Key Verses of Scripture: "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:6-9
When we review the life of Joshua we see a man who was faithful, an excellent follower, a great leader,obedient to God, humble, and teachable. His success as a leader possibly had something to do with his faithfulness and obedience as a follower. This narrative summarizes the life of Joshua in the five subtopics listed below.
Joshua was the son of Nun of the house of Ephraim. He was born in slavery and crossed the Red Sea with Moses and the Children of Israel. The name Joshua means “Jehovah is salvation” and Jesus is the Greek adaptation of the Hebrew name Joshua.
The Bible described Joshua as Moses' servant or minister. Joshua completed the work of Moses after his death. In order for the children of Israel to go into the Promised Land they needed a new leader. Joshua was called by God and commissioned as the new leader of the Children of Israel after Moses died.
"And the LORD said to Moses, "Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay your hand upon him; cause him to stand before Elea'zar the priest and all the congregation, and you shall commission him in their sight. You shall invest him with some of your authority, that all the congregation of the people of Israel may obey.” Numbers 27:18
JOSHUA’S FAITHFULNESS TO MOSES
Joshua served Moses for many years and learned a lot from his leadership. His faithfulness and closeness to Moses allowed him to see a follower of God who was steadfast in his obedience and fellowship with God. As a result, Joshua learned to communicate with God, he learned to heed God’s commands, and he learned how to pray. We see below some important assignments and experiences that were given Joshua by Moses.
On Mount Sinai with Moses
Joshua was not only a servant of God; Moses was his predecessor. Importantly, Joshua was a faithful follower of Moses. As a result, Moses took him as a companion while he was on Mount Sinai. During that time the mountain was covered with the glory of the Lord and the cloud covered it six days. When Moses went into the midst of the cloud for forty days and forty nights to commune with God Joshua waited for him.
“The LORD said to Moses, "Come up to me on the mountain, and wait there; and I will give you the tables of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction."So Moses rose with his servant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God. And he said to the elders, "Tarry here for us, until we come to you again; and, behold, Aaron and Hur are with you; whoever has a cause, let him go to them. “Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the LORD settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days; and on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud.Now the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. And Moses entered the cloud, and went up on the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights. “Exodus 24: 12 -18
He was with Moses when he communed with God
After Moses went into the tent of the tabernacle to speak with God he communed with Him face to face. After Moses left the tent and returned to the camp, Joshua did not depart from the tent.
“Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose up, and every man stood at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he had gone into the tent. When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the door of the tent, and the LORD would speak with Moses. And when all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the door of the tent, all the people would rise up and worship, every man at his tent door. Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses turned again into the camp, his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tent." Exodus 33: 8 -11
The call to spy out the land
Moses commissioned 12 spies to spy out the land of Canaan before they entered it. Joshua is largely remembered as one of the two spies (Caleb is the other) who brought back a good report (Joshua 14:6) to Moses.
“These were the names of the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Hoshe'a the son of Nun Joshua.” Numbers 13:6
“ Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them.” Numbers 14:6-9
He was with Moses during the battle at Amalek
Joshua was with Moses when they fought Amalek and witnessed God as Jehovah Nissi, the Lord our Banner. He was able to see that when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Lord lifts up a standard.
"Then came Am'alek and fought with Israel at Reph'idim. And Moses said to Joshua, "Choose for us men, and go out, fight with Am'alek; tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand." So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Am'alek; and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.” Exodus 17: 8 -10
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance ofAmalek from under heaven. And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi:” Exodus 17: 14 -15
At the end of the battle there was victory and God told Moses to write down what had happened and read it in Joshua's hearing.
GOD DECLARED THAT JOSHUA HAD HIS SPIRIT
In order to have fellowship with God in obedience and trust, one must have the Spirit of God. Joshua had God’s Spirit. We know this because God declared that he had his Spirit.
"And the LORD said to Moses, "Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay your hand upon him;cause him to stand before Elea'zar the priest and all the congregation, and you shall commission him in their sight. You shall invest him with some of your authority, that all the congregation of the people of Israel may obey.” Numbers 27: 18
JOSHUA WAS FAITHFUL TO THE PEOPLE WHO MADE PEACE WITH THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL
When the men of Gibeon, who had attached themselves to the Israelites, sought Joshua’s help when they were confronted by their enemies, he was faithful to them and heeded their call for assistance. Joshua’s answer to their call was based upon him making the right decision. He knew that this was the will of the Lord and sought to assist friends who were attached by their enemies. He also had the Word of the Lord:
“Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands; not one of them shall stand before you” (jJoshua 10:8) and assisted the Gibeonites in their battle. Read Joshua 10:1-11
JOSHUA’S UNRELENTING FAITH
The first account of God's commands in Joshua (Joshua 1:6-9) give a good illustration of the man that God was looking for to deliver the Children of Israel:
6 “Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.”
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.”
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.”
The task of taking the Promised Land from the Canaanites appeared impossible. However, Joshua showed his faith and preservered because he had faith in the promises of God. He was victorious in all that he did because he believed:
"The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them.” Numbers 14:7-9
We are all faced with insurmountable experiences and task and without faith in God’s strength and protective power we could not live up to those challenges. Joshua was a man who had the same challenges in life that we have. Significantly, he was a man of courage and faith in the provision of God and understood that God is an omnipresent, omniscient, and omniscient God who is able to win our every battle and tackle our strongest enemies. He also had a testimony (Hebrew 6:18) of one of those who “have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us”
In Joshua 1:8 God charged Joshua with the following words: “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.”
Joshua followed God’s command and found His promises to be faithful.
Remember that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize. You also must run in such a way that you will win." (1 Cor 9:24)