“Moses, the Lord’s servant, was dead. So the Lord spoke to Joshua son of Nun, who had been the assistant of Moses. The Lord said: ‘My servant Moses is dead. Now you must lead Israel across the Jordan River into the land I’m giving to all of you’” (Joshua 1:1, 2).
In Deuteronomy 34, we learn the details of Moses’ death. The people, were left without their leader on the verge of the most important and crucial decision they had ever made; taking the land that God had promised them so long ago. Can you imagine the shock, confusion, fear and grief everybody must have been feeling?
They mourned for a whole month! Moses had led the people through the desert for 40 years! There had never been anyone as Godly, powerful, fatherly or influential as Moses—and now he was gone.
So there they were—on the edge of the border of the “Promised Land” (a place they had been to before but had failed to enter) trying to figure out how they would muster the strength and courage to make God’s promises come true—cue God’s ever-so-sensitive comment to Joshua. WOW! Talk about a downer right? Nothing like making the obvious, well, obvious.
Or was it really that obvious? Joshua, like the rest of the people, was in deep shock and grief. This must have shaken him to his very core. He must have been super unsure of himself and his talents. Have you been there?—turned totally inside-out after some sort of crisis? I have. Maybe you’re there right now. God’s painful words must have been reverberating in his head as Joshua thought about the good ol’ days when he had Moses’ sure and confident leadership to lean on when times were tough—but no more. “Joshua, Moses is dead!”
It was God’s way of basically saying “Yo Josh! Wake up! I’m still here! I believe in you—and more importantly, you can believe in ME!” In verse five of that same chapter God reminds him who was really in charge the entire time. “Joshua, I will always be with you and help you as I helped Moses, and no one will ever be able to defeat you.” Then God tells Joshua—not once, but twice—to be strong and brave; brave not because of who Joshua is, but because of who God is.
How does the story end?—in the Promised Land! The same way yours will, if you trust God. Never forget that when you doubt yourself; when you feel totally inadequate about your gifts and abilities—God’s got your back. Here’s an equation to never forget: You + God = Success!
So be brave, strong and courageous and know that if God is for you, no one can be against you, (Romans 8:31).