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The Life & Times Of Joshua

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By Pr. Paddick Van Zyl

Sep 2014

!The Life And Times of Joshua


In 1832. long before Abraham Lincoln became president he gathered a group of men to fight in the Black Hawk war. In those days the person that put together a volunteer company for the militia often became its leaders an assumed a commanding rank. Lincoln was give the rank of captain. But he had a slight problem in that he knew nothing about soldiering. No prior military experience. He had trouble remembering the procedures and commands used in the military. One day while marching some men across a filed, Lincoln had to guide them through a gate and he could not manage it: “I could not for the life of me remember the proper command for getting any company endwise” said Lincoln. He finally shouted :"This company is dismissed for two minutes, when it fall in again on the other side of the gate!” Over time his influence with the other militia decreased as did his rank. While others were proving themselves and being promoted, Lincoln began as a captain and ended up as a private at the end of this military career. Title and position did him little good. Over time and with experience though he became a great influence and a great leader.... #

God raised a leader, named Joshua who was very successful because he had the Spirit of God on him....


!!1-18 NKJV

God’s Commission to Joshua

1 After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, it came to pass that the LORD spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, saying:2 “Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them—the children of Israel. 3 Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses. 4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the River Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your territory. 5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

The Order to Cross the Jordan

10 Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, 11 “Pass through the camp and command the people, saying, ‘Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you will cross over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you to possess.’”

12 And to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh Joshua spoke, saying, 13 “Remember the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, saying, ‘The LORD your God is giving you rest and is giving you this land.’ 14 Your wives, your little ones, and your livestock shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side of the Jordan. But you shall pass before your brethren armed, all your mighty men of valor, and help them, 15 until the LORD has given your brethren rest, as Hegave you, and they also have taken possession of the land which the LORDyour God is giving them. Then you shall return to the land of your possession and enjoy it, which Moses the LORD’s servant gave you on this side of the Jordan toward the sunrise.”

16 So they answered Joshua, saying, “All that you command us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. 17 Just as we heeded Moses in all things, so we will heed you. Only the LORD your God be with you, as He was with Moses. 18 Whoever rebels against your command and does not heed your words, in all that you command him, shall be put to death. Only be strong and of good courage.”


!!*We meet Joshua (Hoshea) ,mention for the very first time, as leader of a voluntary army in Exodus:


9 And Moses said to Joshua, “Choose us some men and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand.”

!!*His name was Hoshea = Salvation but Moses changed it to Joshua = Yahweh (The Lord) is Salvation:


16 These are the names of the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Hoshea[a] the son of Nun, Joshua.

3-8 NKJV

3 So Moses sent them from the Wilderness of Paran according to the command of the LORD, all of them men who were heads of the children of Israel. 4 Now these were their names: from the tribe of Reuben, Shammua the son of Zaccur; 5 from the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat the son of Hori;6 from the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh; 7 from the tribe of Issachar, Igal the son of Joseph; 8 from the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea[a] the son of Nun;

!!* Moses turns over the leadership of leading the Israelites to Joshua officially:

7-13 NKJV

7 Then Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the LORD has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it. 8 And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”

9 So Moses wrote this law and delivered it to the priests, the sons of Levi, who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and to all the elders of Israel. 10 And Moses commanded them, saying: “At the end of every seven years, at the appointed time in the year of release, at the Feast of Tabernacles, 11 when all Israel comes to appear before the LORD your God in the place which He chooses, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing. 12 Gather the people together, men and women and little ones, and the stranger who is within your gates, that they may hear and that they may learn to fear the LORD your God and carefully observe all the words of this law, 13 and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God as long as you live in the land which you cross the Jordan to possess.”

!!*The future apostasy of the Israelites is announced in the presence of Joshua so that he will be aware of the danger/strive in his day to avert it and he does so too:


16 And the LORD said to Moses: “Behold, you will rest with your fathers; and this people will rise and play the harlot with the gods of the foreigners of the land, where they go to be among them, and they will forsake Me and break My covenant which I have made with them.


31 Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had known all the works of the LORD which He had done for Israel.

!!* Moses, while shaping young Joshua into a leader does what every excellent leader and mentor does: he encourages Joshua to lead God’s people:

28-29 NKJV

28 So Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, one of his choice men, answered and said, “Moses my lord, forbid them!”

29 Then Moses said to him, “Are you zealous for my sake? Oh, that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!”

!!* Joshua had the Spirit of God on him for the task of leadership:

18-23 NKJV

18 And the LORD said to Moses: “Take Joshua the son of Nun with you, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him; 19 set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation, and inaugurate him in their sight. 20 And you shall give some of your authority to him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient. 21 He shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire before the LORD for him by the judgment of the Urim. At his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, he and all the children of Israel with him—all the congregation.”

22 So Moses did as the LORD commanded him. He took Joshua and set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation. 23 And he laid his hands on him and inaugurated him, just as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses.

!!* Joshua and Caleb were the only ones to cross over to the promised land since they had faith and spoke of what God can do:

30-38 NKJV

30 Except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun, you shall by no means enter the land which I swore I would make you dwell in.31 But your little ones, whom you said would be victims, I will bring in, and they shall know the land which you have despised. 32 But as for you, your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness. 33 And your sons shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years, and bear the brunt of your infidelity, until your carcasses are consumed in the wilderness. 34 According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for each day you shall bear your guilt one year, namely forty years, and you shall know My rejection. 35 I the LORD have spoken this. I will surely do so to all this evil congregation who are gathered together against Me. In this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.’”

36 Now the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land, who returned and made all the congregation complain against him by bringing a bad report of the land, 37 those very men who brought the evil report about the land, died by the plague before the LORD. 38 But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh remained alive, of the men who went to spy out the land.

Robert E. Neighbour, in his "Wells of Living Water Commentary ## notes about Joshua:

1. Joshua's exaltation came after the death of Moses. The death of Moses took from among men one of earth's greatest noblemen, and one of Gods greatest generals. Some may have thought that the loss caused by Moses' death was irreparable. Not so. God always finds other men to fill in the great gaps. Luthers, and Savanarolas, and Calvins, and Wesleys, and Spurgeons, and Moodys may come, and they may go, but God always has in preparation others to take their places.

2. Joshua's exaltation came from servant to master. Is it not always true, "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much"?

Joshua, as Moses' minister, had proved faithful. He had, as a servant, learned much by way of leadership. In each menial task he had proved himself faithful and true,

3. Joshua's exaltation had come as a befitting reward. The Lord is not forgetful of our labors of love and patience. God knew how Joshua had, forty years before, brought back a good report of the land; God knew that Joshua had not been cowed by the Anakim who infested the land of promise.

Let us stop and think. Shall we not go with Christ outside the camp? Shall we not share with Him in His reproach, and bear with Him the bane of a mocking world? Shall we not serve Him with faithful heart? If we do, He will surely exalt us in due season. "If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him."


1. A promise given. To Joshua God said, "There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life." The Lord was transferring to Joshua His power. Does not our Lord do the same toward us? Has He not said, "All power (authority) is given unto Me in Heaven and in earth. Go, and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world"?

2. A good courage urged. This may seem strange. Was not Joshua always of good courage? Was it not because of his courage and valor that he was now being commissioned as Israel's leader? When all the spies but two had returned a bad report to the people, Joshua, in the fire of his faith, had said, "We are abundantly able to go up and possess the land."

Joshua was about to step into a place of responsibility and under burdens such as he had never known.

God knew that Joshua might well have trembled before this new and added responsibility. Joshua had more than once seen Moses almost in despair. Joshua had heard Moses' plaintive cry to God, "I cannot bear this people alone." He had known of many a time when Moses, mighty man that he was, had well nigh slipped under the tremendous weight of a disobedient and rebellious people. Yes, Joshua the brave, and Joshua the valiant, needed just the encouragement that God was giving him.


1. The strong and stalwart need the blessings of the Book. We might have thought that Joshua could paddle his own canoe, and hoe his own row. Not so. Joshua could not afford to fail in building upon the inerrant Law of God, The "Word" was to be constantly in Joshua's mouth; it was to be ever the burden of his meditations. By day and by night he was to be saturated with the "Law."

2. The leader of the people needed himself to be guided by the Word. Joshua was to study the Word in order that he might observe to do according to all that was written therein.

God seemed to be telling Joshua that in doing the Word he would never be in danger of acting contrary to God's Word. God never says one thing in His Word, and another thing by His voice, or vision. Remember, if any speak contrary to the Word, there is no truth in them. Our constant cry should be Back to the Law and the Testimony.

3. Joshua was promised prosperity and success through obedience to the Law. God said, "Then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success." True success and prosperity as God reckons it, is that which is achieved alone by knowing and doing the Law. We need to learn this secret.

Joshua was indeed a leader among leaders and obeyed the Word of God and made sure that he walked and led and lived in the fear of the Lord.



Joshua proved God's clock, and in the moment that the clock struck he led Israel out "' There is a clock with which Providence keepeth time and pace, and God Himself getteth it.' So that everything happens with Divine punctuality. Israel came out of Egypt on the self-same night in which the redemption was appointed, and afterwards wandered in the wilderness till the hour had come when the iniquity of the Amorites was full. Our time is always come, for we are in selfish haste; but our Lord when on earth had His set times and knew how to wait for them. The great God is never before His time, and never too late. We may well admire the punctuality of Heaven. Our trials come in due season, and go at the apointed moment Our fretfulness will neither hasten nor delay the purpose of our God. We are in hot haste to set the world right, and to order all affairs: the Lord hath the leisure of conscious power and unerring wisdom, and it will be well for us to learn to wait. The clock will not strike till the hour; but when the instant cometh we shall hear the bell. My soul, trust thou in God, and wait patiently when He says, 'My time is not yet come.' "


God is seeking leaders in whom His Spirit dwells, leaders that re not afraid to stand up and be counted, leaders that will take stand and lead their families and communities in the fear of the Lord. Are you such a leader?

Let’s pray....


#Taken From: The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You By John Maxwell p19-20

## Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary

### Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary 1#joshua 1

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