There are a couple of phrases that are often pulled out of Joshua 1 to claim some kind of special anointing or protection. Joshua 1.5 in particular seems to be a favourite for this:
“As I was with Moses, so I will be with you.
I will not abandon you or leave you alone.”
Donald K.Campbell wrote about this and said that as Joshua was about to take on a tremendous task he needed some fresh encouragement. So far, so good, that could apply to us, right? You’re facing a new challenge, you’re facing a seemingly immovable obstacle and you need fresh encouragement.
Is that all that is going on?
What about the ‘As I was with Moses…’ bit?
Joshua was the guy to take over leadership of the nation of God’s people from Moses (Deuteronomy 34.9-12).
Joshua was the guy Moses had prayed over and set apart as the leader at God’s instruction (Numbers 27.18-21).
In short, Joshua was now the guy.
So, the ‘As I was with Moses…’ bit clearly shows us that Joshua 1.5 was written to a specific person in a specific place at a specific time, and its not you. However, the ‘I will not abandon you or leave you alone’ bit is far more applicable to you and me, isn’t it?
Scripture is peppered with verses saying, essentially, the same thing: God keep His promises to His people and is faithful to them (1 Chronicles 28.20, 1 Kings 8.57, Deuteronomy 3.41, 31.6, 8, Hebrews 13.5-6, Matthew 28.20, Psalm 94.14).
This verse spoken to Joshua by the Lord was just that: spoken to Joshua. The principle in play, however, is very much for you and for me: God will never abandon or leave alone those who love Him (John 10.27-28).
Today then, focus on the end of Joshua 1.5 and know that this can be as applicable to you as it was to Joshua!