Month: December 2021

Joshua’ Life & Exploits (Part 5)

9. Joshua, the Successor

Throughout the Wilderness Journey, God is preparing Joshua for his ministry as Successor to Moses:

  • When Israel defeated Og, King of Bashan, Moses used that victory to encourage Joshua not to be afraid of his Enemies (Deuteronomy 3:21-28; Numbers 21:33-35).
  • When Moses was preparing for his death, he asked God to give the people a Leader; and God appointed Joshua (Numbers 27:12-23; Deuteronomy 31:23-29; Deuteronomy 34:9).
  • In his final message to Israel, Moses told the people that God would use Joshua to defeat their Enemies and help them claim their Promised Inheritance; and he also encourage Joshua to trust God and not be afraid (Deuteronomy 31:1-8). Moses laid hands on Joshua and God imparted to Joshua the spiritual power and authority he needed for his task (Deuteronomy 34:9).

Like Moses, Joshua was human and makes his fair share of mistakes; but he was still God’s Chosen, and Anointed Leader and the people knew this. That is why they said to Joshua “Just as we heeded Moses in all things, so we will heed you” (Joshua 1:17). God’s people in the Church today need to acknowledge God’s Leaders and give them the respect that they deserved as the Servants of God (1Thessalonians 5:12-13). The secret of Joshua’s success was his faith in God’s Spoken Word (Rhema – Joshua 1:7-9), its Commandments and its Promises. God’s Word to Joshua was “be strong” (Joshua 1:6-7, 9, 18; Deuteronomy 31:6-7, 23); and this is His Word to His people today.

10. Joshua Begins with a Divine Call and Charge

(Joshua 1:1-9) – Consider this: It took 40 years for Joshua’s Leadership style to match the need of the moment. Moses led diplomatically. He sat and judged the people patiently as they grumbled through long years in the dessert. By the time the Israelites reached Canaan Land, fierce Enemies awaited them – and they needed a much more confrontational Leader, a military man skilled in war. Enter Joshua. Note the difference between Moses and Joshua and see how timing can dictate appropriate Leadership style:

MosesJoshua
Led through 40 yrs of desert travelLed through 25 yrs of conquering Canaan
Was a political, diplomatic leaderWas a military, in-your-face leader
Patiently listened to complaintsConfronted laziness and fear of the Enemy
Led people as a peace-making ShepherdLed people as a tough Commander
Provided water from a rock when the People got thirtyTold the people to dig their own wells when
they got thirsty

11. Joshua’s Obedience Sets the Pace

(Joshua 5:13-15) – Look at every phase of Joshua’s life, and you see a man who gives himself wholeheartedly to completing whatever task was assigned to him:

  • The first time Joshua appears in Scripture, we see him immediately obeying the instruction of Moses in Exodus 17:9-10 “And Moses said unto Joshua, fight with Amalek: tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand. So, Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, and Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.” Thereafter, Joshua took on the role of Moses’ Minister (Assistant).
  • Joshua again displayed his obedience when he agreed to spy out the Promised Land. Upon his return from the reconnaissance (Numbers 13 & 14) mission, he (Joshua), and Caleb, alone among the Spies, were ready to obey God and enter Canaan Land, to claim Israel’s Inheritance.
  • Forty years later when Moses handed the reins of power to his Protégé, Joshua again obeyed the Call (Joshua 1:5-11)

In the end, the people of Israel followed Joshua’s example and did what God asked of them – and as a result inherited the Land God had promised. Scripture says that “Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua” (Joshua 23:31). When the people followed Joshua’s lifelong example of obedience, they prospered. By the time of his death, Joshua was known simply as “the Servant of the LORD” (Joshua 24:29; Judges 2:7, 8). That is high praise!

While today we consider Joshua an exceptional Leader, nowhere does Scripture describe him as a man of extraordinary might, intellect, or talent. What made him extraordinary was his obedience. And when you’re the Servant of the LORD, that’s all we really need.

Stay Tuned….. To be continued……

Joshua’ Life & Exploits (Part 4)

6. Joshua’s Recognition

Exodus 17:14 “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 of Amalek from under heaven,” indicates that God had chosen Joshua for a special work in the future. Unknown to Joshua, the battle with Amalek was a testing time when God was examining his faith and courage. Marsden commented: “Make every occasion a great occasion, for you can never tell when someone may be taking your measure for a larger place.” Joshua’s conflict with Amalek was the preparation for many battles he would fight in the Promised Land.

7. Joshua’s Loyalty

Joshua was jealous not only for God’s Glory but also for the honour and authority of Moses. This is a good characteristic for the Servant to have, and it showed up when God sent His Spirit upon the Seventy Elders, Moses had chosen to assist him in his work (Numbers 11:16-30). – when the Spirit of the LORD came upon Eldad and Medad in the camp, two men who had not assembled with the other Elders at the Tabernacle, Joshua protested and asked Moses to stop them from prophesying (for a New Testament parallel, see Luke 9:49-50). This called forth Moses’ magnanimous reply: “Would that all the people were prophets, that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them” (Numbers 11:29). It is worth noting that when the inheritance was allotted after the conquest of the Promised Land, Joshua took his share last (Joshua 19:49-51).

8. Joshua’s Delay

Hebrews 6:12 “We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised” (NIV). When Israel arrived at Kadesh Barnea, on the border of the Promised Land, God commanded Moses to appoint twelve men to spy out the Land of Canaan – Joshua was among them (Numbers 13). After forty days of investigating the Land, the Spies returned to Moses and reported that the Land was indeed a good Land (Numbers 13:27), but ten of the spies discouraged the people by saying that Israel was not strong enough to overcome the Enemies (Numbers 13:28-33), while two of the Spies – Joshua and Caleb encouraged the people to trust God and move into the Land (Numbers 13:30; 14:6-9). Sadly, the people listened to the faithless ten Spies. It was the act of unbelief and rebellion that delayed the conquest of the Land for forty years (Numbers 14:29-34). The crisis revealed some fine Leadership qualities in Joshua. He was not blind to the realities of the situation, but he did not allow the problems and difficulties to rob him of his Faith in God (Numbers 14:6-9).

The ten Spies looked at God through the difficulties (Numbers 13:33), while Joshua and Caleb looked at the difficulties through what they knew about God. Israel’s God is Powerful for the battles that lay ahead (Numbers 14:7-9). Knowing he was right; Joshua was not afraid to stand up against the majority. Joshua, Moses and Caleb stood alone and risked their lives in so doing (Numbers 14:10a); but God stood with them (Numbers 14:10b). It has well said that “one with God is a majority.” It would take that kind of courage for Joshua to lead Israel into their Promised Land (Canaan Land) so they could defeat their Enemies and claim their Inheritance.

It is through faith and patience that we inherit what God has promised (Hebrews 6:12). Had the people of Israel listened to Joshua and Caleb, they would have entered their Inheritance (Numbers 13:26 to14:10). The years of blessing in the Promised Land that Joshua forfeited because the people had no faith in God.

But Joshua patiently stayed with Moses and did his job, knowing that one day he and Caleb would get their promised Inheritance (Numbers 14:1-9). Both Joshua and Caleb patiently endured the trials of the Wilderness Wandering for forty years because they knew they would one day enter into and claim their Inheritance in the Promised Land.

Leaders must know not only how to win victories but also how to accept delay. Joshua and Caleb must have encouraged each other during the 40 years of Wilderness delay. Year by year, for forty years, they saw the older Generation, those 20 years and above, die (Numbers 14:29), but each year brought them closer to their Inheritance of the Promised Land (c/f Hebrews 10:22-25). In their unbelief, the earlier Generation of the children of Israel rejected “the work of faith” and refused to enter the Promised Land; but they could not rob Joshua of his “patience of hope” (1Thessalonians 1:3). A Leader must learn to wait. Often his Followers do not always see as far as the Leader sees or has faith to believe.

The vision of future – Proverbs 29:18a “Where there is no vision (revelation), the people cast off restraint,” NIV) is what motivates a true Leader; but, like Israel, too often the people are looking back. I suppose every Leader has at one time or another identified with Jesus when He said: “O unbelieving and perverse generation, how long shall I stay with you and put up with you” (Luke 9:41, NIV). On more than one occasion Joshua witnessed Moses pouring out his heart to the LORD because of the unbelief and stubbornness of the people.

Stay Tuned….. To be continued….

Joshua’ Life & Exploits (Part 3)

Point 4 – Joshua’s Submission

1 Peter 5:5 “Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility towards one another because, God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (NIV) – Joshua knows how to submit to authority. As Leader of the Jewish Nation, he followed Moses’ orders and defeated the Amalekites (Exodus 17:8-16). As Moses’ “Assistant” (Minister) for many years (Exodus 24:13), Joshua stayed with his Master, Moses, and served him faithfully.

God’s pattern for Leadership is summarised in Matthew 25:21 “His Lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things. Enter thou into the joy of the Lord.”  Good and Faithful Servanthood still stands today. When the Servant proved himself faithful as the Servant over a few things, then God can make him Ruler over many things. Joshua was able to give orders because he had learned to take orders. Joshua has submitted, with obedient to God, through the authority of Moses until the death of Moses.

  • The key verse in Joshua’s life was: “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” (Joshua 1:7, NIV).
  • This is reinforced with Joshua 11:15 “As the Lord commanded Moses, His servant, so did Moses command Joshua, and so did Joshua; he left nothing undone of all that the Lord commanded Moses.”

Point 5 – Joshua’s Warfare Experience

Exodus 17:8-13 “The came Amalek and fought with Israel in Rephidim. And Moses said unto Joshua, choose us out men, and go out, fight with the Amalek: tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand. So, Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur held up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. and Joshua vanquished Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.”  The first official recorded act of Joshua in Scripture is his defeat of the Amalekites when they attacked Israel about two months after Israel’s exodus from Egypt (Exodus 17:8-16). Moses was the Prophet and Legislator (Deuteronomy 34:10), and Joshua was “a General” with exceptional military skills. He was also a man of great courage, who was not afraid to confront the enemy and trust God for victory. Where did Joshua learn to use a sword and to command an Army? Certainly, he was especially gifted by God, but even gifts must be discovered and developed in an earthly setting. Had Joshua in some way been involved with the Egyptian Army and received his early training in its ranks? This is possible, though the Scripture is silent, and we must not read too much into it. Just as Moses refused the high position in Pharaoh’s Palace where he received his education there (Hebrews 11:24-26; Acts 7:22), so Joshua may have turned down Army position that he might identify with his people and serve God, this may just be an assumption with no scriptural proof.

Stay tuned…..to be continued.

Joshua’ Life & Exploits (Part 2)

Point 2 – Joshua’s Suffering

Joshua was born into Egyptian slavery and knew what it was to suffer. In Exodus 3:7-9, Scripture records the Jews experienced great affliction in Egypt and cried out to God for deliverance. The Hebrews had the Prophetic Words of encouragement while they were, in bondage, in Egypt:

  • God Promised to Abraham that his Descendant would inherit the Land (Genesis 12:7; Genesis 15:18-21).
  • God Promised of Deliverance from bondage (Genesis 15:14).
  • God reiterated His Promise of His Presence to the Nation of Israel (Exodus 6:6-8).
  • Joseph’s word concerning Israel’s deliverance and possession of the Promised Land (Genesis 50:22-26).

God’s pattern for life is that suffering must come before glory. This was true of the Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 24:26; 1Peter 1:11; Philippians 2:6-11), and it is true for His (God’s) Servant (1Peter 4:13; 5:10) – 1Peter 5:10 “And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast” (NIV).  When His Servant suffers in God’s Will and depends on His grace, that suffering has a maturing and purifying effect on his life.

Sadly, we have too many Leaders today, in Christendom, who proudly display their medals, but they cannot show us their scars. Jesus’ Calvary wounds are now glorified in Heaven, an eternal reminder that suffering and glory goes together in God’s Purpose. Suffering sometimes makes people bitter. But when suffering is mixed with Faith and God’s Grace, then it becomes a wonderful “way” for building godly character (2Corinthians 12:1-10). When God’s Servant accepts suffering as a moulding process in fulfilling God’s Purpose, then suffering can work in His (God’s) Servant and for the Servant to accomplish His Will.

Point 3 – Joshua’s Faithfulness

1Corinthians 4:2 “Moreover, it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” Definition – A Faithful Person is one who can be relied on, accountable, steadfast in affection or allegiance, firm in adherence to promises or in observance of duty. The Person is trustworthy; one who shows himself faithful in business transactions, carrying out of commands or the discharge of official duties; conscientious, accountable. Exodus 24:13 “And Moses rose up, and his Servant, Joshua; and Moses went up into the Mount of God,” Joshua is called Moses’ Servant (Minister), which indicated that Joshua was now an official assistant to Moses, the Leader of Israel.

Joshua accompanied Moses to the Mount and went with him when he judged the people for making the golden calf (Exodus 32:17). It was not enough that Joshua be a good Warrior; he also had to know the God of Israel and the Law God gave His people to obey. The secret of Joshua’s victories was not so much his military skill but his submission to God (Joshua 1:8) and to God’s Word (Joshua 5:13-15). Joshua was not only a man of faith and courage, but he was also a man of unqualified obedience both to Moses his Leader and to God (Exodus 17:8-10; 24:13-18 with Exodus 32:15-18; Numbers 27:18; Deuteronomy 34:9).

To be continued….. Stay tuned…..

Joshua’ Life & Exploits (Part 1)

The Statement

The Book of Joshua is not a biography of Joshua in the strictest sense, but it certainly reveals to us a great deal about this Godly man, Joshua.  Like the rest of the OT, this Book was written both to warn us (I Corinthians 10:11) and to encourage us (Romans 15:4).  Therefore, we ought to take time to review Joshua’s life and ministry and learn from him lessons that will help us know the Lord God and serve Him more effectively.

Joshua represents and encourages every Second-Generation Leader. He did not establish the Nation of Israel, Moses did. But Joshua succeeded Moses respectfully and naturally on Moses’ death (Joshua 1:1-2; Numbers 27:15-23; Deuteronomy 34:9).  He finished the work Moses could not complete and led the people of Israel to victory in the Promised Land.  Joshua challenges us to lay hold of God’s Promises and walk in His victory despite adversities.  We will learn several valuable lessons from this Leader, Joshua.

During Moses’ day, God patiently waited for the New Generation to mature so He (God) could lead them into the Promised Land. By the time Joshua takes over, God speaks in a straightforward manner to Israel’s Commanding Officer, Joshua.  God had grown weary of His people’s disobedience, hesitance, and complaints.  God challenges Joshua not to swerve to the right or to the left, but to do all that He commanded. Joshua must not compromise but fulfil everything (Joshua 1:1-9). Clearly, we see God leads in the new and appropriate style for the times.  His people were entering the season in which they needed to act as a military unit, so both God and Joshua provide direction in a military style. Lessons in Leadership:

  • Difficult times demand a different style of Leadership
  • Good Leaders help their people remember past blessings and Divine Victories
  • Leaders must be willing to take risks and pay the price, courage elicits commitment
  • Compromise on your methods, but never on your Convictions or Principles
  • Good Leaders do whatever it takes to get the job done.

Joshua’s Preparation

From Exodus 3 to Deuteronomy 34, the Bible focuses attention on the life and ministry of Moses, God’s chosen Servant to lead the Nation of Israel. But Moses died; and though he (Moses) is not forgotten (Moses is named 57 times in the Book of Joshua and his official title “Servant of the LORD” is mentioned 13 times), Joshua took over the place of Moses – Joshua 1:1-2 (KJV) “Now after the death of Moses, the Servant of the LORD, it came to pass that the LORD spoke unto Joshua, the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, Moses My Servant, is dead; now therefore arise, go over the Jordan, thou and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the Children of Israel.” –  Joshua is called the “Servant of the LORD” (Joshua 24:29; Judges 2:8). God buries His Servant (Moses), but His work goes on. We should note that this change in Leadership carries with it a tremendous spiritual lesson for Believers who want to experience God’s best in their lives. God’s Word exhorts us to honor the elderly in our midst: “Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere God, I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:32, NIV). 

Point 1 – Joshua’s Preparation

We will never be able to lead others into victory if we do not walk in it ourselves. Every area of victory that results from trials we have personally endured can be applied to the lives of others. There is no “hard place” that the Believer walks through (if yielded to God) that will be in vain. God always places “new deposits” in us through struggles that brings God’s life and encouragement to others. When God wants to accomplish something, He prepares His Servant for the task and prepares the task for His Servant. God spent many years preparing Joshua for his ministry. He was born into slavery in Egypt and was given the name Hoshea (Numbers 13:8), which means “Salvation.” Moses later changed it to Joshua (Numbers 13:16). Joshua means “Jehovah is Salvation,” which is the Hebrew form of “Jesus” (Matthew 1:21; Acts 7:45; Hebrews 4:8). When his (Joshua’s) Parents gave him the name “Hoshea (Salvation)” they were bearing witness to their faith in God’s Promise of Redemption (Genesis 15:12-16; 50:24-26). Joshua belonged to the Tribe of Ephraim and was the firstborn son of Nun (1Chronicles 7:20-27). This meant that his life was in danger the night of Passover, but he had faith in the LORD and was protected by the blood of the lamb (Exodus 11-12). While in Egypt, Joshua saw the Signs and Wonders that God performed (Exodus 7-12) and he knew that Jehovah (The LORD) is God of Power who would care for His People. The LORD has defeated the gods of Egypt and demonstrated that He alone is the God of Israel (Exodus 12:12; Numbers 33:4) – Joshua saw the LORD opened the Red Sea to lead the Children of Israel crossed, on dry land, and then close the waters and drowned the pursuing Egyptians Army (Exodus 14-15). Joshua is a man of faith who knew the LORD and trusted Him to do Wonders for His People.  The LORD prepares Joshua in three periods:

  • Forty Years in Egypt.
  • Forty Years in the Wilderness wandering with Moses and the First Generation of the Children of Israel (Numbers 14:29, 30b, 32 -35).
  • Twenty-five Years in subduing the Seven Nations in the Promised Land – the Canaanites, the Amorite, the Hittites, the Perizzite, the Hivite, the Jebusite (Exodus 33:2) and the Gibeonites (Joshua 9). Joshua died at the age of 110 years old (Joshua 24:29).

Stay Tuned….. To be continued

Holy Spirit and Conscience

1.0 Holy Spirit and Conscience

Romans 9:1 “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit.” Conscience is subjected to God’s Word; as the Individual walks in the Light of God’s Word; the Blood of Christ purges his conscience from dead work (Hebrews 9:14). Romans 9:1, Paul links conscience with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit works with the Person’s Conscience, as he does not resist the Holy Spirit’s conviction on his conscience; he submits his conscience to the Holy Spirit and allows the Blood of Christ to cleanse and purge him. The Holy Spirit brings the Person’s Conscience in line with God’s Word as the Conscience is fallible, but the Word of God is Infallible. To maintain a Good Conscience, the Person needs to listen to and obey the Holy Spirit’s Voice. The Holy Spirit works on and through the Conscience; Spirit comes to convict and to convince to reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness and of judgement (John 16:7-11). Conscience must be subjected to God’s Word and God’s Spirit, and continuously cleansed by Christ’s Blood (Hebrews 9:14).    

1.1 Conscientiousness

Conscientiousness is Conscience governed by God’s Word and God’s Spirit and cleanses by the Blood of Christ; whereas unbelieve and evil Conscience goes together – Titus 1:15 (NKJV) “To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience.”  Faith (“body of truth – sound {healthy} teaching”) and Good Conscience goes together 1Timothy 1:5 “Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith (body of truth).” The Person should be conscientious in “little things” so that he can graduated to “bigger things” in God (Luke 16:10-13). The Person’s Conscience adjusts itself to the “standard” the Person holds; thus, Paul speaks of:

  • Purged Conscience (Hebrews 9:14).
  • “Conscience void of offense toward God and toward men” (Acts 24:16). Conscience needs to be exercised; being conscientious about “little things.”
  • Good Conscience (1Timothy 1:5).
  • Pure Conscience (1Timothy 3:9).