A whole generation of Israel wishedâand died wishing. For them, 40 years of wandering turned the Promised Land into Fantasy Land. For those same 40 years, Joshua nurtured a victory just waiting to happen. When God commissioned him, Joshua responded and turned othersâ wishes into land, cities, homes and possessionsâthe inheritance of generations to come.
Why did Joshua succeed where others did not? Itâs vitally important to first say that the reasons all lay in Joshuaâs own heart, not in his circumstances. Thatâs the difference between what happens for some people and what doesnât happen for others. Success is in ourselves and Godâs Word, not in our circumstances.
Letâs look at the five victory factors behind Joshuaâs success, all set out in Joshua 1.
1. Realize your greatness is in God. Twice the Bible makes this wonderful, all-inclusive statement: âWith God all things are possibleâ (see Matt. 19:26, Mark 10:27). Note the preposition with. To you all things are possible, with God. Joshua did not ride into Canaan on the back of an Arabian stallion but marched in upon the basis of the promises of God. God told him: âEvery place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given youâ (Josh. 1:3).
2. All of Godâs promises to others are ours by faith. Godâs Word is for you as much as if He personally appeared and spoke it to you. Your only requirement is to âput onâ His promises by faith. What had God promised to Joshua? âFrom the wilderness ... to the going down of the sun, shall be your territoryâ (Josh. 1:4). For Joshua and Israel, the only land remaining to be possessed was what Joshua had made up his mind to have. It was theirs by faith. And it happened when he decided. The door of history swung open at his touch.
3. Get a vision of what you should do for God, then work to bring it about. One of the most deeply rooted beliefs (actually, unbeliefs) some have is that Godâs presence is greater with some people than with others. But from the beginning God said, âI will not leave you nor forsake youâ (Josh. 1:5). He promised this to Joshua and repeated the same statement 1,300 years later by the writer of Hebrews (see Heb. 13:5). God is with us not because we are good or because we have great faith; He is with us because He has committed Himself irrevocably to us. If God was with us only when we had success, success would never come.
4. Know that God is with you as much as He was with anybody. Donât hang around waiting for the right circumstances. God is your circumstance. He is with you. Others before you simply took advantage of this great circumstance, believed it and acted on it. You can go forth in the name of the Lord with the same courage that God drummed into Joshua: âBe strong and of good courageâ (1:6); âOnly be strong and very courageousâ (v. 7); âBe strong and of good courage; do not be afraid nor be dismayedâ (v. 9).
5. Believe Godâs Word and act on it. God didnât give Joshua much forewarning when He said within three days Joshua would cross the Jordan River to possess the land (see Josh. 1:11). Israel had been on the east side of the Jordan for an entire generation. They were used to thinking of the other side of the Jordan as Fantasy Land. They had become âgrasshoppersâ in their own sight (see Num. 13:33). If you think you are a grasshopper, you are; because as a person âthinks in his heart, so is heâ (Prov. 23:7). But in God you are not a grasshopperâever.
Realize what was happening when God called Joshua. âThe Lord [said] to Joshua: âMoses ... is dead. Now therefore, arise, goââ (Josh. 1:1-2). What a moment for purpose to unfold! It began with a funeral. It was a disastrous hour. However, God revels in bringing life out of death.
Cast off feelings of inferiority. Remember: A personâs greatness lies only in God. Thatâs why Joshua succeededâbecause the same God who was with Moses was with him. Heâs the same God who is with you.
Reinhard Bonnke, an evangelist and author, is founder of Orlando, Fla.-based Christ for all Nations, which since the start of the new millennium has recorded 55 million decisions for Christ. His books include Evangelism By Fire, from which this article is adapted.