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Joshua 1:1-18; Joshua 3:1-17
Meet Joshua. He was born into Egyptian slavery and was servant to and trained under Moses. Joshua was no stranger to waiting. He had heard the stories of God’s promise to Abraham from 450 years earlier and knew first-hand the struggles through Moses’ life as God’s people waited to take possession of their land— a land they’d only heard about, fought for, and imagined.
The book of Joshua opens with Israel standing on the edge of the end of their journey into the Promised Land, and ninety-year-old Joshua standing at the edge of the beginning of his journey as the leader of Israel. Moses has just died, and God says to Joshua, “therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel.” (NASB, emphasis mine).
Now, over the course of ninety years of life, Joshua could have chosen to despair in the waiting. He could have given up on God, he could have pined away for the life he wanted, for the land God promised to his people. He could have chosen not to trust God in this moment. But thankfully, Joshua waited well. He trusted God’s promises. Look closely at the promises that God offers through Joshua to His people in chapter 1 (ESV, emphasis mine):
“I am giving [this land to the Israelites]” (v. 2).
“I have given you [every place your foot touches]” (v. 3).
“Your territory will be [where I’ve appointed it]” (v. 4).
“I will be with you” (v. 5).
“I will not leave you or forsake you” (v. 5).
“You will distribute the land I swore to their fathers” (v. 6).
“You will have success” [as you heed all of My instruction] (v. 7).
“You will prosper and succeed” [when you observe My Word] (v. 8).
“God is with you wherever you go” (v. 9).
“You will be crossing the Jordan” (v. 11).
“God is giving” [this land to you] (v. 11).
“God will give you rest” (v. 13).
“God will give you this land” (v. 13).
So, Joshua chooses to embark on this journey across the Jordan to the Promised Land. We see that Joshua’s step of faith led Israel on a journey of seeing God’s perfect faithfulness to keep every one of these promises. It was almost a decade after they crossed the Jordan River before all of these promises were fulfilled, but impatience didn’t stop Joshua from crossing the river in the first place. He trusted God’s perfect timing, and through the waiting he accomplished much.
Joshua reminds us that we don’t have to despair in the waiting. God’s promises are trustworthy, and His timing is perfect—which means waiting isn’t a setback. It’s an opportunity to embark on a journey of faith.