No doubt the children of Israel thought that the Promised Land would be a cake walk. They had already faced Pharaoh's army and watched the whole lot drown; was there anyone more powerful than Pharaoh? Nope.
But it's interesting to find out Joshua sends out spies to assess the area around Jericho. He didn't just walk the people into the Land, and figured he'd deal with whatever the Land threw at them when the time came. Joshua wanted to be prepared when he faced his adversaries, even though God said the land was already theirs.
Let's equate that to our new life in Christ. If we do not disciple new believers as to what the Promised Land holds, they may lose heart. We need to prepare them to face their adversaries with courage and conviction. We need to teach them about prayer, Bible reading, fellowship and confession, to be sure, but do we teach them about spiritual warfare? About how the sinful nature is at war with our new heart and at times the battle is fierce? That walking in Christ includes carrying a cross--everyone's is different, but we all must carry ours? That we must tether our joy not to our circumstances, but to Jesus? That there are Jerichos in all of our lives, but God is more formidable than anything that Satan will throw at us? That we need to be obedient to God's instructions if we are to see victory in our lives?
God tells Joshua to be "strong and courageous," (Josh. 1:6). Why? He will be leading the people into the Land that God promised their ancestors. Our inheritance is Christ and we, as His people, are His:
I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. (Eph. 1:18)
And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. (Rom. 8:17)
...and we have a priceless inheritance--an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. (1 Peter 1:4)
God then tells Joshua: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. 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. 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. (Josh. 1:7-9)
These instructions are no different for us. We are to obey the Word of God, fulfilled in Christ, and keep our focus on God's promises. That will give us courage and knowledge as we navigate life in the Promised Land.
So, we go into the Promised Land with our Joshua, our Jesus, leading us.
God does not want us to be ignorant of what lies before us. Jesus spent a great deal of time apprising the disciples of what would face them after He was arrested and crucified. He then gave them further instructions after His resurrection before He left them to return to His Father.
Joshua wants to apprise the people of what faces them not to instill fear, but faith. God will be faithfully walking with them every step of the way. So, out the spies go.
Look at what Rahab says to the spies:
Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. (Josh. 2:8-11)
The people in the Land already knew of the greatness of the God of the Israelites. Wow. The people didn't even have to say a word: God's mighty acts on their behalf preceded them.
Jesus' death, burial and resurrection precede our entrance into the Land, for Satan was put on notice by God's mighty acts on behalf of His Son:
'O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?' The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 15:55-7)
Satan knows his days are numbered. His heart melted in fear when that stone rolled away from the tomb and a triumphant Christ walked out. He knows his two "kings"--sin and death--were defeated by Christ and now his dominion over humanity is no longer inviolable. Jesus is Lord, and He rules both in heaven above on and on the earth below.
So: Plan to have Satan send out his army to meet us as we seek to walk in Christ in the land He has given us. Satan will try to intimidate us with a show of force, but was was God's advice to Joshua? Be strong, be courageous, know that we are in Christ because of what He secured for us on the cross, and read the Book.
As we explore Joshua and the parallel this book gives to our salvation journey, we will see what compromise does to our walk. Achan compromised and the effects were far-reaching. So is our sin, especially if we continue in it after we call ourselves the children of God. It's our title, to be sure, but it is also our responsibility.