The Eastern Tribes
10Joshua ordered the tribal leaders 11to go through the camp and tell everyone:
In a few days we will cross the Jordan River to take the land that the Lord our God is giving us. So prepare as much food as you'll need for the march into the land.
12 Joshua told the men of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh:
13-14The Lord's servant Moses said that the Lord our God has given you land here on the east side of the Jordan River, where you could live in peace. Your wives and children and your animals can stay here in the land Moses gave you. But all of you that can serve in our army must pick up your weapons and lead the men of the other tribes across the Jordan River. They are your relatives, so you must help them 15conquer the land that the Lord is giving them. The Lord will give peace to them as he has given peace to you, and then you can come back and settle here in the land that Moses promised you.
16The men answered:
We'll cross the Jordan River and help our relatives. We'll fight anywhere you send us. 17-18If the Lord our God will help you as he helped Moses, and if you are strong and brave, we will obey you as we obeyed Moses. We'll even put to death anyone who rebels against you or refuses to obey you.
Fear and trepidation walk closely behind every person called to a new work for God, much of it due to a concern about how what we hope to give to God will be received, and perceived, by others. The people of Israel were poor followers, so much so that they pushed their former leader Moses to the edge of despair. Yet, God had chosen them and promised them a land where they would prosper and where eventually they would bring forth the promised Saviour; and God would deliver on this promise.
Now here is the new leader, mentored by Moses himself, a leader of substance and faith, Joshua. But how could Joshua shake off the debilitating forty years in the wilderness, the tepid faith, the uncertain obedience of the people? How could he shake off what might have been at least some inner doubt and accomplish God’s purpose?
God spoke to Joshua as he speaks to us. Joshua: “remember” (1:13), for this is a story, a story that began before your time, a story of promises made and kept, of mighty actions displayed, of warnings, judgments and forgiveness, a story that you are part of right now, and which will continue on into the future in ways that you cannot even imagine, for it is the story of a future Joshua, the story of redemption. But how it will continue depends to an extent on how you, Joshua, act out your part right now, so act well, act in continuity with the story, act in obedience and faith: “be strong and courageous.”
Right now each of us has a part in this on-going story, played out in our family, community, career. Every single thing we do affects the story. Reject fear, move forward, work the work of Christ with Christ’s strength and draw courage from what Christ has done, for he will continue to perform his mighty acts in us and for us.
Father in heaven; allow me to remember Christ, his suffering for me and his resurrection which delivered me from all my bondage and sorrow and gives me hope for each day. As I remember allow me to have the courage to act like Christ today, to bring Christ to every situation, to be strong in faith. Amen