The first truth that stood out to me was when it says, "...the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister.." Moses' minister....He was Moses' right hand man, the man ministered to Moses. I was my husband's right hand helpmeet. I ministered to him in countless ways. Immediately I could identify with Joshua.
The next truth that stood out to me was God told Joshua in verse two "Moses my servant is dead.." Was Joshua (like many of us who grieve) in denial waiting for Moses to come back down off the mountain? Many times my mind had played similar tricks on me, and I have expected to see my husband when I know he won't come back to me, but I can go to him. God lovingly shakes Joshua with the blunt words "Moses is dead." Moses, his close friend, his leader, his mentor, was not coming back. Reality's cold wind on a mourner's face.
Another truth that grabbed my attention was the words following this reality check. "...now therefore arise, go....." Arise means he wasn't standing. Was he bowed down in heavy grief? Did he want to just sit and never get up again? I know I have felt that way numerous times. Arise and go. Go--time for action. God was telling him he had a mission, a purpose for him to fulfill. Go--life seems to end when tragedy strikes, but life is in constant motion. Go there is work to do!
The next verse that spoke to me was verse five. "..as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee." Wow! This reminded me that the same God that was with my husband to lead this family, is with me to lead this family. That is great comfort! God assured Joshua he will not leave him or let him down. He would be with him every step of the way. And so is God with me. What comfort!
Then we get into the more well known portions of scripture. "Be strong and of good courage." This was told to Joshua in verses six, seven, nine, and just in case he forgot verse eighteen. Now, I used to always think of Joshua as a great military man, fearless and strong. If he was so mighty, so confident, why would God have to tell him this four times? I think Joshua was like you and me. He had fears, he battled discouragement, and he felt overwhelmed. He had doubts.
Again God tells him, "...for the LORD thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest." Again he would be with him all the way.
God is so gracious and loving. He doesn't just say be strong and of good courage, He gave a road map to Joshua how to be prosperous. Joshua 1:7-8 "Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success."
So my road map is similar: Read and meditate on the Word of God morning and evening. Then do what I understood it to mean. Don't turn away from it! Speak God's Word! And do it! And I shall have good success.
Around the time I was studying this passage, Snapp's devotion book compared physical needs of the body with spiritual needs of the spirit. The body needs healthy food; the spirit needs fed from God's Word. The body needs exercise; the spirit needs to exercise doing what was read in God's Word. The body needs rest; the spirit needs times of rest whey you get alone and commune with God. So simple, but great food for thought:)
So be strong and of good courage, my friend. The God of Joshua is the same God of today.