No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. —Joshua 1:5–6 (ESV)
The first chapter of Joshua is the account of the passing of the torch from Moses, Israel’s long-time leader, to Joshua, Moses’ long-time right-hand man. But it is not Moses but God who passes the torch to Joshua, reminding him three times to ‘be strong and courageous’ as he prepares to lead God’s people into the Promised Land.
In today’s text, God reassures Joshua that just as He was with Moses, ‘So I will be with you’. Imagine the impact of these words! Joshua had stood halfway up Mount Sinai as Moses was enveloped by the presence of the Lord. He saw firsthand the miracles of God from the exodus into and through 40 years of wilderness wandering. And now God declares that the same presence will be with him! ‘I will not leave you or forsake you’, God adds. And it is in that context God issues the command: “for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them.”
God’s promise not to leave or forsake Joshua is a promise He also makes to you. After His resurrection, the Lord Jesus declared, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Not unlike this passage in Joshua, Jesus was commissioning the disciples to advance His kingdom—a task we all, as Christians, continue today. The Lord of the Universe is with you. He will not leave or forsake you. For what task do you need strength and courage? Who of your children or students need to hear this message? Be strong and courageous. He is with you!