Joshua 3:5-7 (NIVUK)
5 Joshua told the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.’ 6 Joshua said to the priests, ‘Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on ahead of the people.’ So they took it up and went ahead of them. 7 And the Lord said to Joshua, ‘Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so that they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. “
When Joshua succeeded Moses as leader in Israel, God promised to be with him, as he had been with Moses. The charge that followed was for Joshua to be strong and courageous, to summon up courage in effect, but not in himself or his natural resources but given the promise, he was to be strong in the Lord. As in fact Paul had encouraged the believers in Ephesus to be strong in the Lord.
Spies had been sent into Jericho and returned with encouraging news. Now came the first test and as Joshua prepared the people to cross the Jordan to claim the land promised to Abraham and his ancestors, the Lord spoke to him again. This time however, God gave an assurance that he would not live in the shadow of Moses but be exalted in the eyes of the people as God showed himself to be with Joshua.
It isn’t clearly stated here so we can’t say definitively but perhaps God was aware of two things, Joshua’s inner concerns that the people may not have confidence in him as they did in Moses, and perhaps a fear among the people that on the eve of possessing the land and perhaps facing their greatest challenges for a generation they had lost their trusted leader. So, in one go God addresses both concerns by showing that He is the power behind the man, that the leader, any leader, is nothing without God.
When we stand on the verge of a new beginning or a fresh challenge, a new calling or maybe a new job or school, for those who trust in Jesus it is important for us to remember that our strength and encouragement in is him. If we are walking in his will and continue to look to him he will equip us for every challenge.
The writer of Proverbs has this advice in ch.3:5-6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
In terms of how we live day by day the first 10 or 12 verses in Proverbs 3 is well worth reading. Today submit your way, your concerns and fears to the Lord and trust him.