Scriptures

4. Joshua, Quite A Character

Introduction

By Walter Jones

‘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…So Joshua took the entire land, just as the LORD had directed Moses, and he gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal divisions. Then the land had rest from war.’ (Joshua 11:15, 23 NIV)

Joshua is one of the most impressive characters in all Scripture. He came out of adverse circumstances, was apprenticed to a great leader, and carried out his mission completely.

Questions for Discussion

1. People generally reflect those they are associated with. How do you reflect those that you associate with?

2. How would you describe the Hebrews that Joshua was associated with while in Egypt, and then in the Sinai desert?

3. We are introduced to Joshua in Exodus 17

‘Moses said to Joshua, ‘Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.’ So, Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So, Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.’ Exodus 17:9-13

a. What qualities does he immediately present to us in this chapter?

4. After Joshua defeated the Amalekites he could have felt like a hero. This could have been so particularly because Joshua didn’t just lead the battle, he actually fought with his own sword in the battle (Exodus 17:13).

‘Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven.’ Exodus 17:14

Do you think God commanded Moses to do what it says in Exodus 17:14 for Joshua’s sake?

‘Then Moses set out with Joshua his aide, and Moses went up on the mountain of God.’ Exodus 24:13

‘Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ aide since youth, spoke up and said, ‘Moses, my lord, stop them!’ Numbers 11:28

5. How is Joshua described in Exodus 24:13 and Numbers 11:28? What does an apprentice/assistant do?

6. Joshua was clearly a man of strong character. He was also a man of great authority who commanded tremendous respect as Israel’s military commander. But perhaps his greatest quality was his faith in God.

‘Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes.’ Numbers 14:6

How is this illustrated in Numbers 14:6?

7. This was a pivotal time in Israel’s history. Because all the people, except Joshua and Caleb, didn’t have faith in God’s promises they were unable to possess the Promised Land. Because of Joshua and Caleb’s faith in God and His promises, they were the only two people who left Egypt and then received their share of the Promised Land. Faith isn’t faith unless it’s tested. Faith isn’t pure unless patience is involved (Hebrews 6:12).

‘For the LORD had told those Israelites they would surely die in the wilderness, and not one of them was left except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.’ Numbers 26:65

‘Not one except Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua son of Nun, for they followed the LORD wholeheartedly.’ The LORD’s anger burned against Israel and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until the whole generation of those who had done evil in his sight was gone.’ Numbers 32:12-13

In what ways can we see that Joshua’s faith was strong?

8. Joshua’s apprenticeship culminated in his appointment as Israel’s leader. This was done when Moses publicly laid his hands on him and imparted the necessary authority and gifts to lead.

‘So, the LORD said to Moses, ‘Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit of leadership, and lay your hand on him. Have him stand before Eleazar the priest and the entire assembly and commission him in their presence. Give him some of your authority so the whole Israelite community will obey him. He is to stand before Eleazar the priest, who will obtain decisions for him by inquiring of the Urim before the LORD. At his command he and the entire community of the Israelites will go out, and at his command they will come in.’ Moses did as the LORD commanded him. He took Joshua and had him stand before Eleazar the priest and the whole assembly. Then he laid his hands on him and commissioned him, as the LORD instructed through Moses.’ Numbers 27:18-23

‘Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. So, the Israelites listened to him and did what the LORD had commanded Moses.’ Deuteronomy 34:9

Moses could have felt like ‘yesterday’s man’ after he appointed and commissioned Joshua. He could have even felt threatened about Joshua’s leadership.

‘But your assistant, Joshua son of Nun, will enter it. Encourage him, because he will lead Israel to inherit it.’ Deuteronomy 1:38

‘But commission Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he will lead this people across and will cause them to inherit the land that you will see.’ Deuteronomy 3:28

But what does God command Moses to do in Deuteronomy 1:38 and 3:28 that prevented Moses from feeling this way?

9. Even though Moses did this, we get the impression that Joshua was still apprehensive.

‘Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, ‘Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the LORD swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance.’ Deuteronomy 31:7

‘The LORD gave this command to Joshua son of Nun: ‘Be strong and courageous, for you will bring the Israelites into the land I promised them on oath, and I myself will be with you.’ Deuteronomy 31:23

‘Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land, I swore to their ancestors to give them.’ Joshua 1:6

‘Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.’ Joshua 1:9

Based on the above Scriptures, how might Joshua have been feeling, and why?

‘Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.’ Joshua 1:8

10. What did God command him in Joshua 1:8?

‘Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.’ Joshua 1:9

What promise came with obedience? (v.9)

‘So, Joshua ordered the officers of the people: ‘Go through the camp and tell the people, ‘Get your provisions ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the LORD your God is giving you for your own.’ Joshua 1:10-11

11. What did Joshua command the people to do in Joshua 1:10-11? What was his message to the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh? ‘Then they answered Joshua,

‘Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go.’ Joshua 1:16

What was the response of the people according to Joshua 1:16?

12. Joshua only slipped up twice during his entire leadership.

‘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

‘So, Joshua took the entire land, just as the LORD had directed Moses, and he gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal divisions. Then the land had rest from war’ Joshua 11:23

The statements in Joshua 11:15 and verse 23 reinforce God’s grace. Despite these slip-ups, Joshua still achieved all that God had appointed him to do. He led the most faithful and obedient generation of Hebrews in the whole history of Israel. Surely, this supports the premise that eventually people reflect their leaders.

Moses was initially reluctant to serve God and displayed an erratic temperament, and this can be seen in the people of that generation as well. But Joshua was submitted, faithful, teachable, and totally obedient, and this too can be seen in the people that followed him.

13. What practical lessons do you believe we can draw from the life of Joshua for our own lives?

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart."

Psalm 37:4

MENU