Joshua 1 - Conquest

After wandering for 40 years in the wilderness, a new generation is ready to enter Canaan. But first God prepares both Joshua and the nation so that they could begin the long-awaited conquest of the Promised Land.

The lessons that Joshua and the Israelites learned about conquest of the Promised Land can be applied to us in the conquest of "lands" for Christ. I am referring to Christians invading Satan's territory and conquering them, freeing unsaved people from Satan's captivity. There are many territories in the world that are still not reached or not well reached by the gospel. Jesus promised that before He returns again, all the world will be reached with the good news. Therefore these unreached lands are our Promised Land. They have been promised to Christians but we have not got hold of them yet.

On a smaller scale we can think of the Promised Land as our own neighborhood or family. Through our prayers for their salvation, God has promised to give us that land - our Promised Land. But it does not come to us automatically. The Israelites were promised that land but it took effort and time to get it. What can we learn from them?

 

Our commission

Joshua 1  After the death of Moses the Lord’s servant, the Lord spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant. He said, 2  "Now that my servant Moses is dead, you must lead my people across the Jordan River into the land I am giving them.

The same way Joshua was asked by God to take the land, we too have been asked by Jesus, in the great commission, to take the world for Him.

Matt 28:18  Jesus came and told his disciples, "I have been given complete authority in heaven and on earth. 19  Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20  Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

 

Conquer with confidence

Joshua 1:3I promise you what I promised Moses: ‘Everywhere you go, you will be on land I have given you—4from the Negev Desert in the south to the Lebanon mountains in the north, from the Euphrates River on the east to the Mediterranean Sea on the west, and all the land of the Hittites.’ 5  No one will be able to stand their ground against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you.

God had already promised them victory so there is no reason for them to doubt.

Jesus also promised us the same. He has been given complete authority on heaven and on earth. Satan will not be able to oppose us. We need to go out in Jesus' name.

When the Church prays, God may also speak through the ministry of prophets or visions of what He has promised us. We need to use God's promises as a basis to conquer with confidence.

 

Be ambitious in our conquest

3I promise you what I promised Moses: ‘Everywhere you go, you will be on land I have given you—4from the Negev Desert in the south to the Lebanon mountains in the north, from the Euphrates River on the east to the Mediterranean Sea on the west, and all the land of the Hittites.’

God did not promise the Israelites something small; He promised them a huge land. Christians should have big ambitions for God. We should not restrict what God can do. That is not to say that we should start our evangelistic effort by trying to reach the whole world. It means that if God calls us to a difficult or challenging task, we must not try to restrict God or our ambitions for Him.

 

No one can oppose God

Joshua 1:5  No one will be able to stand their ground against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you.

When Christians go out to reach the community for Christ, we are often afraid that we will encounter opposition from the devil to such extent that we cannot handle it. But God has promised that nothing can oppose Him. We should claim this promise and act with confidence. We should tear down spiritual strongholds in Jesus' name because Jesus has said that He has all authority.

Matt 16:18  Now I say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.

 

Ask God's presence to be with us

Joshua 1:5  No one will be able to stand their ground against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you.

We need to ask God's presence to be with us. When we have God's presence, we have power and Satan will not be able to oppose. Before we move out to do community evangelism, always ask for God's presence to be with us so that He will help us to remove opposition and hostility.

Matt 28:18  Jesus came and told his disciples, "I have been given complete authority in heaven and on earth. 19  Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20  Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

 

We need to be strong and courageous

Joshua 1:6  "Be strong and courageous, for you will lead my people to possess all the land I swore to give their ancestors.

Conquering lands for God is not going to happen overnight. It sometimes require persistent effort and prayer. Many people grow weary and give up before they see results. We need to ask for God's strength in accordance with His promise.

Isaiah 40:29  He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; he offers strength to the weak. 30Even youths will become exhausted, and young men will give up. 31  But those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

We also need to have boldness in order to succeed. The devil will intimidate us with difficulties and hostilities. Ask God who is able to give His people the courage they need.

Acts 4:29  And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give your servants great boldness in their preaching.

 

We need to live holy lives

Joshua 1:6  "Be strong and courageous, for you will lead my people to possess all the land I swore to give their ancestors. 7Be strong and very courageous. Obey all the laws Moses gave you. Do not turn away from them, and you will be successful in everything you do. 8Study this Book of the Law continually. Meditate on it day and night so you may be sure to obey all that is written in it. Only then will you succeed.

It is true that if we observe God's laws, we will have success in life. However the context of this verse refers also to success in conquest. After promising that God will give the land, Joshua cautions the people that they must observe God's laws in order to have success.

While evangelism is important, it must not be taking up 100% attention in a Christian's life. Enough attention has to be given to growing spiritually in observance of God's holy standards. Only then can Christians be a mighty force that can conquer lands for God. The devil is not intimidated by Christians who do not live their lives right and have no access to God through prayer.

 

We need to ask God to give us strategies

Joshua 1:10  Joshua then commanded the leaders of Israel, 11"Go through the camp and tell the people to get their provisions ready. In three days you will cross the Jordan River and take possession of the land the Lord your God has given you." 12  Then Joshua called together the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. He told them, 13  "Remember what Moses, the servant of the Lord, commanded you: ‘the Lord your God is giving you rest and has given you this land.’ 14Your wives, children, and cattle may remain here on the east side of the Jordan River, but your warriors, fully armed, must lead the other tribes across the Jordan to help them conquer their territory. Stay with them 15until the Lord gives rest to them as he has given rest to you, and until they, too, possess the land the Lord your God is giving them. Only then may you settle here on the east side of the Jordan River in the land that Moses, the servant of the Lord, gave you."

God gave Joshua detailed instructions on how to do it. When God calls us to a task, He does not leave us in the dark as to what to do. Ask God for His wisdom and strategies. There may be a particularly effective way to reach a community or person for Christ.

 

We need to submit to leadership

Joshua 1:16  They answered Joshua, "We will do whatever you command us, and we will go wherever you send us. 17  We will obey you just as we obeyed Moses. And may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses. 18  Anyone who rebels against your word and does not obey your every command will be put to death. So be strong and courageous!"

No army can function if they do not work in a coordinated effort under a leader. The army of God is no different. Christians are much more a potent force if they can come together and work as a team. That is why it is so important for leaders to ask God for strategies and members to obey leaders in the direction God has provided.

 

We need to pray for our leaders

Joshua 1:17  We will obey you just as we obeyed Moses. And may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses. 18  Anyone who rebels against your word and does not obey your every command will be put to death. So be strong and courageous!"

The people blessed Joshua and pray that God's presence will be with him. They also encouraged him to be strong and courageous. We need to pray for our leaders as well. They will be most vulnerable to Satan's attacks. Their instructions will have the most impact on the effectiveness of the group. We also need to encourage them. Leaders are also human and susceptible to discouragement and fear.