When Moses died, the responsibility of leading the Israelites into the Promised Land fell to Joshua, who had served under Moses from his youth. Joshua had earned Moses’ trust and had served him faithfully. Moses had such confidence in Joshua that, when the Israelite army fought against the Amalekites, Moses appointed Joshua to command the Israelite army. When Moses knew that he would not be there to lead the people into the Promised Land, he asked God to appoint someone to take his place. God chose Joshua who was, in God’s own words, a man in whom was the Spirit (Numbers 27:18). And so, upon Moses’ death, the mantel of leadership fell squarely on Joshua’s shoulders.
But Joshua would not be left alone in accomplishing this task of leading the Israelites. Just as He had been with Moses, God promised Joshua that He would be with him, that He would not fail him or abandon him (Joshua 1:5). God told Joshua that he needed to be strong and very courageous. He told Joshua that he would have success wherever he went, as long as he was careful to do one thing, keep God’s Word – God’s law – in his heart, his mind, and his mouth, and obey that Word, not turning from it in any way (Joshua 1:6-8).
Just as God had a purpose for Joshua, leading His people into the Promised Land, God has a purpose for each and every one of us. Our purpose may not be to lead an entire nation of people like Joshua did, but we do have a purpose that God has planned for us since before time began. It may be to teach others, it may be to encourage others, or it may be to care for the needs of others. It may be something that seems too difficult for us or something that seems easy to accomplish. Our purpose is not too big or too small, it is God-sized, a purpose that God gives us because He knows that, with His help, we can accomplish it.
As we seek to accomplish God’s purpose for our lives, we can be sure of this: just as God promised Joshua that He would be with him, God promises that He will be with us. And just as God promised Joshua that He would never fail him or abandon him, God promises that He will never fail us or abandon us. And God promises that we will succeed in our purpose if, like Joshua, we are careful to keep His Word, His commands, in our hearts, in our minds, and in our mouths, and to obey that Word, not turning from it in any way. We need to study His Word, meditate on it, and then follow the commandments that Jesus gave us to love God and love each other. When we do, we will prosper and succeed as we live out our God-given purpose.