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Moses served the Eternal One faithfully until the end of his days. After his death, the Eternal singled out Joshua, the son of Nun, who had walked at the right hand of Moses during the wilderness wanderings.

Eternal One (to Joshua): Since My servant Moses is now dead, you and the Israelites must prepare to cross over the Jordan River to enter the land I have given you. I will give you every place you walk, wherever your feet touch, just as I promised Moses.[a] From the southern deserts to the northern mountains in Lebanon, from the great Euphrates River in the east—including all the land of the Hittites—to the great Mediterranean Sea in the west, all of it is yours. No one will be able to oppose you for as long as you live. I will be with you just as I was with Moses, and I will never fail or abandon you.

So be strong and courageous, for you will lead this people as they acquire and then divide the land I promised to their ancestors. Always be strong and courageous, and always live by all of the law I gave to my servant Moses, never turning from it—even ever so slightly—so that you may succeed wherever you go. Let the words from the book of the law be always on your lips. Meditate on them day and night so that you may be careful to live by all that is written in it. If you do, as you make your way through this world, you will prosper and always find success.

This is My command: be strong and courageous. Never be afraid or discouraged because I am your God, the Eternal One, and I will remain with you wherever you go.

Joshua is following in the footsteps of the famous prophet, Moses, who led the people of Israel out of Egypt. It is a journey that will lead them where God wants them—in the lands He has long ago promised to the descendants of the patriarch Abraham. Although mighty people occupy the lands, God tells the Israelites that the land will be theirs, if they only believe. Joshua is reminded often enough of the wanderings in the desert following Moses. It’s an intimidating thing to follow a legend, but the charge God gives Joshua also gives him what he needs to succeed: Be strong and courageous, and keep the words of God always in front of you. If you do those things, then you can’t go wrong. And if you do those things, God says He will be with you.

10 When Joshua had heard God’s commands, he gathered the leaders of the people of Israel and gave them their instructions.

Joshua (to all the leaders): 11 Go through the camp and tell your people, “Gather whatever you need because in three days you will pass over the Jordan into the land the Eternal One, your God, has given you to possess. Soon it will be ours.”

12 Then Joshua spoke to the leaders of Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh.

Joshua: 13 Remember what Moses, the servant of the Eternal, told you: “The Eternal One, your God, is making a place for you to settle and will give you this land as your own.”

14 Your wives, your children, and your livestock will stay on this side of the Jordan in this land that Moses awarded you. But all of you who can fight must lead your brothers in battle formation over the Jordan and help them 15 until the Eternal gives them rest from their enemies, as He has given rest to you. Fight with them until they, too, occupy the land your God, the Eternal One, is setting aside for them. Then you may cross the Jordan again and return to this land that Moses, His servant, has given you east of the Jordan and live here.

Leaders (agreeing): 16 We will do all you have commanded, and we will go wherever you send us. 17 We will follow your orders just as we obeyed Moses in all he told us. May the Eternal One, your God, be with you as He was with Moses. 18 Anybody who rebels against or disobeys your words—all you command—will be put to death. Always be strong and courageous!

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