Today we are continuing our God’s Story from Beginning to End series. The purpose of this series is to gain a bird’s eye view of the Bible and how we can understand that it is a continuous story about God and his work through and among his chosen people. Up to this point we have seen God’s work in creation, covenant, deliverance, the Law, establishing worship, and the wilderness. It is important for us to understand that the Bible reveals God’s calling, character, curse, covenant, and conciliation in and of all things. These revelations may seem simple and elementary, but the realities of the stories are complex as we observe a perfect God working among and amid an imperfect people to accomplish his perfect will. Sometimes, often, these biblical stories are messy and disastrous, but we see throughout that God takes the ugliness, disorder, and misfortune and restores with beauty, order, and opportunity through Jesus Christ.
We are picking up in the book of Joshua. This book is titled after Moses’ right-hand man, military leader, and protégé Joshua, and it tells the story of the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant given in Genesis 12:1 – 3. This account begins shortly after the death of Moses. Previously in Numbers 27 Joshua was commissioned by God and Moses to pick up where Moses left off in leading the Israelites into the Promised Land. He was a unique person whom God used tremendously in establishing the nation of Israel post wilderness. His story is essential because had not Israel entered the Promised Land there would be no story of the judges, prophets, or kings to tell.
In his life God (with the assistance of Moses) was preparing him to become the leader of the nation of Israel after the death of his mentor. It’s no surprise that Joshua had some big shoes to fill. We read in the life of Joshua, that God had his hand upon this man, militarily, in his management, and in his ministry. Joshua did have some enormous shoes to fill but Joshua served an infinite God who can and does do all he had set out to accomplish through him. He was a man of great faith, great vision, and great leadership.
As the tradition has been for the past few weeks, I believe it would benefit us all to look at the background of Joshua so we can have a good perspective of the man who was next in line to lead the nation of Israel in this pivotal point in their history.
Joshua was distinctive in various ways but chiefly in his loyalty and obedience to both God and Moses. He is the kind of person that every leader (or Christian for that matter) desires to have in his or her life. He shared a relationship with Moses that none (other than God) could or ever would have, which ultimately led to him to having the special and unique kind of relationship that Moses had with God.
Joshua’s story is interconnected throughout the Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible), but his epic accounts are found primarily in the book of the Bible that is titled after him. Joshua loved Moses and he was devoted to his mentor. In taking a brief overview of his life, we see that he faithfully served as a spy in the land of Canaan, he was a mighty military leader who fought and won great battles, and he was a great leader who shepherded the nation of Israel into the Promised Land.
Here are some key components of this man’s amazing life.
Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho
Today we are going to park for a quick second in Joshua 6 as we look specifically at a story that, I am sure; you are all familiar. If you have ever gone to church, Sunday School Christian School, or Bible camp then you have heard this story. Here, Joshua, Caleb and their army are standing before the Promised Land and God gives Joshua the “go ahead” to proceed into the city and overtake it. I sometimes wonder what those men were thinking as they were standing before the city preparing to storm the walls of Jericho. I can tell you one thing they were most likely NOT thinking was that they would overtake the city by simply marching around the wall, blowing horns, and shouting at the top of their lungs.
God gives Joshua some very unusual and specifics as to how they are to take the city.
Joshua 1:1 - 9
Here is the plan…
This is an unusual military plan. If I were in the military and I heard this as the battle plan I would think the commander had been smoking something funny. However, Joshua, Caleb and the army had faith that God had something greater than military strategy or a well thought out battle plan. They had something greater… They had God on their side.
This is a large part of the story and to the success in their battle. Romans 8:31 says, “What shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” This passage was written thousands of years after the battle of Jericho but I am sure this mindset and reality of this yet unwritten verse was in the forefront of Joshua’s mind. So, if it was applicable and true thousands and hundreds of years ago, it is certainly remains true for us today.
We face trials, hardships, or “walls” that seem to be looming before us. We can look at our situation and see no logical or realistic way out of or through this difficulty. We begin to question God, or we may not trust he will pull through for us. We often use the word BUT to discredit what God is doing. We say, “I know God says he will never leave or forsake me, but I am not sure he is going to pull through for me on this.” Or we may say, “I believe God is calling me to do some outrageous things for His purpose BUT I don’t think I would have enough courage or faith to do what He is asking me to do.
Joshua was a loyal servant, assistant, and successor to Moses. However, he was not just loyal to Moses he was a loyal and dependent leader of God (just like his mentor). Joshua was a leader who was a faithful servant and faith-filled man of God. When we read accounts of his life, we notice that as a leader, Joshua had a full plate both as a Spiritual and military leader. He had to make some tough decisions regarding sin in the camp of Israel, and when he faced some interesting challenges placed before him that required a faith that seemed extraordinary.
There are four key distinctions about Joshua I would like to note about him that made him the faith-filled leader he was.
We serve a big God! There is nothing that is too big or too small for him. We have seen in this short time together that no matter what we face God has called his people to partner with him to accomplish his will. I realize the story of Joshua is unique to him, but this does not mean that what God did in his life he won’t do in your life. We can look at the distinctions of Joshua and apply them to our lives. We should be men and women of our word, men and women of faith, learn how to make hard decisions, and pray BIG faith-filled prayers.
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Jeff has been in ministry for well over two decades. He currently serves as Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Southside Campus in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). Both are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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