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:
|Led through 40 yrs of desert travel||Led through 25 yrs of conquering Canaan|
|Was a political, diplomatic leader||Was a military, in-your-face leader|
|Patiently listened to complaints||Confronted laziness and fear of the Enemy|
|Led people as a peace-making Shepherd||Led people as a tough Commander|
|Provided water from a rock when the People got thirty||Told 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……