Joshua was a young man when they left Egypt, and he quickly became a close friend and defender of Moses.
He was the one, when there was a battle to be fought, was chosen to lead the men into battle. (Exodus 17:9-13)
Exodus 17:9 “And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand.”
He was also the one….the only one interested in being as close to the Lord as Moses….for he was given the privilege to be on Mt. Sinai when Moses went up for forty days to get the Ten Commandments the first time. (Everyone else was afraid. Exodus 20:18-19)
Exodus 24:12-13 “And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to Me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.
And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God.”
He and Caleb were the ones which tried to persuade the people to go into the Land the first time, after they spied the Land, and saw it was all that God had promised.
When the others spoke of giants,…..they spoke of the Lord’s promise and goodness. (Numbers 14:6-9)
Numbers 14:9 “Only rebel not ye against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us (will only make us stronger): their defense is departed from them, and the Lord is with us: fear them not.”
He was chosen to lead Israel in, and was given enablement by the Holy Spirit.
Deuteronomy 34:9 “And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel harkened unto him, and did as the Lord commanded Moses.”
Courage was going to be needed…and strength, and a knowledge of God’s Word…..(Deuteronomy 31:7-8, 23-24)
Joshua 1:5-9 (condensed) “…I will be with thee; I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
Be strong and of good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land….
Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law….turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night,….for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and than thou shalt have good success.
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
Several times (five times in all: twice in Deuteronomy and three times in Joshua) the attributes of strength, courage, and knowing the Word; are spoken of and stressed, by the Lord….
…..for though He would give them….Joshua would have to use them.
He had a large job to do.
He was to bring Israel into the Land, conqueror it, and divide it among the tribes; and see to the tribes until the land had been completely conquered.
He was to remind them of the Law—the blessing and the cursing—and then set up the place for worship.
He was to lead them in all of this…..lead them as a shepherd-warrior.
They were going in to possess a land held by very strong forces….and Israel, themselves, had often proved rebellious…..things were not always what they seemed……and guidance from the Word, was very important.
So was using the courage and strength God was going to give him.
To finish his course, Joshua was going to need every help God would give him, over and over again.
But there was also the promise: “I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”
And in the end, he testified:
Joshua 23:14 “And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you, all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.”
In Joshua’s career, he had only three failures, which is an amazing testimony to God’s provision and care for him.
In Achan’s sin of stealing what was consecrated to God from Jericho.
Joshua did not deal with it immediately, which put Israel under God’s displeasure; because he did not ask direction, but relied on the suggestion of others.
Joshua 7:11-12 “Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for thy have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff.
Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies but turned their back before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you.”
Joshua’s failure was in not asking guidance, before sending men to the next battle. Thirty-six men died because Joshua became over confident from the victory they just had;………and did not ask God, first. (Joshua 7:5)
The league with the Gibeonites.
The Gibeonites were inhabitants of the land….they should have been destroyed, but they thought of a trick……they would look like they came from a very far country….old and moldy bread, old clothes, and old wine bottles, etc. to convince the Israelites to make a league with them. Here again, Joshua failed, because he did not seek the Lord’s Word about them.
Joshua 9:14-15 “And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the Lord.
And Joshua made peace with them, and made a league with them, to let them live: and the princes of the congregation sware unto them. “
And because they made this league, God required that they honor it.
Joshua and Israel had to defend them, after a forced march all night, into a battle with five kings and their armies! (Joshua 10:6-10). One of the worst and longest battles they were in.
The land was not fully conquered. After many of the larger kings and territories were conquered…..Joshua divided the land among the tribes; and thought that they would be eager to go in and possess their inheritance……many did….but others seemed to wait for someone to guide them…..instead of turning to the Lord, themselves.
Joshua 13:1 “Now Joshua was old and stricken in years; and the Lord said unto him, Thou art old and stricken in years, and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed .”
Joshua 18:3-4 “And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the Lord God of your fathers hath given you?
Give out from among you three men for each tribe and I will send them, and they shall rise, and go through the land, and describe it according to the inheritance of them; and they shall come again to me.”
Many of the tribes, getting lazy,…first stayed together in the camp like they had been in their journey there……then they began living among the people who were there, when they should have been destroyed, along with their idols.
Because they were not….many began to turn from God to idols. (Joshua 16:10, 17:12…which was why there were the Judges)
Joshua failed in not seeing to each tribe’s inheritance….and in not teaching them to follow the Lord, personally, themselves.
These three failures were serious, and could have easily been prevented….but in the end, Joshua said to Israel….
Joshua 23:6, 8, 10-11 “Be therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left;
But cleave unto the Lord your God, as ye have done unto this day.
One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the Lord your God, He it is that fighteth for you, as He has promised you,
Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the Lord your God.”
And he exhorted them, leaving them with his determination:
Joshua 24:14-15 “Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your father’s served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord.
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom you will serve; whither the gods which your father’s served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
For all of us, in our Christian walk; we, too, are call upon to be strong, and of good courage, and to rely on His Word…..all the time.
We will have failures, that is certain, but we can continue on with Him, seeing our course complete….serving the Lord,……witnessing of His faithfulness.
Paul said at the end of his course:
2 Timothy 4:6-7 “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”
2 Peter 3:17-18 “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness.
But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever. Amen.”
1 John 5:21 “Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.”
Jude 21, 24-25 “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.”
And when we finish our course…..what will we be able to say?