<<OT leader of the Jews>>
Joshua the successor to Moses, led the Israelites into Canaan and became a great military strategist. After several years of battle he divided up the land between the various tribes (Num 27:18-23; Deut 31:14,23; Josh 1:1,2; 13:1-24:33). He carried out Moses’ instructions carefully, for he knew obedience is a key to victory (Josh 11:15). With Caleb, he was the only other person to have experienced slavery in Egypt and lived to enter into Canaan, the Promised Land. The exodus from Egypt is dated at 1446 and the entry into Canaan at 1406 BC.
His story is told in the book of Joshua with brief mentions in several other OT books.
Lessons from his life: * Joshua is first mentioned as an army leader (Ex 17:9,10). He was gaining valuable leadership experience. He is mentioned as Moses’ assistant and spending time in the tabernacle (Ex 24:13, 33:11). Do not despise the days of preparation or shrink from the task, instead spend time learning from your leaders and mentors in preparation for when your day comes. Prior training and character development are vital foundations for any ministry. Those we pattern our lives after will have a profound influence on our lives. Who am I receiving input from?
* Only Joshua and Caleb, out of the 12 spies, believed that with God’s help they could conquer the Promised Land for their faith in God was greater than the obstacles they saw with their eyes (Num 14:6-9). The others 10 spies, along with all the Jews aged 20 years or older, died during the 40 years in the desert because they considered it too big a challenge (Num 14:29,30). The confession of our mouth is very important, affecting our destiny in life and in the purposes of God. Don’t let your natural eyes and senses override your spirit and what God has spoken into your life.
* Several times God spoke these encouraging words to Joshua, “I will never leave you. Be strong” (Josh 1:5,6,7,9, 10:8). Like Joshua, we face tough situations and challenges to our faith. However, by keeping our eyes on Jesus, with His faith ruling our minds and regular meditation on God’s Word we will be spiritually prosperous and successful in His eyes (Josh 1:8; Heb 12:2). Later Joshua spoke these same words to his army (Josh 10:25). It is important to pass on encouragement and spiritual insights that have helped us in life.
* The Israelites were not victorious while there was unaddressed sin in their midst. When it was discovered in the camp, acknowledged by the guilty party and verified, Joshua dealt with it severely. Although committed by only one man it effected the whole nation and all his family experienced the fate he did (Josh 7:1,13,24,25). Sin has a devastating influence so it must be confronted and dealt with – by complete eradication. But when it was eliminated God gave encouragement and promised victory and this time permitted some plunder to be kept (Josh 8:1,2). We too will experience God’s blessing when we confess, deal with sin and walk in obedience.
* There were two types of opposition coming against the Israelites: 1/. Direct confrontation. Heathen kings in the area united to try and crush the Israelites but they were all defeated over a period of 7 years (Josh 9:1,2, 11:1-12:24). Although the kings had been destroyed and much of the land had been subdued, there were still areas that were occupied by the enemy (Josh 13:1-7). Unfortunately, there didn’t seem to be a determination to remove this opposition completely as often a compromise or truce was reached. Gaining the victory over long standing problems in our lives can involve a long-term effort so don’t settle for partial victory. In what areas am I currently gaining the victory? 2/. Indirect trickery. Joshua and his advisers were tricked into making a binding peace treaty with some people who pretended they were from a distant land, when in fact, they were local inhabitants who should have been destroyed according to God’s command to Moses (Deut 7:1-5, 20:16; Josh 9:3-27). Joshua failed to seek the Lord’s advice (Josh 9:14). This seemingly innocent matter turned out to be a major problem with long-term consequences. We need to be constantly in communication with God and the Holy Spirit to have wisdom in each situation, so the enemy of our souls can’t trick us.
* A good leader explains things clearly to their followers, and in this case visual reminders (memorials) were given too (Josh 4:20-24). Do we reinforce our instructions in creative ways, maybe even using lasting visual reminders to aid the memories of those to whom we are responsible? Important milestones in our walk with God need to be kept alive in our minds and talked about. Rather than sharing the hassles you have been experiencing, why not tell of the good things the Lord has been doing for you (1 Sam 7:12)? This brings Him glory.
* Joshua commends the troops for faithfully carrying out their obligations over the years and exhorts them to continuously love and serve God. He blesses them and discharges them from active military service, reminding them to share the spoils of warfare with others (Josh 22:1-8). We all thrive on genuine praise for doing our work to the best of our ability. These times of appreciation should not just be pats on the back but also times of challenge as well – to keep living for Jesus and live out the Christian faith, which includes giving of our resources to bless others. Continually reinforce the message and determine to live for God, setting an example, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord” (Josh 23:6-11, 24:14,15). Regularly communicate to those who are our responsibility how they should live and state our stand also – and live by it.