Kingdom Callings in the Marketplace: Joshua as Territory-Taker
After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 5 No one will be able to stand 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. 6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.
7 “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. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; 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. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
As a child, I remember the Sunday School songs and skits about Joshua. He was the great military leader, successor to Moses, who led God's people into the Promised Land. His claim to fame is forever associated with crossing the Jordan. [Note to the younger generation: The Jordan is a river, not Nike retro sneakers.] What we often forget, however, is that Joshua's own narrative---indeed, his preparation---began as a youth, as he shadowed Moses and learned to value the Manifest Presence of God. His ability to "take territory" for the LORD was less a result of military might, but more due to his utter reliance upon and obedience to God.
Later, Joshua and God's people would discover the hard way that entering into the "land flowing with milk and honey" would hardly come easily. In fact, walking into their Promised Land---which signaled their destiny---would require taking possession of the spiritual and physical territory [see Marketplace Devotional #4 on the theology of displacement]. This would require both strength and courage, a refrain that the LORD repeats over and again (4x) in today's passage. Interestingly, Joshua's predecessor and spiritual father, Moses, had commissioned him with the same words: Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid!
As Joshua prepared to cross the Jordan, he must have been wondering, Why is everyone telling me to be courageous? What exactly is on the other side? What we do know is that Joshua listened very carefully to every move that God planned for him---whether it marching around Jericho, ambushing the city of Ai, or defeating the five Amorite kings.
Many of us are called to be Territory-Takers for the LORD in the marketplace. In a very real sense, for those with a Joshua anointing, I believe the LORD will truly "give you every place where you set your foot." But the challenge is (a) to avoid being presumptive and passive about our Promised Land, and/or (b) to attempt to take territory with guns blazing in the flesh. Rather, Kingdom Territory-Takers are, above all, called to wait, listen, and obey the voice of the LORD. We are to stay intimate with Him throughout the work week---in every business meeting, interaction with co-workers, and even during our commutes. Only then, will we "be prosperous and successful."
In this way, as the Joshua's among us take territory for the LORD, we do not scorch the earth, but rather richly bless the land. Father, release the Joshua's in our midst!
In Jesus Name, Amen.