Do you have a favorite Old Testament character in the Bible? When I was first saved, I camped out in the New Testament because the Old Testament scared me. I couldn’t understand what God was trying to say to me and I would get frustrated. Then I did a Bible study that caused me to spend more time in the Old Testament than the New Testament and I began to see how it was an arrow pointing to Christ.
One of my favorite men of the Old Testament is Joshua. He had an amazing faith and was one willing to go into the hard places if God sent him because he knew God would deliver. In Joshua 1, God is calling Joshua forth as the new leader of Israel. Moses died and Joshua is left in charge.
Anytime there is a transition in leadership it is good to assess what you’re left in charge of and what is expected of you. In verse 4 the Lord shows Joshua the Promised Land he is about to possess. “Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates– all the Hittite country– to the Great Sea on the west.”
I’ve read over this numerous times through the years, but this past week when I read that verse one word jumped out at me as if it were on a billboard with flashing lights around it. Where does the territory begin? In a desert! Did you ever realize there were deserts in the Promised Land? We think of the Promised Land as being paved with Easy Street, with no issues. We are all for the milk and honey part of the Promised Land but a desert? Really?
Romans 8:28 reminds us “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” How many things does God work together for good? ALL THINGS!
Just because you feel like you are in a desert place doesn’t mean you’re alone [Genesis 16:7]. Even when Hagar was fleeing with her son into the desert, God was there. God is in all places at all times and in fact, He may see the desert as part of your Promised Land. God looks at things so differently than we do [Isaiah 55:8]. If the ultimate goal is to make us more like Jesus and to glorify God in the process, the desert might just be the place He sends us. In Matthew 4:1 we read the Lord was led by the Spirit into the desert. Well, if we’re following Jesus, guess where we might end up? The desert!
Do you feel like you’re in a desert place in your walk with the Lord? You are not alone. If He led you there, He will meet you there and He will direct your path and order your steps just as He did Hagar.
In Joshua 1:5-9 God explains why Joshua shouldn’t fear the desert and how to come out of the desert victoriously. This message is for us as well. God is with us and because of Jesus, we walk and live in victory.
“No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”