Theme: God’s Objective Revelation
This week’s lessons describe how Joshua got to be the faithful and courageous leader for God that he was.
And Joshua commanded the officers of the people, “Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, ‘Prepare your provisions, for within three days you are to pass over this Jordan to go in to take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.’”
And to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh Joshua said, “Remember the word that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying, ‘The Lord your God is providing you a place of rest and will give you this land.’ Your wives, your little ones, and your livestock shall remain in the land that Moses gave you beyond the Jordan, but all the men of valor among you shall pass over armed before your brothers and shall help them, until the Lord gives rest to your brothers as he has to you, and they also take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving them. Then you shall return to the land of your possession and shall possess it, the land that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise.”
And they answered Joshua, “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 we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you, as he was with Moses! Whoever rebels against your commandment and disobeys your words, whatever you command him, shall be put to death. Only be strong and courageous.”
There’s a third thing I want to mention, and that is that a person who would be a leader must know, and have, and study, and meditate upon God’s objective revelation. It’s important to say that because that subjective and specific call must always be evaluated by, and at times, corrected by, the objective Word of God. This is very important because if you say to yourself, “Well, I think God wants me to do this,” when, in fact, what you think God wants you to do isn’t at all in conformity with the principles of Scripture, you’re simply wrong. God isn’t leading you to do that at all. What God leads you to do subjectively must always be in terms of Scripture’s objective commands. And the only way you’re ever going to be able to evaluate God’s call properly is by knowing the Word of God thoroughly.
There’s a great example of this here in this first chapter. Joshua had just been told that he was to be the commander of the people, and he was to lead them into the Promised Land. And he did. He took over. He said, “Go through the camp and tell the people, ‘Get your supplies ready. Three days from now, you’ll cross the Jordan and go in, and take possession of the land.’” He did all of that. And the next thing that follows is a reference to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh concerning their land and the fact that although they were to be given land on the east side of the Jordan, they were, nevertheless, to go with the people to conquer Palestine.
Why is that so important? It is important because those commands were given by Moses and recorded in the books of the Old Testament, which at that point Joshua already had and had already undoubtedly made it his business to study and obey. You see, once in the book of Numbers and a second time in the book of Deuteronomy, Moses, the commander at that time, had stipulated precisely what Joshua refers to here. But the point I’m making is that although he had received this personal call to be the commander of the people, Joshua began to exercise his obedience in that call by searching out the Word and reinforcing what God had already said. You and I must do that. There is nothing so important for a Christian leader than to know the Word of God, and to search it out, and to study it, and to meditate upon it, and to obey it, and then to communicate it to the people for whom you are given special responsibility.
Why is it important to measure our subjective and specific call against God’s objective revelation?
Without God’s objective revelation, what might Joshua have been tempted to rely upon to lead Israel into the Promised Land?
What steps can you take to deepen your knowledge of the Word of God so that you will be able to more effectively be the Christian witness he wants you to be?