Joshua 1: Preparation

Before the Israelites cross the Jordan, they have to prepare. Joshua 1 discusses the transition from Moses' leadership to Joshua's and the preparations the Israelites take as they get ready to enter the Promised Land.


Before Israel could enter the Promised Land they had to have a game plan. No one in their right mind would rush into a battle (or series of battles) without planning. God instructs Joshua on how to proceed to ensure the Israelites a success.

Meeting Joshua

Joshua 1:1 introduces Joshua as a minister to Moses. Despite our modern usage of the word to identify the leader of a church, the original meaning of the word was synonymous with servant.[1] Prior to leading the Israelites, Joshua proved he was a worthy servant of God by serving Moses. During his tenure as Moses' servant, Joshua accompanied him to Mount Sinai, however, the first few verses of Joshua 1 tell us of Joshua's first conversation with God.

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Joshua's conversation with God is very similar to the conversation he and Moses have at the end of Deuteronomy. In this conversation, God promises to stand with Joshua through everything he must endure. If we put ourselves in Joshua's shoes, this was probably a time filled with a lot of doubt and grief for Joshua. Moses had been the leader since these people could remember, and Joshua had been his servant. Joshua had some mighty shoes to fill! It is obvious why Joshua would be nervous. Both God and Moses reassure Joshua with a pep talk focusing on courage and strength.

God's Instructions to Joshua

God grants the Israelites all the land within the boundaries He has set. Some of the landmarks for these boundaries include the Euphrates, Lebanon, and the land of the Hittites. None of the people in the land would be able to stand against Joshua because God would be standing for Joshua. If that's not motivation to tackle what's in front of you, I don't know what is!

Of course, continued fulfillment of these promised required Israel to keep the law. Joshua was to meditate on the book of law day and night. He couldn't lead God's people without being well versed in the law. By observing the law, he would make himself prosperous, but if he shunned the law he would fail.

Crossing the Jordan

Unlike their hasty exit from Egypt, the Israelites had 3 days to prepare for the first step in this conquest. They are told to prepare "victuals" in anticipation of crossing the Jordan. Victuals are food supplies.[2] The reason God gives them time to prepare food supplies is because once they cross the Jordan, the manna that they had been receiving stops and they are expected to live off the land (see Joshua 5:12); also, they were approaching the time of the Passover and would need the necessary provisions to carry out the feast and subsequent days of unleavened bread.

Before leaving for battle Joshua confronts the tribes that inherited land West of the Jordan. He reminds them of the promise they made to fight until their brothers had received their inheritances too. It is important to be certain of their loyalty (or disloyalty) before crossing into the Promised Land. In response, the tribes commit to their word, assuring Joshua they will follow his command. In this reassurance of their vow, they are very clear that they trust God has appointed Joshua leader and affirm their commitment to God. These tribes conclude that anyone who breaks this oath will be put to death. That's definitely an incentive to fight! The fear of battle is death, but it isn't certain you will die and with God leading them in battle the odds were in their favor that they would live. However, if they fled the battle, they would definitely be killed.

We have the same choice today concerning God. We can follow His word and example, which may be difficult. We may be persecuted or killed for following His commands (all of the disciples were eventually martyred). However, if we follow Him, we will be reward with eternal life on Judgement Day, whereas if we don't, no matter how much fun we have or how long we live in this life, we will surely die and that death will be forever.


  1. "Minister". Bible Study Tools. 2016
  2. "Victual". Merriam-Webster. 2016


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