Joshua’s story is woven throughout the Pentateuch, but his best-known stories are found in the Old Testament book that is titled after his name. Joshua was a loyal disciple of Moses and he was a great encouragement to his Mentor. He faithfully served as a spy in the land of Canaan, he served as a military leader who fought and won great battles and he became a great leader who ushered the nation of Israel into the Promised Land. Here are some key components of this man’s amazing life.
Background of Joshua
- According to Numbers 11:28, Joshua was an assistant to Moses since he was a young boy. He is first introduced to us in Exodus 17 when Moses sent Joshua out to defeat the Amalekites, where he built an altar to the Lord there. For most of his younger days Joshua was a military leader who faithfully served him.
- He was appointed as Moses’ successor by God, but was commissioned by Moses in the presence of the priest Eleazar who would be his counselor for war.
- At the ripe ole age of 120 Moses died in the land of Moab; not before God gave him a glimpse of the Promised Land that he was not able to enter. For thirty days, the people of Israel wept for Moses in the plain of Moab. There was no other prophet like Moses in all of Israel’s history, but Joshua was a close second. He was a man full of the Spirit and he was able, through the help of God, to accomplish all God set before him.
Joshua: The Faithful Disciple
Every mentor is doing an excellent job when they have a faithful disciple(s) at their side. Moses is no exception. In the earlier days of his life, Moses was given an enormous God sized task to accomplish. There is no question Moses could have never accomplished what he did without God being present in his life.
Moses needed loyal men and women around him to accomplish many of the tasks set before him. It is vital for any Spiritual leader to be surrounded by faithful and loyal people to both mentor and disciple. Moses had several… but none more loyal than Joshua. Joshua was Moses’ “go to guy”. If he needed something done and needed it done right and without any lip, Joshua was his man. We do not read anywhere that Joshua ever questioned Moses’ strategies, commands or leadership, no matter how outlandish they may have seemed at the time. He trusted Moses exclusively, because he knew God was with him and he was completely submitted to God.
In Exodus 17 Moses tells Joshua to assemble an army and go out and fight the Amalekites, Joshua didn’t look at Moses like he had a third arm growing out of his body… he says, “Yes sir!” When Moses tells Joshua to take some spies and check out the land of Canaan. He did as he was told and he was one of two men who came back with encouraging news about how he felt they could defeat the Canaanites.
Moses and Joshua had a special bond. Moses would take Joshua with him when he went to the tabernacle to worship God. In Exodus 24:13, Joshua goes up to the Mountain of the Lord with Moses. In 33:11, Joshua stays with Moses in the tent as the Lord speaks to him.
Overall, Joshua has a deep love and respect for Moses. In return Moses pours his life into this young man and he mentors him to become the next great leader of the nation of Israel and who would inherit the promise of God.
Joshua: The Faith-Filled Leader
Joshua was a loyal servant, assistant and successor to Moses. He was not just a loyal man to Moses, he was also a loyal and dependent leader of God. Joshua had to be both a faithful servant and a faith-filled man of God. Joshua was a busy man, he had a full plate both as a Spiritual leader and a military leader. As a result he had to make some pretty tough decisions regarding sin in Israel, and he faced challenges that required a faith that seemed extraordinary.
The four key distinctions that made Joshua a faith-filled leader.
- Joshua was a man of his word. Integrity and honesty are key to being a faith-filled leader. In a day and age where leaders will say anything to either appease people, get more votes or to get out of a sticky situation, it is helpful for us as Christians and as leaders to be men and women of our word. In Joshua 2, Joshua sent out two spies to check out the land of Jericho. Word got out that there were two Israelite spies. Rahab, a prostitute, took it upon herself to protect and hide these men from the authorities, as the men were about to leave her house she asked that she and her family be spared when the Israelites attacked. They agreed and Rahab hung a scarlet chord from her window, so she would be spared. In Joshua 6:22 we read that the spies were commanded to go and get Rahab and her family. Joshua kept his promise.
- Joshua was a man of faith. Sometimes we find ourselves in difficult positions where the odds seem to be stacked against us, and certainly Joshua felt this way at Jericho. God instructed Joshua how he was to destroy this giant wall before him. Joshua’s arsenal did not consist of canons, TNT, battering rams and M-16’s. His arsenal contained trumpets, the Ark of the Covenant and people.
God instructed Joshua, the men of the army and the seven priests to walk around the city wall for six days. The seven priests would have seven trumpets and they would the Ark of the Covenant. On the seventh day they were to walk around the city seven times and on the seventh lap the priest’s would blow their horns and the people would shout with all their might until the walls fell down. I can honestly say that my response probably would not have been the same as Joshua’s. I would have said, “Huh? Come again Lord? Did I miss the part about needing explosives and big guns?” Joshua’s obedience showed his faith in God and the Lord did all He said he would as a result.
- Joshua had to make tough calls. There are perks to being a leader, but there are certainly pitfalls. Often leaders find themselves in positions where they must make tough decisions. After the great battle of Jericho, Joshua goes to war with Ai and Israel fell to this small village resulting in the loss of thirty-six men. Why? Because of the sin of one man named Achan. When Israel was in battle at Jericho Achan decided he wanted to keep some spoils of war for himself (which was prohibited). This was a sin of rebellion. Before Joshua knows what is going on he cries out to God and asks why they lost this battle. God informs him about the sin of Achan. Once he heard this news Joshua had to make a tough call as to how he would deal with this sin. A death sentence is proclaimed on Achan and his family as punishment for his sins. I am certain Joshua didn’t enjoy making this call but he knew the severity of sin and this sin could not go unpunished.
- Joshua was a man who prayed big faith-filled prayers. This is something we should not be afraid to do as well. God is a God who can accomplish the impossible and Joshua was not afraid to ask God for the impossible. In Joshua 10, Joshua was engaged in battle. The battle was taking longer than usual and evening was fast approaching and Joshua prayed for the sun to stay still, and the Lord did as Joshua asked. It takes a person of faith to pray big faith-filled prayers.
There is so much more to the life of Joshua than I was unable to touch on. I look at his loyalty to both God and his mentor and I desire to be and to have a Joshua in my life. As followers of Jesus Christ, it is imperative that we be men and women of our word, be people of faith, make tough calls when it comes to the glory of God and be men and women who are willing to pray big faith-filled prayers.