Joshua takes his position as the leader of the people in today’s Bible reading*. In His first one-on-one encounter with Joshua, God tells him that he must be strong and courageous. But God doesn’t leave Joshua to his own devices to figure out what strength and courage will look like. And God tells Joshua how to be the successful leader He has called him to be.
First off, God’s call to be strong and courageous has nothing to do with physical strength. It has everything to do with obedience.
“Be strong and courageous, for you will distribute the land I swore to their ancestors to give them as an inheritance. Above all, be strong and very courageous to observe carefully the whole instruction my servant Moses commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right or the left, so that you will have success wherever you go. This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to meditate on it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do. Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:6-9 (CSB)
God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous, but especially to be strong and courageous in obeying all the instructions He gave Moses. Obedience will be hard. Obedience will require fighting, but it won’t be limited to military discipline and training.
The key to Joshua’s success as a leader would be how dedicated he would be to God’s revealed Word. In fact, God told him that his success would be directly depend on his obedience to all of God’s Word. He would have to speak and meditate on God’s Word all of the time.
I wondered how old Joshua was at this point. I imagined a young man taking the leadership reigns from his (very) old mentor. And then I looked into how old Joshua was at this point. Well, we know that Joshua was forty years older than when he scouted the land since the people wandered for forty years. And he had to be an adult when he scouted the land. One website suggested that Joshua would have been thirty to forty years old when he scouted out the land. Therefore, young Joshua wasn’t so young after all! He was somewhere around sixty-eight to seventy-eight when he began leading God’s people into the Promised Land. Joshua died when he was one hundred, ten years old. (Joshua 24:29) He accomplished a lot in thirty-two to forty-two years as a not-so-young man.
Moses began his calling when he was eighty and led for forty years. Joshua was about ten years younger when he began his calling.
You’re never too old to do what God has called you to do.
And it starts with studying, memorizing, speaking, and living God’s revealed Word.
* Chapters covered in today’s reading: