7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. (New Living Translation)As the book of Joshua opens, the Israelites are camped along the east bank of the Jordan River at the very edge of the Promised Land.
Thirty-nine years earlier (after spending a a year at Mount Sinai receiving God’s law), the Israelites had an opportunity to enter the Promised Land, but they failed to trust God. As a result, God did not allow them to enter the land, but made them wander in the wilderness until the disobedient generation had all died.
During their wilderness wanderings, the Israelites obeyed God’s laws. They also taught the new generation to obey God’s laws so that they might enter the Promised Land. As the children grew, they were often reminded that faith and obedience to God brought victory, while unbelief and disobedience brought tragedy. When the last of the older generation had died and the new generation had become adults, the Israelites prepared to cross the river and claim the long-awaited Promised Land.