Joshua's name means "Jehovah is salvation." Like the other Israelites, he had been born into slavery in the land of Egypt.
Joshua's Faith Helped Him Serve God's Servant
Joshua was empowered and commissioned by God to succeed Moses after Moses' death (Deuteronomy 31:23; Joshua 1:5). But before Joshua was an exemplary leader, he was first a faithful follower. As an aide and companion to Moses, he was able to observe this great servant of God day after day and learn from him.
Joshua's Faith Helped Him Stand for Truth and Receive the Promise
Joshua was one of the 12 men Moses sent to explore the Promised Land. He and Caleb were the only spies who believed God's promise and urged the Israelites to trust God and take possession of the land. In response, the people talked of stoning them, but God intervened (Numbers 14:7-10).
Because Joshua had stood with Caleb when all Israel refused to trust the Lord and obey Him, these two men alone would be spared from dying in the desert with all the Israelites who were 20 years of age and older (Numbers 14:30).
Joshua's Faith Demonstrated God's Power
When Joshua succeeded Moses after Moses' death, he realized that the responsibility for fulfilling God's promises and making the Israelites victorious did not rest on him, but on the Lord (Deuteronomy 31:3,23; Joshua 1:2). When the two spies he had sent to Jericho returned and said, "The Lord has surely given the whole land into our hands" (Joshua 2:24), Joshua told the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you" (Joshua 3:5).*
The next day the waters of the Jordan stopped flowing and piled up in a heap, so that the people of Israel could cross (Joshua 3). Then God miraculously delivered Jericho into the hands of the Israelites, just as He had promised. Joshua ordered the people to burn the entire city and everything in it (Joshua 6).
Joshua's Faith Helped Him Overcome Defeat
When Achan disobeyed the Lord and kept some valuable items from Jericho, God allowed the Israelites to suffer defeat at Ai. Joshua sought God, and then carried out His command to destroy what Achan had stolen and put Achan to death. The Israelites were discouraged and fearful after suffering defeat, but Joshua reassured them that God would be with them and give them the city--and He did (Joshua 8).
Joshua's Faith Made Him Victorious
When the five Amorite kings and their armies attacked Gibeon, which had a treaty with the Israelites, Joshua consulted the Lord. In obedience, he and the Israelite army took the Amorites by surprise, and the Lord threw their enemies into confusion. The Lord hurled large hailstones down on the Amorites, killing more than the Israelite army killed. God even made the sun stop in the middle of the sky and delay going down about a full day, so that the Israelites could completely defeat their enemies (Joshua 10).
Joshua's Faith Demonstrated Steadfastness and Courage
Joshua courageously led the Israelites in conquering many cities. But before they went to battle, he inquired of the Lord. Then he was careful to follow the Lord's commands. "As the Lord commanded his servant Moses, so Moses commanded Joshua, and Joshua did it; he left nothing undone of all that the Lord commanded Moses" (Joshua 11:15). "Joshua took the entire land, just as the Lord had directed Moses, and he gave it as an inheritance to Israel" (11:23).
Joshua's Faith Showed That God Kept His Promises
God had promised the Israelites the land of Canaan and had promised that they would defeat all their enemies. Joshua told the people, "The Lord your God himself will drive them out of your way. He will push them out before you, and you will take possession of their land, as the Lord your God promised" (23:5). Joshua's faith inspired the people and helped them to courageously fight and take possession of the land.
Joshua's Faith Called the People to Decision
Joshua told the people that they must be careful to obey God, without turning aside to the right or left (23:6). He urged them to hold fast to the Lord and to love Him with all their hearts. "Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve . . . . But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord" (24:15).
"Israel served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua" (24:31).
Joshua believed God's promises and courageously stood in spite of opposition. We have also been given "great and precious promises" (2 Peter 1:4). God wants us to be strong in Him when we find ourselves in a minority of people who want to obey Him and live according to His rules.
Joshua was a mighty warrior for God. As believers, we are engaged in a great spiritual war. Ephesians 6:10-18 lists the spiritual weapons at our disposal. Just as God enabled Joshua to be successful in battle, He will also enable us to triumph as we continue to put our trust in Him and obey His commands.
Joshua's steadfast example and witness brought the Israelites to a point of decision. Our lives should be a witness to God's holiness, righteousness, and trustworthiness.
© by Nancy A. Stevens
* All Scripture verses are from the Holy Bible, New International Version®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.