I am feeling a lot of different things and I’m not sure I can put any of them into words. Things seem to be changing so much. But let’s turn to the first chapter of Joshua.
Joshua 1:1 Now after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord it came to pass…
That’s interesting. Sometimes there has to be a death in order for things to come to pass.
Joshua 1:1-2 …that the Lord spoke unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister,
2 Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.
Moses had led the children of Israel out of Egypt and through the wilderness for forty years. Now the only thing separating them from the land of Canaan was the Jordan River. Moses had died and now Joshua was to lead them into the land of Canaan. Joshua had been a servant to Moses. It is said that when Moses would go into the Tabernacle to wait before the Lord that Joshua would go in also. Joshua seemed to follow everything Moses did. But now things are different. Moses led them out of Egypt, through the wilderness of testing and trials, but Joshua was going to lead them into the land of Canaan where they would war against the Canaanite nations.
We have to remember that when Israel came out of Egypt they were slaves. During the forty years in the wilderness their main problem was the fact that Egypt wasn’t out of them. They thought like slaves. It takes a long time for the Lord to work on His people to get them thinking differently. The thinker is always the big problem.
Joshua had come out of Egypt with Moses, but now his role was completely different. Moses had led the Israelites out of Egypt, but Joshua would lead them into the land of Canaan. It is interesting that Joshua’s name in the Greek is the same name as Jesus. In that sense, we understand that Jesus is going to lead us into the promises of God just as Joshua was leading the children of Israel into their promise land.
Joshua 1:3 Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.
God said, “I’ve already given it to you. Every place where your foot treads, I have given to you. It’s yours.” But when Joshua gets there he has one nation after another saying, “Oh no, it’s mine. You’re not taking my land!” The Israelites had to fight for the very thing that God had given them. It is the same thing with us. God makes us a promise and then you will have to fight to get it. You have to struggle, and what do you struggle with and what are you going to fight? Self, because self is the greatest enemy we have. The way we think, the way we feel, the way we act is self. “But God said it, and it is mine.” Yes, and you will have to fight for it. Fear not, little flock, it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom (Luke 12:32). So you try to get in but everything opposes you. Here is one thing you can depend on – if it’s the will of God for you, there is going to be opposition.
Joshua 1:4-5 From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the
river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the
going down of the sun, shall be your coast.
5 There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail you, nor forsake thee.
That is one thing you can depend on. It doesn’t mean that you won’t have trials or battles, but God never fails. He never forsakes.
Joshua 1:6-9 Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou
divide for an inheritance the land, which I swore unto their fathers to give
7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that you may 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 you may prosper whithersoever you go.
8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that you may 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.
9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever you go.
Several times he said, “Be strong and of good courage.” Then he said, “This book of the law, this Word is not to depart from your mouth; speak it and live it!”
Joshua, as I said, was one of the slaves that came out of Egypt, but now he is going to be a warrior, a general so to speak. He is going in to conquer all the nations in the land of Canaan. What makes a good general? They didn’t have a West Point for Joshua to attend. The Word would make him successful. If you need to be a good general, give yourself to the Word. Regardless of your goal in life, the Word will make you successful. Now look what God says to Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 1:1-5 The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests that
were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin:
2 To whom the Word of the Lord came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign.
3 It came also in the days of Jehoiakim ….
4 Then the Word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before you came forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
Isn’t that something? Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before you came forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Here we find Jeremiah receiving a word from God before he is even born. What do you think this means? Did God know Jeremiah before he was ever born? Did Jeremiah have a life before he was born? Or did God just know that one day Jeremiah would be born so He spoke this?” There are many births, many experiences of being born.
I’ve had a similar feeling lately with my two oldest sons moving closer to me after many years. It brought back memories of when they were kids. I think back to that time, but it’s a weird feeling because I can’t remember everything. It is almost like I am thinking back to someone who isn’t me. The oldest has had many new beginnings as he’s moved to different places. I can relate to that because I’m totally different from what I was as a young person. It’s like a new birth has taken place.
I can think back to certain times in my life where there were such changes that I became a new person – one Henry died and another Henry was born. Then some time passes and that Henry dies and another Henry is born. Can any of you relate to what I am talking about? We find that with Moses becoming a Joshua and Jeremiah having a life before he was born – there are many births.
You may know someone, then not see them for a period of time. When you see that person again you usually tend to think of them as they were before, but they are not the same. We have to be able to see a person in his new state, what he has become. As we are changing we have to learn how to relate to one another in a new way.
In a sense, there are many births. You die as a Moses and you come forth as a Joshua. God speaks to Jeremiah even before he is born; God ministered to him. Can God minister to you before you are even born? If you are walking with God, you are on a journey out of this world, coming into the world of God. There is nothing similar to the world of man and the world God. The world of man is like the sea with waves of turmoil, hurricanes, cyclones, constant changing. That is the world of man and that is what Revelation is talking about when it says, “There shall be no more sea” (Revelation 21:1). The life of man is very, very difficult. Get a hold of the word God gave Joshua, be strong and of good courage and meditate on it day and night. Don’t let it depart from your mouth. Speak of it. God told the Israelites, These words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart; and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down and rise up (Deuteronomy 6:6-7). In other words, whatever your life is involved in, have that Word with you because the Word is the Lord.
New relationships; one birth after another. Change after change after change is taking place. I encourage your hearts – take life by the horns and ride it through. Be strong and of good courage. You are not yet what you are going to be, but you are becoming it birth by birth according to God’s will.
Copyright © 2007 by Henry DuBose