It was going to be a long, bloody, costly campaign.
An entire swath of land to possess. Embedded, war-like tribes to uproot. Hundreds of thousands of troops, many new to warfare, to lead into battle. And the iconic leader of this ragtag, sometimes dysfunctional army had, after decades of disappointments and deliverances, just passed off the scene.
The new general had his work cut out for him, looking across the river at the land that was his destiny. Joshua was, by no means, a wimpy figure. He had been Moses’ second-in-command, the leader-in-training. This was his time, his moment.
No-one could have blamed him for running off in corner and hiding.
But God did not elevate him to this place to hesitate, or retreat. He was to lead. And to do so, God gave Joshua his “I’s.”
“Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you…”
“Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you…”
“I will not fail you or forsake you.”
“You shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.”
And, the summary of all these “I’s”: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous!! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
On the bank of every Jordan, at the threshold of every new challenge, the temptation is to take stock of “me.” Bad idea. No strength, no courage to be found considering my own pathetic abilities.
But looking at it with God’s “I’s”? That’s a whole ‘nother story.