Now Therefore Arise!

Now Therefore Arise!

Pastor Don Carpenter

2021 Bible Reading Challenge / Joshua 1:1–5

Years ago a certain Englishman moved to the United States. Soon after he arrived he dropped out of sight. One day his uncle in England died and left him about a five–million dollar estate. Scotland Yard went about trying to locate the man whose last address had been in Chicago. They searched for him but never found him. Later I heard that he was found one morning frozen to death in an entryway of a cheap hotel. He could not afford twenty–five cents for a room although he was heir to five million dollars! He did not claim what was his. He did not lay hold of what belonged to him.

Although God gave Israel the Promised Land, they never possessed all of it. As a matter of fact, Israel got very little of the land. Many Christians today are like Israel in that they are blessed with all spiritual blessings and yet they die like bums in a doorway without claiming those blessings as their own.

 J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary: History of Israel (Joshua/Judges), electronic ed., vol. 10 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1991), 14.

This must have been a terrifying time for Joshua. The leader who introduced God to him, who taught him the law, who he followed loyally for 40 years was dead. It was now up to Joshua to take this often rebellious and idolatrous crew into the promised land. He had to face giants and incredible odds without the leader he knew and loved. He had to do it as an older person. Surely there was a high level of anxiety and self doubt. On top of all that Joshua was probably grieving heavily, and you don’t feel like getting out of bed much less going to war when you are buried in grief. It was at that moment, at the point where Joshua could have been paralyzed with grief and fear that God came to him with a specific command.

Joshua 1:1–2 KJV

NOW after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, 

Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.

Moses my servant is dead – therefore arise. This had to be a difficult command. That should have been enough. God does not need to talk us into obeying. However in his loving and gracious way, He gave Joshua reasons to cast aside his fear and sadness and rise up to the task to which he has been called.  

There comes a time after an intense trial, loss or other dark valley that God wants us to move on and move up. We are allowed to grieve from time to time. We are allowed to hide ourselves from evil. We are allowed to take a rest, to come apart alone. But there comes a time when we need to get moving again. There comes a time when we need to get back to the ministry… to get back to church.. to get back to serving the King. God would be completely within His rights to just demand that we “BUCK UP BUTTERCUP”… but in this passage God gives Joshua and to us who studies these words the truths he needs to strengthen him, and the truths that we need in order to enthusiastically respond to the command “Now Therefore Arise!” 

The Outcome Is Already Settled

Joshua 1:3 KJV

Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.

 God didn’t give Joshua explanations as to how He would accomplish these things, because God’s people live on promises and not on explanations. When you trust God’s promises and step out by faith (v. 3), you can be sure that the Lord will give you the directions you need when you need them.1

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Strong, “Be” Commentary Series (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 24.

 God has given them the land. The land is theirs, but their enjoyment of it depends upon their taking possession of it. That part of the land upon which they walked would belong to them. Comparatively speaking, we have been told in Ephesians 1:3 that we are blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies. Unfortunately, very few Christians lay hold of the spiritual blessings that belong to them.1

1 J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary: History of Israel (Joshua/Judges), electronic ed., vol. 10 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1991), 14.

Ephesians 1:3 KJV

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

 God had already given them the land; it was their responsibility now to step out by faith and claim it (Josh 1:3; see Gen. 13:14–18). The same promise of victory that God had given to Moses (Num. 11:22–25), He reaffirmed to Joshua; and He carefully defined the borders of the land. Israel didn’t reach that full potential until the reigns of David and Solomon.

  The lesson for God’s people today is clear: God has given us “all spiritual blessings … in Christ” (Eph. 1:3), and we must step out by faith and claim them. He has set before His church an open door that nobody can close (Rev. 3:8), and we must walk through that door by faith and claim new territory for the Lord. It is impossible to stand still in Christian life and service; for when you stand still, you immediately start going backward. “Let us go on!” is God’s challenge to His church (Heb. 6:1), and that means moving ahead into new territory.1

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Strong, “Be” Commentary Series (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 24–25.

The Boundaries were already set.

Joshua 1:4 KJV

From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast.

the Lebanon Territory north of Israel, roughly corresponds with modern-day Lebanon.

the land of the Hittites The Hittite Empire was centered in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) but controlled territory north of Lebanon (and north/northwest of the Euphrates). However, some ot references to Hittites are most likely referring to a group of native Canaanites, descendants of Heth, son of Canaan (1 Chr 1:13), and not to the Hittite Empire (see Gen 23:10; 27:46). The Canaanite Hittites are most likely meant here (compare Deut 7:1; Ezek 16:3). See note on Josh 3:10.

great sea The Mediterranean Sea.

in the west The west (where the sun sets).1

1 John D. Barry et al., Faithlife Study Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016), Jos 1:4.

The Pattern Has Already Been Established.

Promises Made in the Past

Genesis 12:7 KJV

And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.

Genesis 15:18 KJV

In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:

Deuteronomy 11:24 KJV

Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the uttermost sea shall your coast be.

Past Promises Kept – As I Was With Moses

Joshua 1:5 KJV

There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Exodus 14:31 KJV

And Israel saw that great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses.

 • Joshua

Genesis 28:14–15 KJV

And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 

And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.

 • Gideon 

Judges 6:16 KJV

And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.

 • Jewish Exiles

Isaiah 41:10 KJV

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: Be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; Yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Isaiah 43:5 KJV

Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, And gather thee from the west;

A wise leader doesn’t completely abandon the past but builds on it as he or she moves toward the future. Moses is mentioned fifty-seven times in the Book of Joshua, evidence that Joshua respected Moses and what he had done for Israel.1

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Strong, “Be” Commentary Series (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 23.

No Man Will Be Able to Stop You

Romans 8:31 KJV

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

Romans 8:37 KJV

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

Personal Promises Have Been Made

Joshua 1:5 KJV

There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

I Will Not Leave You

John 10:27–30 KJV

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 

And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 

My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. 

I and my Father are one.

Matthew 28:20 KJV

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

I Will Not Fail You

cast, to throw, i.q. ??????, ?????, whence pr.n. ?????? (casting forth, throwing down), specially—

(2) to cast down, to let fall, especially the hand, die Hand fallen lassen, see Piel, Hiphil. In Kal intrans. to decline as the day, i.e. to draw to a close, Judges 19:9; used of hay in the fire, i.e. to sink down, Isai. 5:24; followed by ???? to relax, to desist from any person or thing, Ex. 4:26; Jud. 8:3; Neh. 6:9.1

1 Wilhelm Gesenius and Samuel Prideaux Tregelles, Gesenius’ Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2003), 776.

to grow slack, release, let go; (Hi.) to abandon, desert, leave in the lurch; let loose, release from (45)1

1 George M. Landes, Building Your Biblical Hebrew Vocabulary: Learning Words by Frequency and Cognate, vol. 41, Resources for Biblical Study (Atlanta, GA: Society of Biblical Literature, 2001), 86.

I Will Not Forsake You

?azab (??????, 5800), “to leave, forsake, abandon, leave behind, be left over, let go.” This word occurs in Akkadian and post-biblical Hebrew and Aramaic. Similar words appear in Arabic and Ethiopic. The word occurs in biblical Hebrew about 215 times and in all periods.

Basically ?azab means “to depart from something,” or “to leave.” This is the meaning of the word in its first biblical appearance: “[For this cause] shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife …” (Gen. 2:24). A special nuance of the word is “to leave in the lurch,” or to leave someone who is depending upon one’s services. So Moses said to Hobab the Midianite (Kenite): “Leave us not [in the lurch] I pray thee; forasmuch as thou knowest how we are to encamp in the wilderness, and thou mayest be to us instead of eyes” (Num. 10:31).

The word also carries the meaning “forsake,” or “leave entirely.” Such passages convey a note of finality or completeness. So Isaiah is to preach that “… the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings” (Isa. 7:16). In other places, the abandonment is complete but not necessarily permanent. God says that Israel is “as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit.… For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee” (Isa. 54:6–7). In Akkadian, this word carries a technical sense of “completely and permanently abandoned” or “divorced.” Isaiah employs this sense in 62:4: “Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; … but thou shalt be called [My delight is in her], and thy land [Married].…”1

1 W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 87.

Charles Spurgeon tells this story:

I have heard of a certain captain who had led his troops into a very difficult position, and he knew that the next day he should want them all to be full of courage. So, disguising himself, at nightfall he went around their tents and listened to their conversations until he heard one of them say, “Our captain is a very great warrior, and has won many victories, but he has this time made a mistake; for see, there are so many thousands of the enemy, and he has only so many infantry, so many cavalry, and so many guns.” The soldier made out the account and was about to sum up the scanty total when the captain, unable to bear it any longer, threw aside the curtain of the tent and said, “And how many do you count me for, sir?”—as much as to say, “I have won so many battles that you ought to know that my skill can multiply battalions by handling them.”

And so the Lord hears his servants estimating how feeble they are, and how little they can do, and how few are their helpers; and I think I hear him rebukingly say, “But how many do you count your God for? Is he never to come into your estimate? You talk of providing, and forget the God of providence; you talk of working, but forget the God who works in you to will and to do according to his own good pleasure.”1

1 Charles Spurgeon, 300 Sermon Illustrations from Charles Spurgeon, ed. Elliot Ritzema and Lynnea Smoyer (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2017).

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 11:37 AM March 17, 2021.

Comments are closed.