Introduction to the book: The book of Joshua is often maligned by Bible critics. Some make false claims that the book endorses genocide, ethnical cleansing, and holy wars. Others question whether Joshua really wrote the book and whether some historical references are accurate. Yet, the Bible reveals that “all Scripture”, including the book of Joshua, is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” (2 Tim. 3:16). The book has several themes that still are important for believers relevant today.
(1) God is faithful to keep His promises. This book is important because it reveals that God is faithful to keep His promises. Through Joshua, He fulfilled His many promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses to deliver the Promised Land to His people. He was also faithful to give each tribe its inheritance within the land, just as Moses had promised. God showed that He is faithful to keep His promises so that you will have faith in His many promises to you.
(2) God blesses those who are obedient. The book of Joshua is also important because it shows the consequences of obedience. When the Jews were obedient, God blessed and protected them in battle. By contrast, when they disobeyed Him, He removed His hedge of protection and the Jews lost in battle. Their disobedience even caused them to be expelled from the land after they became complacent and ignored His Law. Although disobedience will not cause you to lose your salvation, it can cause you to lose His hedge of protection and His other blessings.
(3) God blesses those who have faith in Him. This book has further importance because it demonstrates that God will only act when you have faith in Him. The Jews could not enter the Promised Land without faith. They also could not win their battles without faith in Him.
(4) God blesses those who face their enemies without fear. This book is also important because it affirms that you are never to fear your enemies when you are doing God’s will. It was fear that previously caused the Jews to lose their faith on the edge of the Promised Land. Thus, Joshua repeatedly encouraged them not to fear their enemies. God will fight your battles for you.
(5) God wants you to make no provision for the flesh. This book has further importance because the constant battles with the people of Canaan symbolize a believer’s constant battle with the flesh. The people of Canaan symbolized the deeds of the flesh while the Jews symbolized the promises of the Spirit. The Jews were not to make any accommodation for the people of the flesh. You also are not to accommodate the things of the flesh in your life. When the Jews made accommodations for the Canaanites, they were pulled off their walk. Likewise, if you make accommodations for the things of the flesh, you will also be pulled off your walk.
(6) God is sovereign over all. The book is also important because it demonstrates that He is sovereign over all. It was His power that parted the Jordan River. It was also His power that caused the Earth to stand still. It was also His power that defeated the Jews’ enemies. Thus, there is no problem in your life that is too big for Him to solve when you have faith in Him.
(7) God will eventually judge all sin. Finally, the book is the fulfillment of God’s prior promise of judgment on the sinful practices of Canaan. His judgment also foreshadows the judgment of sin that Jesus will execute in the end times for those who refuse to repent.
Introduction to Chapter 1: There are seven themes for the first chapter of Joshua. First, from God’s command to Joshua to continue on after Moses’ death, He reveals that He wants you to persevere for Him when you face a loss, a family death, or setback. Second, from His repeated promises to deliver the Promised Land, He reveals that He is faithful to keep His promises. Third, from Joshua’s encouragement to others to be strong and courageous in the face of the enemy, He reveals that He wants you not to fear the things of this world. He also wants you to encourage others the same way He encourages you. Fourth, through Joshua’s exhortation for the Jews to be obedient, He reveals that He wants you to be obedient as well. Fifth, through Joshua, God reveals that conditional blessings are available when you obey Him with the right motives. At least 21 conditional blessings are promised for obedience to God’s Law. These conditional blessings are unrelated to Jesus’ promise of eternal salvation. Sixth, from Joshua’s exhortation to the officers in the army to be ready, God reveals that He wants you to be ready at all times to serve Him. He does not want you to become distracted by the things of the world. Finally, from the Jews’ agreement to obey Joshua, He reveals that He wants you to obey His appointed leaders. Only when they turn from the Word or His will can you disobey them or refuse to follow them.
God’s command to Joshua to carry on after mourning Moses. The book of Joshua begins where Deuteronomy leaves off. Moses died on his 120th birthday and commanded Joshua to lead the Jews into the Promised Land (Dt. 31:1-3). The nation then mourned his death. After the period of mourning had ended, God repeated Moses’ directive to Joshua to bring the people into the Promised Land: “1Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ servant, saying, 2 ‘Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel.’” (Josh. 1:1-2). Moses had been the force that kept the quarreling tribes to together. His intercessory prayers had also spared the rebellious nation from God’s wrath on several occasions. It would be easy for the Jews to feel despondent without him. Yet, God wanted to encourage His people to continue on, even without Moses as their leader.
Persevere for God when you face a family death or trials. Your faith in Jesus should also cause you to run the race and persevere in all your challenges: “Therefore, . . . let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith . . .” (Heb. 12:1-2). “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:14). “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;” (2 Tim. 4:7). The kind of perseverance is spiritual and not physical: “for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” (1 Tim. 4:8). Are you searching the Word and praying when you are sad or feeling defeated? Has the death of a loved one or a setback caused you to give up?
God never breaks His Word. Through Joshua, God promised to fulfill His promises to give the Promised Land to the Jews: ‘“3 Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses. 4From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun will be your territory.’” (Josh. 1:3-4). On many prior occasions, God promised this land for the Jews: “For all the land which you see [Abraham], to you will I give it, and to your seed forever...for I will give it unto you.” (Gen. 13:15, 17). “I am the LORD that brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give thee this land to inherit it.” (Gen. 15:4-7). “This is the land which I swore unto Abraham,...saying, I will give it unto your seed.” (Dt. 34:4). “To you I will give the land of Canaan, as your allotted inheritance.” (Ps. 105:8-11). By the end of Joshua’s life, God partially fulfilled these promises: “So the LORD gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it.” (Josh. 21:43). The fact that God was faithful to keep His promises to the Jews means that you can trust Him to keep His promises to you as well. When you believe in Jesus Christ, He will take you to the eternal Promised Land (Jo. 3:16). Do you know His other promises for you? If you don’t know them, how much faith can you have in them?
God’s unfulfilled promise to Abraham. God’s unfulfilled land promises can also tell us about the future. He previously made a covenant with Abraham to give his descendants a territory stretching all the way to the fertile crescent, spanning from Egypt to parts of modern day Syria and modern day Iraq: “On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, ‘To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates — the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites [Syria], Canaanites [Israel], Girgashites and Jebusites.’” (Gen. 15:18-21). “Every place whereon the sole of your foot shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness, and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even to the western sea shall be your border.” (Dt. 11:24). It may be hard to imagine Israel today stretching from Iraq to Egypt. But the world will be radically reorganized during the Millennial Reign of the Messiah. Both Jews and Christians await the return of the Messiah to rule Israel. Christians differ only in identifying Christ as the Messiah. God wants you to have faith in His promises, even if they presently seem impossible. “For without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Heb. 11:6). When He restores the land, He will remake Israel into a country many times its current size. Is your faith in God’s promises limited by what seems possible today?
Do not fear your enemies when you serve God. Joshua was present 38 years earlier when the Jews rebelled at the edge of the Promised Land. Joshua and Caleb were the only two spies who did not fear the “giants” in the Promised Land (Nu. 13:30). Thus, he encouraged the Jews not to fear the battles that awaited them: ‘“5 No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.”’ (Josh. 1:5-6). God repeatedly told His people not to fear when they faced trouble (e.g., Gen. 15:1; 46:3; 20:20; 1 Sam. 11:13; 12:16; 2 Kgs. 6:16; Is. 7:4, 41:10-13). The battle against the enemy always belongs to Him: “The LORD your God who goes before you will Himself fight on your behalf, just as He did for you in Egypt before your eyes,” (Dt. 1:30; 3:22). “When you go out to battle against your enemies and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, is with you.” (Dt. 20:1). ‘“Listen, all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: thus says the LORD to you, ‘Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s.’” (2 Chron. 20:15; 32:7-8). He always wants you to rely on Him, regardless of what lies behind you or in your past. He will be your rear guard: “But you will not go out in haste, nor will you go as fugitives; for the LORD will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.” (Is. 52:12). Jesus later told the disciples in the stormy sea: ‘“Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.’” (Matt. 14:27; Mk. 6:50; Jo. 6:20). Peter, however, sank in the sea when he took his eyes off Jesus and became afraid of the waves around him (Matt. 14:30). Has your fear of some adversary taken your eyes off Jesus?
Encourage others with the encouragement that God has given you. Joshua was in effect passing on the words of encouragement that he received from Moses. Near the beginning of his address in Deuteronomy, Moses encouraged Joshua to reflect on God’s victory over the two Amorite kings: “I commanded Joshua at that time, saying, ‘Your eyes have seen all that the Lord your God has done to these two kings. . . . the Lord shall do to all the kingdoms into which you are about to cross. Do not fear them, for the Lord your God is the one fighting for you.’” (Dt. 3:21-22). Just before his death, Moses again encouraged him: “7 Then Moses called to Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, ‘Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land which the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall give it to them as an inheritance. 8 The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”’ (Dt. 31:7-8). “Then He commissioned Joshua the son of Nun, and said, ‘Be strong and courageous, for you shall bring the sons of Israel into the land which I swore to them, and I will be with you.’” (Dt. 31:23). Thus, even though Joshua had proven himself to be a Godly man, Moses continually encouraged him. God also wants you to encourage one another with the encouragement that you have received. “Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.” (1 Thess. 5:11). “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” (Eph. 4:29). Do your words build up others? Or, are you tearing others apart with gossip and criticism?
Speak boldly for God. Joshua previously revealed that he had been given the Spirit of wisdom when Moses laid hands on him: “ Now Joshua the son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him; and the sons of Israel listened to him and did as the Lord had commanded Moses.” (Dt. 34:9). The Holy Spirit also gives you the power to speak boldly for God: “[P]ray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” (Eph. 6:19-20). “And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence,” (Acts 4:29). “Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech,” (2 Cor. 3:12). Are you boldly speaking in faith and through the Spirit for God and against evil?
Joshua’s exhortation for the Jews to be obedient. Joshua knew that it was disobedience that caused God to remove His hedge of protection. Their disobedience and lack of faith were also the reasons for 38 of their 40 years of marching through the wilderness. Thus, he encouraged the Jews to be strong and courageous when doing God’s work: “‘7 Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.’” (Josh. 1:7). Obedience was a command that Moses also gave frequently (e.g., Dt. 6:3-4; 9:1; 20:3). Joshua and Moses knew that the purpose behind the Law might not always appear clear at the time. They were required to be obedient even if they did not understand. God’s thoughts and His ways are greater than our own (Is. 55:8). Today, Christians are not “under the Law” in the sense that they must comply with it to be saved (Gal. 5:18; Ro. 7:6; 8:3). By “fulfilling” the Law, Jesus freed us from the impossible task of trying to obtain salvation through the Law (Matt. 5:17). Jesus is the great “I AM” who gave Moses the Ten Commandments (Jo. 8:58; Ex. 3:14). Although not a salvation test, He reveals that, if you love Him, you will keep His Commandments: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (Jo. 14:15, 21; 15:10; 1 Jo. 5:3; 2 Jo. 1:6). His “disciples” were the “disciplined ones” in keeping His Commandments. As bondservants or freed slaves, they were obedient out of love, not obligation. Whether you follow the Law out of love instead of obligation is a test for whether you really know God: “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.” (1 Jo. 2:3). Even Paul observed that: “Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God.” (1 Cor. 7:19). Do you obey the Word out of love?
Joshua’s promise of blessings from obedience. Even if they did not understand or if their hearts were filled with fear, Joshua wanted the Jews to obey. If they obeyed with the right motives, Joshua also promised that the Jews would receive God’s full blessings: “‘8 This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”’ (Josh. 1:8-9). If you do not boast of your works, Jesus also promised blessings in heaven for those who are obedient: “If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.” (Jo. 13:17; Matt. 6:4; 10:41; Rev. 2:26). The rewards for obedience done with the right motives may also be received in this life time: “But happy is he who keeps the law.” (Prov. 29:18). “Moreover, by them Your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.” (Ps. 19:11). “Surely there is a reward for the righteous . . .” (Ps. 58:11). “But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work.” (2 Chr. 15:7). “So keep the words of this covenant to do them, that you may prosper in all that you do.” (Dt. 29:9). “[H]e who sows righteousness gets a true reward.” (Prov. 11:18). “Walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.” (Dt. 5:32-33; 4:40; Lev. 18:5). Are you putting yourself in a place where God can bless you? Are you storing up blessings in heaven?
21 specific blessings in the Torah for those who are faithful and obedient to God. In the four books of the Law, God reveals at least 21 specific blessings for those who are faithful and obedient to Him. These blessings are unrelated to Jesus’ blessings of eternal salvation. In Exodus, God revealed at least three conditional blessings that come from faithful obedience. These include: (1) protection from diseases (Ex. 15:26); a prolonged life (Ex. 20:12; Dt. 5:16; 5:32-33; 4:40; 6:1-2; 12:28; 22:6-7; 25:13-16; Lev. 18:5; Eph. 6:2-3); and (3) God’s holy presence (Ex. 40:34-35). In Leviticus, God revealed seven other conditional blessings that He may use to bless a person or a nation for obedience. These include: (1) provision (Lev. 26:3-5); (2) peace (Lev. 26:6); (3) protection (Lev. 26:7-8; Ex. 23:22); (4) fertility (Lev. 26:9); (5) abundance from giving (Lev. 26:10; Ps. 92:12-14; Mal. 3:10-12); (6) guidance (Lev. 26: 11-12; Ps. 32:8); and (7) freedom (Lev. 26:13; Ex. 20:2). In Deuteronomy, He revealed 10 other conditional blessings. These include: (1) exaltation for the nation (Dt. 28:1-2); (2) exaltation for the individual within the nation (Dt. 28:1-3); (3) growth (Dt. 28:4); (4) food (Dt. 28:5); (5) success (Dt. 28:6); (6) the defeat of your enemies (D. 28:7); (7) prosperity (Dt. 28:8); (8) holiness (Dt. 28:9); (9) respect (Dt. 28:10); and (10) the fullness of God’s blessings (Dt. 28:11-14). Finally, in books of the Law from Exodus through Deuteronomy, God reveals the blessing of forgiveness from the blood sacrifices (Lev. 17:11; Heb. 9:22). Jesus became the final one-time sacrifice to fulfill the Old Testament sacrificial laws (Heb. 10:12). The only act of obedience required to receive this blessing today is to believe that He died for your sins and that He is both your Lord and Savior (Ro. 10:13; Acts 2:21; Jo. 3:16; 1 Jo. 1:9). Are you obedient to His Ten Commandments and His will to receive His other blessings?
Meditate upon the God’s Law. Joshua told the people to meditate day and night on the book of the law (Josh. 1:8). “You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul. . .” (Dt. 11:18). David memorized God’s Word to keep himself on the right path: “Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.” (Ps. 119:11). “. . . Your Law is within my heart.” (Ps. 40:8; 1:2; 119:16; Jer. 15:16). Solomon also memorized the Law: “Bind them continually on your heart; tie them around your neck. When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you.” (Prov. 6:21-22; 7:3). Jesus also memorized the Law and quoted it from memory throughout His entire life. In addition to the 21 blessings listed above, the Law will keep your way pure (Ps. 37:31; 119:9). It will teach and admonish you (Col. 3:16). When you follow it, you will bear fruit in God like a tree planted by water (Ps. 1:1-3). Are you meditating on His Law?
Joshua’s command to the officers to be ready. After exhorting the nation to meditate upon God’s Law, he encouraged the officers in the army to prepare to cross the River Jordan in three days: “10 Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, 11‘Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, saying, ‘Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you are to cross this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the Lord your God is giving you, to possess it.’ 12 To the Reubenites and to the Gadites and to the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joshua said, 13 ‘Remember the word which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying, ‘The Lord your God gives you rest and will give you this land.’ 14 Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle shall remain in the land which Moses gave you beyond the Jordan, but you shall cross before your brothers in battle array, all your valiant warriors, and shall help them, 15 until the Lord gives your brothers rest, as He gives you, and they also possess the land which the Lord your God is giving them. Then you shall return to your own land, and possess that which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise.” (Josh. 1:10-15). At this point, God blessed the Jews with the wealth from three wars. First, He helped the Jews defeat the Amorite King Sihon (Nu. 21:23-31; Dt. 2:24-37). Second, He helped them defeat the Amorite King Og (Nu. 21:32-35). Third, He helped them defeat the Midianites (Nu. 31:7-11). From Midian alone, the Jews captured 675,000 sheep, 72,000 cattle, and 61,000 donkeys (Nu. 31:36-37). The Jews most likely captured even more animals from the Amorities. With the one exception of Moab in the south, the Jews controlled all of modern day Jordan. God gave the Jews these things to prepare them for the Promised Land. Yet, the tribes of Rueben and Gad assumed that God gave them this wealth for their own benefit. Like the servant who was given a talent and hid it, these tribes decided to bury their talents in a foreign land instead of watching them grow in God’s Promised Land (Matt. 25:14-30; Lk. 19:12-28). After receiving God’s many blessings, the tribes of Reuben and Gad noticed that they had “an exceedingly large number of livestock.” (Nu. 32:1). They also noticed that the conquered land that they were staying in “was indeed a suitable place for livestock.” (Nu. 32:1, 4). After realizing the comfort of God’s blessings, these tribes pleaded with Moses: “do not take us across the Jordan.” (Nu. 32:5). Moses later agreed to their requests. God cannot force people into His Promised Land if they don’t want to be there. Yet, they then enticed others to give up on God’s land. Half of the Manasseh tribe joined them in seeking to stay outside God’s land (Nu. 32: 33, 40-42). In exchange, these tribes had to first fight to win the Promised Land. Yet, because these tribes chose not to live in the Promised Land, they never had a land to return to after the Jews went into exile. They became part of the lost tribes.
Everyone is needed in the fight to bring others to the eternal Promised Land. Jesus is looking for people to serve in His army (2 Tim. 2:3). “You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve Him and cling to Him, and you shall swear by His name.” (Dt. 10:20). Every member of the body plays a vital role in God’s army (1 Cor. 12:25-26). If you truly love Him, you will want to serve out of love and not obligation: ‘“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment.” (Matt. 22:36-38). He wants you to fight to bring others to the eternal Promised Land. Are you fighting the devil by helping to rescue non-believers? Or, like the tribes of Reuben and Gad, are you focused on the worldly things around you?
The Jews’ agreement to obey Joshua as God’s appointed leader. After hearing Joshua’s words of exhortation, the Jews pledged their agreement to follow him: “16 They answered Joshua, saying, ‘All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. 17 Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you; only may the Lord your God be with you as He was with Moses. 18 Anyone who rebels against your command and does not obey your words in all that you command him, shall be put to death; only be strong and courageous.”’ (Josh. 1:16-18). Joshua had already proven himself to be a man of faith, bravery, and a light to others. He previously defeated the Amalekites in battle (Ex. 17:8-13). He and Caleb were also God’s two witnesses who tried to encourage the fearful people to have faith that they could conquer the giants in the Promised Land (Nu. 14:9). Because the Jews would not listen, they would spend 38 years wandering in the desert (Nu. 14:34; Dt. 2:14). “So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.” (Heb. 3:19; Ps. 95:7-11). Only Joshua and Celeb would be allowed to enter because of their faith (Nu. 14:24, 30). God also selected Joshua as a successor because, like Jesus, he would be a shepherd (Nu. 27:17). A shepherd cares about each member of the flock. He uses his staff to protect and to discipline those who stray (Ps. 23:4). Are you helping to care for the individual members of God’s flock?
Pedigree is not a prerequisite for good leadership. Reading about Joshua might make you feel that you could never live up to his standard. Yet, he is the perfect example of a leader who rose from humble origins. God selected Joshua (previously named Hoshea) from the tribe of Ephraim, Joseph’s first son (Gen. 41:51; Nu. 13:8, 16). This selection might have been surprising for two reasons. First, the tribe of Ephraim was not technically Jewish because his mother was Egyptian (Gen. 41:50). Second, Ephraim’s tribe had sinned in the wilderness. As a result, the fighting men in their tribe shrank from 40,500 men (Nu. 1:33) to 32,500 men (Nu. 26:37). Yet, God does not pick people based upon their status in life or based upon the sins of their families. Hoshea, his original name, meant “deliverance.” He was the son of Nun, which means “fish.” (Nu. 13:8). A fish is also a symbol used for Christ. Moses later renamed him as “Joshua,” which means “the Lord is deliverance.” (Nu. 13:16). His name prefigures Christ. When Joshua was written in Aramaic (the language of Christ), it is translated as “Yehoshua.” “Yeshua,” the Hebrew name for Christ, is a shortened version of this word. Joshua, like Christ, knew that God would deliver the Promised Land to them (Ps. 18:2; 68:20). Do you judge the advice you receive from people based upon their status or based upon the person’s character? Have you written yourself off because of your background?
Don’t rebel against God’s appointed leaders. Finally, the people did not have a choice in submitting to Joshua as Moses’ appointed successor (1 Pet. 2:13). God likewise commands that we submit to His appointed leaders (Heb. 13:17). Satan’s goal has always been to break down authority through rebellion. His goal is to create chaos and misery. In quoting a prophesy, Jesus revealed what happens when you submit to Satan’s attempts to make you rebel: “I will strike down the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.” (Mk. 14:23). Only when a leader refuses to follow the Word can you refuse to follow that leader (Acts. 4:19). Are you submitting to God’s appointed leaders?