’s fun to pretend, just for a moment, that it might.

When the book of Joshua opens, the Israelites have come to the end of one long, unpredictable journey. Unpredictable as far as the humans involved are concerned, that is. The Lord—God Almighty, the Holy One—has been with His people each step of the way. He has never left them, never forsaken them, never taken back His covenant even when they gave Him a million sinful reasons to do so. And here, as Israel stands on the edge of the last leg of their journey to the Promised Land, He promises that His faithfulness will continue.

Listen to these phrases of certainty offered by both God and His newly appointed servant, Joshua, over the span of just 18 verses (emphasis mine):

I am giving [this land to the Israelites]” (v. 2).
I have given you [every place your foot touches]” (v. 3).
“Your territory will be [where I’ve appointed it]” (v. 4).
I will be with you” (v. 5).
I will not leave you or forsake you” (v. 5).
You will distribute the land I swore to their fathers” (v. 6).
You will have success” [as you heed all of My instruction] (v. 7).
You will prosper and succeed” [when you observe My Word] (v. 8).
God is with you wherever you go” (v. 9).
You will be crossing the Jordan” (v. 11).
God is giving” [this land to you] (v. 11).
God will give you rest” (v. 13).
God will give you this land” (v. 13).

As profoundly complex as the situation seemed, it was also profoundly simple: God was keeping His promise, just like He always had and just like He always will.

Israel got the message, and they responded in kind:

Everything you have commanded us we will do, and everywhere you send us we will go. We will obey you, just as we obeyed Moses in everything” (v. 16-17, emphasis mine).

If you’ve read ahead, you know how this story ends. The God of Israel was completely faithful to His people. They did cross the Jordan, and they did take possession of the land He’d promised their ancestor Abraham 450 years earlier. You may also know that Israel did not hold to the “everything” and “everywhere” they’d promised. Yes, they followed Joshua. They heeded his instructions to prepare, to remember, to go (v. 11-13), but their faithfulness was only partial. Like a sieve, obedience slipped through the holes in their good intentions.

Their faith was not perfect, but God’s Word and faithfulness did not falter.

This Bible we open together today makes some bold promises. These are not fortune-cookie promises to be read one moment and tossed into the takeout bag the next. These are holy promises. These are true promises (Psalm 19:7).

When we believe on Jesus Christ, we will be saved (Romans 10:9).
Through the gift of His Holy Spirit, Christ will never leave us (Matthew 28:20).
By His death and resurrection, Jesus has taken on our sin and granted us His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).

When God says “I will” and “I have,” He will and He has.

Praise the Lord, His faithfulness fills in the cracks of our obedience! Praise the Lord, we can walk with courage and confidence into the certainty of a tomorrow where God will never leave us or forsake us. Praise the Lord that as co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17), every foot forward is another step on the journey of coming home to a place we’ve never been.

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Post Comments (158)

158 thoughts on "Joshua Succeeds Moses"

  1. Hannah Collier says:

    It’s interesting how many times in the passage the Israelites are told “be strong and courageous.” It gets you thinking, obviously this isn’t something that comes naturally. It’s a choice. They are reminded again and again, “you’re going to need to be strong, you’re going to need to be courageous.” Lord, may we listen to your guidance. When our natural inclination is to run and hide, give us the boldness to be strong and courageous.

  2. Gloria Cohen says:

    I love the vastness and promises of God to his people and his leaders. But I also see the vastness of his promises to me today and the certainty of success wherever I go as long as I trust in and hold onto His word.

  3. Meg says:

    This spoke to me in the times that I have been having lately. Under financial distress and nearing the 6 month mark of job hunting but I need to trust in God’s will and believe that he has a plan for me.

  4. Lindsey says:

    I have been having a very tough week. I applied to get into nursing school and met every requirement, but did not get in. I was waitlisted and it is still a possibility, but I am and have been struggling to find joy all week. My entire being and passion was/is to get started completely in the nursing field to do His work, and I was devastated to find out that I was being told to wait. Reading and being reminded of this today was so sweet and powerful to remember to have courage and be strong. I know God has plans for me and my future, but sometimes it doesn’t feel good to see it not going my own way. I love that God places these studies in my life at the right moment.

    1. Christine says:

      Continue to have faith in God, Lindsey. You will be rewarded! I can feel that He has a better plan than you ever hoped for.
      I also had a tough time towards the end of the year because I missed out on passing my registration as a pharmacist by pure bad luck while I saw all my friends, who had a different, much easier exam, easily get along with their lives. However, in hindsight, it was all worth it, as long as I followed and continue to walk the path that God has set forth for me.
      Tomorrow, with a really nervous heart, I start my first official day as a pharmacist, no longer a student or an intern. I’m actually scared and Joshua 1:9 has been something I’ve been holding onto these past months (thank you, staff of She Reads Truth! Such timeliness). And, I just wanted to say that I admire your passion for nursing and you will get there. Do not worry. God’s working on it.

    2. Rachel says:

      Thanks for sharing your struggles but wow really cool to see the sweetness of your faithfulness. You know God will hold his end and even though he is not giving you what you want he will continue to give you what you need. They were stuck in the desert for a while before they got there. I have been “stuck” before too but man is the end result rewarding! Just keep pushing for your dream and don’t give up!!

  5. Stacey says:

    Wow! This plan is just what I needed for today!!!

  6. Cat says:

    My darling & me are about to drive the width of Australia with our 8 children and a caravan to join a church community He has lead us to for a time of refreshing & training. What can I say but praise God & thank you sisters for this plan. Thank you, thank you. Love Catarina

  7. Chrystal says:

    Just started this study today. I decided on Joshua a few days ago and then saw SRT had one. This will be my first SRT study. Looking forward to it. I realize not many will be following along as this is an older study but I wanted to say hello :)

    1. Gwen Johnson says:

      I just started a study in Joshua and it’s wonderful to see the hand of God in the lives of the Israelites.

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