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….