Joshua 1 In Light of Deuteronomy 31

The repetition of the phrase “be strong and courageous” that we see over and over again in Joshua, 1 (and throughout Joshua for that matter) really peaked my interest.

When I went to my concordance and looked for other instances of that phrase, the first place I found it was Deuteronomy 31.  Deuteronomy 31 is an interesting chapter.  We read the first 8 verses and we say “happy times – good Bible story”.  We see Moses encouraging Joshua in front of all of Israel and basically passing the torch.  We also see Moses tell Joshua to “be strong and courageous.”  Seeing that with respect to the end of Joshua 1 is cool because we see the Israelites repeating Moses’ command to Joshua.

Like I said, happy times.

But where it gets interesting is in Deuteronomy 31:14ff.  What we see there is God calling Moses and Joshua together (aside from all of Israel) in the Tent of Meeting.  God proceeds to tell them that once the Israelites have crossed over into the Promised Land (sans Moses, of course), he knows that Israel is going to screw up and he will hide his face from them.  He even says that they will be destroyed and that disasters and difficulties are going to come upon them.

Then he tells Joshua to purge ahead – “be strong and courageous.”

I wonder what Joshua is thinking and feeling at that moment……..




What is interesting here is that we really start to catch, I think, that this story is not just about Israel.  This story is about God.  He knows they’re going to screw up.  He knows we’re going to screw up.  He says “I know what they are disposed to do, even before I bring them into the land I promised.” 

And     he    still    does    it.


For the glory of His name. 

They don’t deserve it.  They’re not going to worship God all their days and give thanks for it.  They’re going to turn away and worship other gods (whore after other gods as the ESV so kindly phrases it).

So    why    do    this,    God?

Because God is sovereign and before the creation of the world, he planned for his son Jesus to come in and be the Savior.  We can’t do it on our own.  That’s the point.  Israel is jacked up and we’re jacked up.  Israel’s entire history shows that we are, in fact, sinners and that we screw it up.  The entire Old Testament points towards Jesus.  And we need Jesus because only through him are we made right with God. 

So when I step back and catch some of the broader glimpses of how the story of Israel fits together, I begin to see God’s overarching plan and it’s amazing.



~ by toddbumgarner on February 8, 2008 2:11 pm.

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