Now after the death of Moses - ויהי vayehi, and it was or happened after the death of Moses. Even the first words in this book show it to be a continuation of the preceding, and intimately connected with the narrative in the last chapter in Deuteronomy, of which I suppose Joshua to have been the author, and that chapter to have originally made the commencement of this book, Deuteronomy 34:1-12; (note). The time referred to here must have been at the conclusion of the thirty days in which they mourned for Moses.
Now - Hebrew: “and, ” The statement following is thus connected with some previous one, which is assumed to be known to the reader. So Judges, Ruth, 1Samuel, etc., are by the same means linked on to the books preceding them. The connection here is the closer, since the Book of Deuteronomy concludes, and the book of Joshua opens, by referring to the death of Moses.
Moses, the servant of the Lord - On the epithet, see the marginal reference “b.”
Moses‘ minister - It is impossible altogether to pass by the typical application of this verse. Moses, representing the law, is dead; Joshua, or, as that name is written in Greek, Jesus, is now bidden by God to do what Moses could not - lead the people into the promised land. Joshua was “Moses‘ minister,” just as Christ was “made under the Law;” but it was Joshua, not Moses, who worked out the accomplishment of the blessings which the Law promised. On the name Joshua, see Exodus 17:9 note, and Numbers 13:16.
Saying - No doubt directly, by an immediate revelation, but not as God spake to Moses, “mouth to mouth” Numbers 12:8. Though upon Joshua‘s appointment to be Moses‘ successor (Numbers 27:18 ff), it had been directed that “counsel should be asked” for him through the medium of Eleazar “after the judgment of Urim,” yet this was evidently a resource provided to meet cases of doubt and difficulty. Here there was no such case; but the appointed leader, knowing well the purpose of God, needed to be stirred up to instant execution of it; and the people too might require the encouragement of a renewed divine command to set out at once upon the great enterprise before them (compare Joshua 1:13).
No Better Guide Than God—If men will walk in the path that God has marked out for them, they will have a counselor whose wisdom is far above any human wisdom. Joshua was a wise general because God was his guide. The first sword that Joshua used was the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. Will the men who are handling large responsibilities read the first chapter of Joshua? [Joshua 1:1, 5, 7 quoted.] 2BC 993.1
Do you think that all these charges would have been given to Joshua if there had been no danger of his being brought under misleading influences? It was because the strongest influences were to be brought to bear against his principles of righteousness that the Lord in mercy charged him not to turn to the right hand or to the left. He was to follow a course of strictest integrity. [Joshua 1:8, 9 quoted.] If there had been no peril before Joshua, God would not over and over again have charged him to be of good courage. But amid all his cares, Joshua had his God to guide him. 2BC 993.2
There is no greater deception than for man to suppose that in any difficulty he can find a better guide than God, a wiser counselor in any emergency, a stronger defense under any circumstance (MS 66, 1898). 2BC 993.3
7, 8. Secret of Joshua's Success—The Lord has a great work to be done in our world. To every man He has given His work for man to do. But man is not to make man his guide, lest he be led astray; this is always unsafe. While Bible religion embodies the principles of activity in service, at the same time there is the necessity of asking for wisdom daily from the Source of all wisdom. What was Joshua's victory? Thou shalt meditate upon the Word of God day and night. The word of the Lord came to Joshua just before he passed over Jordan.... [Joshua 1:7, 8 quoted.] This was the secret of Joshua's victory. He made God his Guide (Letter 188, 1901). 2BC 993.4
Counselors Should Cherish Everything Coming From God—Those holding the positions of counselors should be unselfish men, men of faith, men of prayer, men that will not dare to rely upon their own human wisdom, but will seek earnestly for light and intelligence as to what is the best manner of conducting their business. Joshua, the commander of Israel, searched the books diligently in which Moses had faithfully chronicled the directions given by God,—His requirements, reproofs, and restrictions,—lest he should move unadvisedly. Joshua was afraid to trust his own impulses, or his own wisdom. He regarded everything that came from Christ, who was enshrouded by the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, as of sufficient importance to be sacredly cherished (Letter 14, 1886). 2BC 993.5Read in context »
The Israelites deeply mourned for their departed leader, and thirty days were devoted to special services in honor of his memory. Never till he was taken from them had they so fully realized the value of his wise counsels, his parental tenderness, and his unswerving faith. With a new and deeper appreciation they recalled the precious lessons he had given while still with them. PP 481.1
Moses was dead, but his influence did not die with him. It was to live on, reproducing itself in the hearts of his people. The memory of that holy, unselfish life would long be cherished, with silent, persuasive power molding the lives even of those who had neglected his living words. As the glow of the descending sun lights up the mountain peaks long after the sun itself has sunk behind the hills, so the works of the pure, the holy, and the good shed light upon the world long after the actors themselves have passed away. Their works, their words, their example, will forever live. “The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance.” Psalm 112:6. PP 481.2
While they were filled with grief at their great loss, the people knew that they were not left alone. The pillar of cloud rested over the tabernacle by day, and the pillar of fire by night, an assurance that God would still be their guide and helper if they would walk in the way of His commandments. PP 481.3
Joshua was now the acknowledged leader of Israel. He had been known chiefly as a warrior, and his gifts and virtues were especially valuable at this stage in the history of his people. Courageous, resolute, and persevering, prompt, incorruptible, unmindful of selfish interests in his care for those committed to his charge, and, above all, inspired by a living faith in God—such was the character of the man divinely chosen to conduct the armies of Israel in their entrance upon the Promised Land. During the sojourn in the wilderness he had acted as prime minister to Moses, and by his quiet, unpretending fidelity, his steadfastness when others wavered, his firmness to maintain the truth in the midst of danger, he had given evidence of his fitness to succeed Moses, even before he was called to the position by the voice of God. PP 481.4Read in context »
As Christ and the angels approached the grave, Satan and his angels appeared at the grave, and were guarding the body of Moses, lest it should be removed. As Christ and his angels drew nigh, Satan resisted their approach, but was compelled, by the glory and power of Christ and his angels to fall back. Satan claimed the body of Moses, because of his one transgression; but Christ meekly referred him to his Father, saying, “The Lord rebuke thee.” Christ told Satan that he knew that Moses had humbly repented of this one wrong, and no stain rested upon his character, and his name in the heavenly book of records stood untarnished. Then Christ resurrected the body of Moses, which Satan had claimed. 4aSG 58.1
At the transfiguration of Christ, Moses was sent with Elijah, who had been translated, to talk with Christ in regard to his sufferings, and be the bearers of God's glory to his dear Son. Moses had been greatly honored of God. He had been privileged to talk with God face to face, as a man speaketh with his friend. And God had revealed to him his excellent glory, as he had never done to any other. 4aSG 58.2Read in context »
Can those who profess to be the depositaries of God's law, and who look for the soon coming of Jesus in the clouds of heaven, stand acquitted of the blood of souls if they turn a deaf ear to the crying needs of the people who walk in shadows? There are books to be prepared and distributed, there are lessons to be given, there are self-sacrificing duties to be performed! Who will come to the rescue! Who will, for Christ's sake, deny self and extend the light to those who sit in darkness? 4T 156.1Read in context »