The Scriptorium

Joshua Commissioned

Leadership of Israel passes to Joshua.

Hearing God’s Word: Deuteronomy 3, 4 (2)

Opening Prayer: Psalm 106.1-3, 48.
Praise the LORD!
Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD?
Who can declare all His praise?
Blessed are those who keep justice,
And he who does righteousness at all times!

Blessed be the LORD God of Israel
From everlasting to everlasting!
And let all the people say, “Amen!”
Praise the LORD!

Psalm 106.1-3, 48
(Trust in Jesus: ‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus)
Praise the Lord!  Give thanks and praise Him!  He is good, His love endures!
More His works than can be spoken; let His praise be ever sure!
Refrain v. 48
Blessèd be our God and Savior, evermore His praise proclaim!
Let all those who know Your favor praise Your holy, glorious Name!

Today’s Text: Deuteronomy 3.21-29


1. How did God respond to Moses’ request to enter the land?

2. What was Moses to do for Joshua?

God chose Joshua as Moses’ successor to lead the people of Israel into the land of promise. His name means “he delivers” and is the Hebrew equivalent to Jesus. Moses encouraged Joshua – and all Israel through him – not to be afraid, but to know that their God will fight for them (v. 22). He promised to give all the kings of Canaan to Israel, just as He gave them Sihon and Og (v. 21); so they must be strong and very courageous (Josh. 1.7).

Moses had forfeited the privilege of entering the land by his act of disobedience at the waters of Meribah (Num. 20.1-12). The Lord “was angry” with Moses then, but Moses hoped He might have changed His mind by this time (vv. 23-25). God’s anger remained, however (v. 26), and His Word of judgment against Moses. He commanded Moses to climb to the top of Mt. Pisgah – a range of mountains including Mt. Nebo – where he could look out over the good land before he died (v. 27, cf. 34.1-8). This is how the book of Deuteronomy will end.

Moses must make sure that Joshua is ready for the task ahead (v. 28). He must encourage him and strengthen him, so that he will hold fast to the Word of God and not yield to his fears. Under Joshua’s leadership, Israel would fight for many years to gain the land of promise, and at the end of his life, there would still be much work to do.

Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
It is sad that, after all Moses’ faithfulness, he was denied entrance into the promised land. But I find it reassuring that, first of all, God is faithful to His Word; and secondly, that He knows how much of life we are able to bear in trust and obedience. Hezekiah was granted a healing and an additional fifteen years of life (2 Kgs. 20), but he made a terrible muddle of the time. Moses asked for a different outcome too, but God, in His grace, denied the request. As it happened, Moses’ life ended well. He was faithful to God’s call to the end. But given extra time and terrain…who knows? “…God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10.13). God always knows and does what is best. For Moses and for us. Always.

1. Moses was denied entrance to the promise land because he failed to trust and obey the Word of God. How should this serve as a warning to us? A comfort?

2. What was required of Joshua in leading the people of God? How does this apply to us, as leaders of the people in our Personal Mission Field?

3. What is your responsibility in helping to prepare leaders for the church in the next generation?

He repeats what we have already seen, that he exhorted Joshua together with the whole people to prepare themselves to occupy the land with alacrity, relying as well upon God's promise, as upon the numerous proofs of His assistance, which were so many pledges of the future continuance of His grace. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Deuteronomy 3.21

Lord, I praise You for the leaders of our church. I pray that you would keep them in Your Word, and that You would use me to…

Closing Prayer: Pray Psalm 106.44-48.

Pray for your church leaders, and ask God to give you courage and strength to serve Him in your own work today.

Psalm 106.44-48
(Trust in Jesus: Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus)
Look upon us, Lord, with favor, see us in our sore distress!
Hear our cries, with love surround us – turn again to heal and bless!
Refrain v. 48
Blessèd be our God and Savior, evermore His praise proclaim!
Let all those who know Your favor praise Your holy, glorious Name!

Save us, Lord, from every nation; gather us from all our ways.
And we to Your Name will offer glorious thanks and endless praise!

T. M. and Susie Moore

Listen to our summary of last week’s study in Deuteronomy by clicking here. You can download all the studies in the series by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy: Ancient Christian Commentary Series III, Joseph T. Lienhard, S. J. ed. in collaboration with Ronnie J. Rombs, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2001). All quotations from John Calvin from John Calvin, Commentaries on The Four Last Books of Moses Arranged in the Order of A Harmony, Rev. Charles William Bingham M. A., tr. and ed. (Edinburgh: The Calvin Translation Society, 1863. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore