“No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you.” (Josh. 1:5). Of course, God goes on to rally Joshua to be very strong and courageous to take the land that the Lord is giving to Israel.
What’s striking is that Hebrews actually quotes that verse from Joshua and applies it to Christians: “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ’The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’” (Heb. 13:5-6)
But this seems a little strange since Hebrews seems to quote Joshua for an almost opposite sounding reason. In Joshua, God is telling Joshua to be courageous and go take the land, I will never leave you or forsake you, but here in Hebrews it sounds like it’s saying be content, don’t take anything, I will never leave you or forsake you. So which is it?
The answer is both actually. The reason Hebrews can apply Joshua’s commission to Christians is because we have a new Joshua, Yeshua, Jesus. And He has inherited all of the nations: All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Him. So for Christians, we are not trying to take the land for Jesus. We are simply telling the lands it’s already His. This is why we covet nothing and are content with what we have – which incidentally is everything in Christ. And at the same time, because it belongs to Christ and to us in Him, we are jealous for His glory and eager to see every knee bow and every tongue confess Him Lord. And since we do not yet see that, we labor for that. But He is with us like He was with Moses, like He was with Joshua, and no man can stand before us.
This is what this bread and wine means. They mean this land belongs to our King. We are eating wheat and grapes, produce of the land that belongs to King Jesus. It’s a little like when the spies brought back enormous clusters of grapes from the Promised Land. But we are spying out Immanuel’s land. And we do it every week.
So come and welcome to Jesus Christ.