It generally can be said that in the absence of order, disorder follows. Disorder may happen, and may prevail in a government where rulers are men and the ruled are also creatures of flesh and bones. Why so? It is because both the rulers and the ruled have the propensities to do evil.
We who want peace and order keep longing for a world of theocracy, a realm over which God himself is King.
Once there was a nation of special people, a nation brought forth by God, cared for by God, and directed by God. As a nation they had been carved out of a clan that had multiplied in a foreign land. They were born in troublesome times, when kingdoms supplanted kingdoms and kings supplanted kings. But it was also a time when God could speak to humans and could be heard in return, a time when God directly acted in history, and intervened in their political and spiritual upbringing. They had no king then, but they had prophets and priests.
It was a time of change. God gave them his marching orders. We read of God’s marching orders to this new nation, in Joshua 1:1-18. The orders consisted of commands to be obeyed, and blessings that followed after they obeyed. Those marching orders were given for the purpose of instilling order. We as God’s new Israel would do well to see how God’s old Israel did it.
BODY OUTLINE: I. The commission made (vv. 1-9). A. Face the fact: My servant Moses is dead, v. 2.
B. Remember the Promised Land, vv. 2, 3, 4.
C. Remember the promised protection, v. 5.
D. Remember the Book that brings blessings, v. 8.
E. Remember the conditions, vv. 6, 7, 8.
II. The commission obeyed (vv. 10-18). A. The command to the officers, vv. 10-11.
1. Pass through the camp; command the people, vv. 10-12.
2. Prepare to go, v. 11.
3. Prepare to possess the land, v. 11.
1. Remember what needs to be remembered, v. 13.
2. Leave your loved ones behind; prepare for war, v. 14.
3. Return to them after the battle is over, v. 15.
C. The nation’s response (vv. 16-18).
1. All your commands will be obeyed; wherever, v. 16.
2. God is with us as he once was with Moses, v. 17.
3. Violators to suffer death, v. 18.
CONCLUSION: God’s new marching orders in Joshua 1:1-18 found literal meaning and fulfillment in the old nation of Israel. Spiritually speaking, its application maybe temporal but its principles are timeless and may include us, the new Israel. See Romans 15:4.
The old leaders among us have come and gone. It’s time we equip ourselves with faith and anchor our hopes on the promises. Let us remember the promised heaven, the promised protection. The book that we have still brings blessings, as long as we remain in God, courageous and strong. Let us pass through the camp and exhort the people to prepare to go and possess the heavenly land. There is a great battle that is set before us. The battle is not for the weak but for the strong. The battle is not fleshly, but spiritual.
Our commission today is to preach the only gospel that saves (Romans 1:16). We have the commission to keep watch over what we teach and to take heed to ourselves and the way we live (1 Timothy 4:16). We have the commission to enter the strait gate (Matthew 7:13-14), and to be faithful till death (Revelation 2:10).