1. Joshua, Stepping Up To Take Moses' Place
I just finished reading the book of Numbers, and as we begin a new devotional theme, I want to look at these verses.
"12 And the LORD said unto Moses, Get thee up into this mount Abarim, and see the land which I have given unto the children of Israel.
13 And when thou hast seen it, thou also shalt be gathered unto thy people, as Aaron thy brother was gathered...
15 And Moses spake unto the LORD, saying,
16 Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation,
17 Which may go out before them, and which may go in before them, and which may lead them out, and which may bring them in; that the congregation of the LORD be not as sheep which have no shepherd." (Numbers 27:12-17)
Moses knew it was his time to go, and he was concerned over The Children of Israel. He wanted to know that God had someone ready to take his place. Moses was a great leader, and we could spend weeks talking about his attributes, but I feel that God is leading me to look at Joshua, the one God chose to follow Moses. It would have been hard on anyone to follow Moses as the leader of such a great people, but God had a man ready. Let's look in God's Word and find out more about this man.
2. Joshua Leads, And God Gives The Victory
To begin our study on Joshua, let's look back to the first mention of his name in the scriptures.
"8 Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim.
9 And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand.
10 So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.
11 And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.
12 But Moses' hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.
13 And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.
14 And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: ..." (Exodus 17:8-10)
God delivered The Children of Israel out of Egypt, and drowned the Egyptians in the Red Sea. But, it was not long before they had more battles to fight. Moses told Joshua to lead them in the battle, and they had a great victory. This is the first time we see Joshua, but we see in verse 14 that God is already preparing him for His work. God wants Joshua to remember that He was the reason for their victory. We also have battles in our Christian journey. There are times when God may say, "Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD" (Exodus 14:13) as He did at the Red Sea, but there are other times when we have to take a stand and fight for what's right. Either way, we need to put our faith in God, and trust Him for the victory.
3. Joshua - A Minister To Moses
After God used Joshua to bring victory over Amalek he went from being a military leader to becoming Moses' minister. I believe he waited on the needs of Moses in much the same way as Elisha helped Elijah. (In II Kings 3:11 Elisha was described as "... Elisha the son of Shaphat, which poured water on the hands of Elijah.") Joshua was such a help to Moses that he went up to Mount Sinai with Moses.
"12 And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.
13 And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God.
14 And he said unto the elders, Tarry ye here for us, until we come again unto you: and, behold, Aaron and Hur are with you: if any man have any matters to do, let him come unto them.
15 And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount.
16 And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.
17 And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.
18 And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights." (Exodus 24:12-18)
I have never thought about Joshua being with Moses on Mount Sinai, but Moses said, "Tarry ye here for us, until we come again unto you..." And Joshua was still with Moses as he came down from the mount forty days later. (Exodus 32:17) I think Joshua saw and heard the glory of God just as Moses did. As God was using Moses to be a great leader, He was also preparing Joshua for his service to come. I believe that serving God's preachers and leaders not only helps them, but it also helps us grow closer to the Lord. And it does not make us less of a person to be a servant or worker, but it can help prepare us for the service God has planned for us.
4. Joshua Saw Moses Break The Tables Of Stone
Yesterday we closed with Moses and Joshua on top of Mount Sinai. After God gave Moses The Ten Commandments, He told Moses that the people had made a molten calf and had worshiped it and He was going to destroy them. Moses pleaded with God for the lives of the people and started down the mountain.
"15 And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written.
16 And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.
17 And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp.
18 And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear.
19 And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses' anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.
20 And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it." (Exodus 32:15-20)
Joshua went from being on the mountain top with God and His leader, to probably the lowest valley he had faced. He heard God declare the commandments and saw that the people had broken the very first one, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." (Exodus 20:3) He saw the great sin of the people and he watched in horror as Moses threw down the tables of stone written by God. Joshua learned that he could not put his faith in the people around him, and that he could not even put his faith in his leader. When we place someone up in a hero position, it makes it harder on us to watch them fail. Yes, we are to serve others, and lift them up in prayer and honor, but we must keep our faith in God and remember that we are all capable of breaking His commandments.
5. Joshua Learned To Obey God, Instead Of The People
We are continuing our scriptures today from where we left off yesterday.
"21 And Moses said unto Aaron, What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them?
22 And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my lord wax hot: thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief.
23 For they said unto me, Make us gods, which shall go before us: for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.
24 And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf." (Exodus 32:21-24)
This is the same Aaron that went with Moses to Pharaoh and saw the mighty miracles of God in Egypt. This is the same Aaron that went up on Mount Sinai and saw God. "Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness." (Exodus 24:9-10) This is the same Aaron that Moses left in charge, with Hur, while he and Joshua were with God on Mount Sinai. "And he said unto the elders, Tarry ye here for us, until we come again unto you: and, behold, Aaron and Hur are with you: if any man have any matters to do, let him come unto them." (Exodus 24:14) Aaron knew God. Aaron offered sacrifices and worshiped God. But one day he listened to the voice of the people and it cost the lives of three thousand men. (Exodus 32:28) Joshua learned that day to obey God, rather than man and also he learned that disobedience to God's Word always comes with a price.
6. Joshua Learned Of The Love Moses Had For His People
As we continue with our study of Joshua, today we see the love Moses had for his people.
"31 And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold.
32 Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.
33 And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.
34 Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them.
35 And the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made." (Exodus 32:31-35)
Many times in the Bible we see God's men going before God as mediators between God and His children. But, this is the strongest prayer request I have ever known. Moses was willing to be blotted out of the Book of Life for his people. We see Moses' account of this and also why Aaron was spared when the three thousand were killed, in Deuteronomy 9:18-20.
"18 And I fell down before the LORD, as at the first, forty days and forty nights: I did neither eat bread, nor drink water, because of all your sins which ye sinned, in doing wickedly in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.
19 For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure, wherewith the LORD was wroth against you to destroy you. But the LORD hearkened unto me at that time also.
20 And the LORD was very angry with Aaron to have destroyed him: and I prayed for Aaron also the same time."
Joshua learned that a leader must have love for his followers. He learned to go to God in prayer for the people. And he also learned that God's leaders sometimes have to sacrifice themselves, so to speak, for the lives of their people. I can't end without thanking God for His great love in sacrificing His only begotten Son to give me forgiveness of all my sin. I am also thankful that Christ is at the right hand of God and He makes intercession for us. (Romans 8:34)
7. Joshua Learned To Wait On The Lord
Joshua is still learning. Today we see him learning to wait on the Lord.
"7 And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, that every one which sought the LORD went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp.
8 And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto the tabernacle, that all the people rose up, and stood every man at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle.
9 And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the LORD talked with Moses.
10 And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man in his tent door.
11 And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle." (Exodus 33:7-11)
God had given Moses instructions for the tabernacle while he was on Mount Sinai, and the people gave what they had and worked hard to make it by His specifications. Can't you hear the people saying one to another, "Look, there goes Moses, out to the tabernacle." When he walked by, they stood in their tent doors and watched him until he went into the tabernacle. Those who sought the Lord also went out to the tabernacle. Did you notice the role of Joshua in our story? Joshua stayed in the tabernacle. The people came and went. Moses came and went. But, Joshua "departed not out of the tabernacle." We saw earlier how Joshua waited with Moses for 40 days and nights on Mount Sinai. We are not told how long Joshua waited in the tabernacle, we are only told that he "departed not out of the tabernacle". Sometimes we may fight battles and have great victories like Joshua. Other times we may serve God, by serving others. But sometimes in our lives God wants us to learn to wait on Him. And there is no greater place to wait, than at the altar of our Lord.
8. Joshua Learned Not To Be Jealous Of Others Serving The Lord
In our lesson today Joshua learns not to be jealous of others who are serving the Lord. I dare say that most of us could use this lesson today. I go to church with some great Christian people. They are loving and faithful to serve the Lord. We are led by a wonderful pastor, who preaches God's Word and cares for his little flock. I love our church, but often I wish that we had more members. I see the large churches and it is hard for me not to be jealous of their crowds. There are other times, when I hear how well others play the piano and sing, and that little spark of jealousy wants to rise up inside and tell me that I should step back and let them do it all. Look at these verses in Numbers 11:24-29.
"24 And Moses went out, and told the people the words of the LORD, and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the tabernacle.
25 And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.
26 But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp.
27 And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp.
28 And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them.
29 And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD'S people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!"
Joshua was jealous for Moses, but Moses was not jealous at all. Numbers 12:3 tells us, "(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)" He wished that the Lord would put His spirit on all the people. We should not be jealous of others who are serving the Lord even when God seems to be blessing them more. We should praise the Lord when we hear of people being saved at other churches. We can also see this on a personal level. When Jesus told the parable of the talents in Matthew 25, He said that one servant was given five talents, one two talents, and one servant was given only one talent. We should use our talents and what the Lord gives us for His glory and not focus on what others are given. Paul's first letter to the Corinthian church talks about the different gifts of the Spirit that are given to individuals. We should not be jealous of those who may have the greater gifts, but use the gifts we are given to serve the Lord.
9. Joshua And The Lessons In Review
Joshua's lessons today are reviews of what the Lord has been teaching him in preparing him to lead the people. The Lord told Moses to send twelve spies into the land of Canaan, one from each tribe. You may remember that they told of the fruitful land, but ten of the men brought an evil report of the giants of the land, and only Joshua and Caleb tried to convince the people that God would help them go in and possess the land.
"5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel.
6 And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes:
7 And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land.
8 If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey.
9 Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.
10 But all the congregation bade stone them with stones. And the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel." (Numbers 14:5-10)
Joshua may have wondered why Aaron listened to the voice of the people, but he sees here that it is hard to stand with God, when the multitudes are against you. They wanted to stone Moses, Aaron, Caleb, and Joshua! He learned that even though he and Caleb wanted to go forward with God, they had to wander in the wilderness for forty years, for the sin of the people. There are many Christians standing for what's right in America today, but I am afraid that we will also have to pay the price for the sin of others. Joshua was reminded that sometimes when you do the right thing, it gets worse before it gets better. He was a young man in Egypt when Moses went before Pharaoh and he knew that their lives got worse before they were delivered. They were not given straw to make the brick, and were beaten when they could not keep up their work. We might also see this in our lives when we speak up for the cause of right, and things get worse instead of better. Another lesson that Joshua was reminded of is that you don't always get a second chance. When Jonah ran from the will of God and was swallowed by the whale, he got another chance to preach to Nineveh. In the next few chapters Moses will disobey God at the rock of Meribah and smite the rock instead of speaking to the rock. He will not get a second chance to do the right thing and he will not get to go into the land of Canaan. In our story today, the people refused to go into Canaan and God told them they would wander in the wilderness for forty years until they all die and their children will inherit the land. They change their minds and say they will go and fight, but they don't get a second chance. The last lesson I see that Joshua was reminded of is that you can't fight battles without the Lord. He knew that God was with him when he fought against Amalek in Exodus 17. But look at the results when you go into battle without the Lord.
"40 And they rose up early in the morning, and gat them up into the top of the mountain, saying, Lo, we be here, and will go up unto the place which the LORD hath promised: for we have sinned.
41 And Moses said, Wherefore now do ye transgress the commandment of the LORD? but it shall not prosper.
42 Go not up, for the LORD is not among you; that ye be not smitten before your enemies.
43 For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and ye shall fall by the sword: because ye are turned away from the LORD, therefore the LORD will not be with you.
44 But they presumed to go up unto the hill top: nevertheless the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and Moses, departed not out of the camp.
45 Then the Amalekites came down, and the Canaanites which dwelt in that hill, and smote them, and discomfited them, even unto Hormah." (Numbers 14:40-45)
10. Joshua, A Spirit Filled Leader
We have followed the life of Joshua during the past week and now we have come to the death of Moses. Moses shows his love and concern for the people in asking the Lord to choose a man to take his place so they will not be "as sheep which have no shepherd." We have seen several stories of Joshua as an Army General, a servant, a minister waiting on Moses, and a courageous spy who had faith that God would lead them into the land of Canaan. The greatest mention in the life of Joshua thus far is in the description that God used, "a man in whom is the spirit". Do we live such a Spirit filled life that God wants to choose us to serve Him in a special way? Are you a chosen vessel that God can use for His glory and honor?
"15 And Moses spake unto the LORD, saying,
16 Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation,
17 Which may go out before them, and which may go in before them, and which may lead them out, and which may bring them in; that the congregation of the LORD be not as sheep which have no shepherd.
18 And the LORD said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him;
19 And set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight.
20 And thou shalt put some of thine honour upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient.
21 And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the LORD: at his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation.
22 And Moses did as the LORD commanded him: and he took Joshua, and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation:
23 And he laid his hands upon him, and gave him a charge, as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses." (Numbers 27:15-23)
11. Joshua, Encouraged By Moses
God told Moses to encourage Joshua, first in Deuteronomy 1:38, and again in 3:28. The children of Israel are ready to go into the Promised Land and Moses wants to finish the journey he began 40 years before. Deuteronomy 34:7 tells us, "And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated." Moses had the ability to continue to lead the people. His heart's desire was to go into the Promised Land, but God had already told Moses he could not lead them in because he disobeyed when he struck the rock when God told him to speak to the rock. He is asking God again to let him go in, and God tells him (just as parents often tell their children) not to ask again. The role of leadership is passing from Moses to Joshua, and God said, "charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him..." Imagine you are in Moses' place. You have been in a role of leadership for many years. You still have the ability to continue your work. Now, you come to the peak of your career, and you are told you must hand your job over to someone else. What are the feelings you have towards that new, younger person taking your place? You did the hard work. You put in the long hours. Now it has all been taken from you. What does Moses do? God tells him to encourage and strengthen Joshua. God has a lesson for us here. God wants us to encourage those who follow in our footsteps. Don't harbor hard feelings against those who take your place. Encourage them. Pray for them and keep trusting the Lord to lead you in the right path.
"23 And I besought the LORD at that time, saying,
24 O Lord GOD, thou hast begun to shew thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand: for what God is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works, and according to thy might?
25 I pray thee, let me go over, and see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Lebanon.
26 But the LORD was wroth with me for your sakes, and would not hear me: and the LORD said unto me, Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter.
27 Get thee up into the top of Pisgah, and lift up thine eyes westward, and northward, and southward, and eastward, and behold it with thine eyes: for thou shalt not go over this Jordan.
28 But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him: for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see." (Deuteronomy 3:23-28)
12. Encouragement For Success
We saw yesterday how God told Moses to encourage Joshua and how we should encourage our successors. Today, put yourself in Joshua's place. Moses, the great leader, has died. What does the Word say about Moses? "And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face," (Deuteronomy 34:10) How would you feel following in those footsteps? Moses had tried to encourage Joshua. More than that, the Lord God encouraged Joshua. Look at the promises, "Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses... There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of a good courage:.. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest." And then, we find the only time in the King James Bible the word "success" is used. "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success." Do you want success as you face the challenges that come along your way? Let me encourage you today with these words on how to have a prosperous and successful way. Stay in the Word of God. Read and meditate day and night. Follow and obey God's commands. That's the way to true success!
"1 Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying,
2 Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.
3 Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.
4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast.
5 There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
6 Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.
7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.
8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest." (Joshua 1:1-9)
13. Be Strong And Of Good Courage
“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” Joshua 1:9
As I was reading the first chapter in Joshua I noticed these words over and over, "Be strong and of a good courage..." Verse 6 begins, "Be strong and of a good courage..." Verse 7 begins, "Only be thou strong and very courageous..." God also promises in verse 5, "...I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee." What a wonderful promise! Moses had said these words to Joshua just before he died. "Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the LORD hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it." (Deuteronomy 31:6-7) Again in Deuteronomy 31:23 "And he gave Joshua the son of Nun a charge, and said, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou shalt bring the children of Israel into the land which I sware unto them: and I will be with thee." When I see the words, "be strong" I first think of physical strength, or outward strength and I think of courage as inward strength. The Lord also gives us spiritual strength with His promise never to leave us or forsake us. David also reminds us that the Lord is our strength and courage in Psalm 27. "The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear: the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?... Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD." (Psalm 27:1 & 14) Through Christ we can find the strength and courage to walk day by day in these troubled times.
14. The Scarlet Thread
Joshua sent two spies into Jericho and Rahab hid them and helped them down the wall by a scarlet cord. In return, they promised to save her and her household if she put the scarlet cord in the window when their army came into the city. "Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father's household, home unto thee. And it shall be, that whosoever shall go out of the doors of thy house into the street, his blood shall be upon his head, and we will be guiltless: and whosoever shall be with thee in the house, his blood shall be on our head, if any hand be upon him." (Joshua 2:18-19) Today I want to tell you that the only way we can find safety and salvation is by the scarlet thread that has stretched down through the ages. In the days of Joshua the people had to offer up sacrifices to cover their sin. "For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission." (Hebrews 9:19-22) Man could not keep the law so Christ came to be our sacrifice. "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." (Hebrews 9:27-28) Jesus stretched out His hands and let them nail Him to the cross to give His life for you and me. He died and rose again the third day giving victory over death to all who believe on Him. If you don't know how to be saved from the judgment of your sin, I can happily explain it as easy as A, B, C. A tells us to Admit that we are sinners and can't save ourselves. "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God;" (Romans 3:23) "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23) B tells us to Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and C tells us to Confess. "That is thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation... For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:9, 10 & 13) Jesus shed His precious blood so many years ago, but that scarlet thread has stretched down through time with power to save whosoever will believe. Won't you believe today? "For God so loved the world, he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
15. Crossing Over Jordan
"And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the LORD will do wonders among you. And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people. And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people. And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee." Joshua 1:5-7
We talked about how Joshua must have felt, when Moses died and he was chosen to lead the Children of Israel into the land of Canaan. Notice the words of Joshua as they prepare to cross over the Jordan River. "Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the LORD will do wonders among you." We read this story and think of it as just another miracle in the lives of the Israelites. I believe there is great significance in the crossing of Jordan, not only for Joshua and the Children of Israel, but for the inhabitants of the land of Canaan. Do you remember what Rahab told the spies in Jericho? "And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt;..." (Joshua 2:9-10) They heard about the crossing of the Red Sea. That happened 40 years before, yet it still brought fear to their enemies. Then I think about the Children of Israel. Most of the people who had crossed the Red Sea had died in the wilderness. Because of their unbelief and disobedience, all of the adults who crossed the Red Sea died except for Joshua and Caleb. When the waters of the Jordan River stood up in a heap for the people to cross over, this proved to the people that the same God who led their parents across the Red Sea still had power to lead them across the Jordan River. God also used this to magnify Joshua in the sight of the people. I believe everyone around, from A to Z, heard of this mighty miracle. "And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,) That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho. And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan." (Joshua 3:15-17) They passed "clean over Jordan". It's time for us to pass "clean over" into the Promised Land. Many Christians today don't live a clean, separated life. They enjoy living close to the world. Let's determine in our hearts to leave the world behind and follow God. Only then can we look for the Lord to do wonders among us.
16. The Captain Of The Lord's Host
“And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant? And the captain of the LORD'S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.” Joshua 5:13-15
The Children of Israel crossed over Jordan on dry ground and camped in the plains of Gilgal, the plains of Jericho. (Joshua 5:10) Joshua was, no doubt, thinking about the battle they were getting ready to encounter. The first mention we had of Joshua was in the battle against Amalek, in Exodus 17. Moses had "rehearsed" it over and over to Joshua, how the Lord helped them win that battle. Now, Joshua is ready to go to battle again. Moses, the great leader, is gone. Aaron, who held up the hands of Moses during that great battle is gone. In fact, Joshua and Caleb are the only ones still living who were old enough to fight in that battle. Do you think Joshua feels lonely? Do you think he feels a little overwhelmed? Do you think he feels old? It's been 40 years since he fought in that battle. Joshua 4:13 tells us that his army of about 40,000 crossed over Jordan, but they have been wandering in the wilderness for 40 years. I don't know that they have ever seen battle. I don't think it is just coincidence that Moses kept telling Joshua over and over, "Be strong and of good courage" as we talked about earlier. Maybe Joshua is thinking of how Moses talked face to face with God. Moses was a special Spiritual leader of God's people. We don't know what Joshua was thinking as he looked at the great walled city of Jericho. Was he wondering how they would ever get beyond the walls? We don't know, but God knew. The Lord knew just what Joshua needed. "...behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come." Look at those last four little words, "...am I now come." Joshua has been waiting for the Lord to show him how to fight the battle, and now the Lord has come. Just when we need Him most, the Lord comes. When we face our strongest battles, the Lord comes. Then Joshua worshipped. He may have been thinking how special Moses was that God talked with him, but the Lord of Hosts told Joshua, "Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy." This is such a perfect picture of the loving care of our Lord. He knew just what Joshua needed and He came at just the right time.
"Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in. And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour. And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days. And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams' horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him." Joshua 6:1-5
If you grew up in church you have may have heard this story a hundred times. You may have sung songs about Joshua and the walls of Jericho. We may become so familiar with these great Bible stories that we lose our amazement over the power of God on people, ordinary people just like you and me. We sometimes use the term Bible characters, but these were actual men and women and not super heros. We had a missionary at our church once who had been in a tribe that had never heard Bible stories. He said they sat with wonder over every word as he began teaching them about God and the creation. Turn in your Bible to the 6th chapter of Joshua. Read this story like you were reading it for the first time. Imagine the people of Jericho as they watch from the wall. They see an army of 40,000 march around the city in silence and then return to their camp. This went on for six days, and then on the seventh day the army kept marching around and around the city. Now, think about Rahab's family. They have been hiding in Rahab's house, hoping that they will be kept safe, as promised. Now, suppose you are one of the young men in Joshua's army. This is not your typical war strategy. This is an amazing story. Keep reading with us as we continue with stories like this through the book of Joshua.
18. Faith In The Battles
“And the LORD said unto Joshua, Fear not, neither be thou dismayed: take all the people of war with thee, and arise, go up to Ai: see, I have given into thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land:” Joshua 8:1
Joshua and the Children of Israel learned two valuable lessons when Achan sinned against the word of God and took the gold, silver, and garment from the ruins of Jericho. (Joshua 7) First they learned that they could not win the battle without the Lord's help. They also learned that the Lord would not help them when there was sin in the camp. Those are two truths that we would do good to remember. We can't fight the battles of this world on our own. We need the Lord. And we are told in Psalms 66:18 "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:" Now, moving on to chapter 8, the first verse (written above) is so similar to Joshua 6:2, "And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour." So many times in my life I have said things like, "I just don't see how we can afford another payment", or "I just don't see how we can do that." In times like that I need to trust in the Lord. Before both of these battles the Lord said, "See, I have given..." God wants us to "see" Him and we can only do that by trusting in Him. He has given us the greatest gift, the gift of salvation. Look at these words of promise in Romans 8:28, 31-32, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose... What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" Maybe today God is showing you Bible truth so you can "see". We need to see Jesus. Just as the people came to Philip so many years ago... "The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus." (John 12:21) When we see Jesus, He can give us faith through the battles of life.
19. The Word Of God
"And he wrote there upon the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he wrote in the presence of the children of Israel. And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, as well the stranger, as he that was born among them; half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel. And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law. There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them." Joshua 8:32-35
Joshua built an altar and then he read the Word to all the people. These people did not have their own precious copy of God's Word in their tents. The two things I notice in these verses is that Joshua "read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings..." We are not to pick and choose which part of God's Word to believe. We should accept all of God's Word. The second thing I notice is that it was read to all the people. It was read to the men and the women. We are told that it was read to the little ones, and even the "strangers" that lived among them. God's Word is good for everyone. John 3:16 invites "whosoever" to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." So, our thought is a simple one today... all the Word, for all the people.
20. The People Of Gibeon
"And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai, They did work wilily, and went and made as if they had been ambassadors, and took old sacks upon their asses, and wine bottles, old, and rent, and bound up; And old shoes and clouted upon their feet, and old garments upon them; and all the bread of their provision was dry and mouldy. And they went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and to the men of Israel, We be come from a far country: now therefore make ye a league with us. And the men of Israel said unto the Hivites, Peradventure ye dwell among us; and how shall we make a league with you? And they said unto Joshua, We are thy servants. And Joshua said unto them, Who are ye? and from whence come ye? And they said unto him, From a very far country thy servants are come because of the name of the LORD thy God: for we have heard the fame of him,... Wherefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spake to us, saying, Take victuals with you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say unto them, We are your servants: therefore now make ye a league with us. This our bread we took hot for our provision out of our houses on the day we came forth to go unto you; but now, behold, it is dry, and it is mouldy: And these bottles of wine, which we filled, were new; and, behold, they be rent: and these our garments and our shoes are become old by reason of the very long journey. And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD. And Joshua made peace with them, and made a league with them, to let them live: and the princes of the congregation sware unto them. And it came to pass at the end of three days after they had made a league with them, that they heard that they were their neighbours, and that they dwelt among them." Joshua 9:3-16
I used enough scripture to tell the story, but the verse that I think is most important in this chapter is verse 14. "And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD." The men of Gibeon did everything in their power to make it appear as though they lived very far away, so the Israelites would make peace with them. Sometimes situations arise in our lives that are not as they appear. Things don't always end up like we thought they would. We may look back on decisions in our lives with regret when we don't pray about them first. It is a good idea to begin each day in prayer that God will lead you and guide you in the right path.
21. When The Sun And Moon Stood Still
"Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel." Joshua 10:12-14
"The LORD fought for Israel." We read over and over in the book of Joshua how the Lord fought for Israel. The walls of Jericho fell down flat. The Lord rained down hailstones that killed more men than the Israelites did. Five armies went against Joshua at once and the Israelites were winning the battle. Joshua asked God to have the sun and moon stand still so they could continue on to victory. Verse 9 tells us, "Joshua therefore came unto them suddenly, and went up from Gilgal all night." The Israelite Army had moved through the land all night to meet the enemy suddenly. They fought all day and were winning the battle. When Joshua prayed for the sun and moon to stand still, another day was added. Not only did God give them the victory over their enemies, but he had to give them the energy and strength to stay in the battle. Often when we are in our hardest battles the days seem to last longer than ever. During the trials of life time seems to stand still as we try to wait out the storm. We would prefer that our good days last twice as long, but as they say, "Time flies when you're having fun." It's the hard difficult days that seem to go so slow. That's when God gives us strength to carry on, as we read in Psalms 46:1. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." God does not always take us out of the storm; sometimes He just gives us the strength to go through the storms.
22. Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod
“There was none of the Anakims left in the land of the children of Israel: only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod, there remained. So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD said unto Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. And the land rested from war.” Joshua 11:22 & 23
Chapter 11 continues with the victorious battles in the land of Canaan. But, when we get to the end of the chapter we see that the Israelites did not have complete victory in Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod. God told the children of Israel to destroy the Anakims in Deuteronomy 9:1-4, not for their righteousness, but “for the wickedness of these nations the LORD doth drive them out from before thee.” Again in Deuteronomy 12:2 we read, “Ye shall utterly destroy all the places, wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their gods…” The Israelites did as the Lord commanded except in Gaza, Gath, and in Ashdod. How did this affect the children of Israel? Samson went to Gaza and met Delilah. She tricked him and he lost the power of God and was bound and blinded by the Philistines. (Judges 16) We can see that there is war in Gaza to this day just by reading the newspaper. In I Samuel 17 we read the story of David and the giant, Goliath, who came from Gath. And in I Samuel 5 the Philistines took the Ark of the Covenant and put it in the house of Dagon in Ashdod. Incomplete obedience can cause pain and problems in our lives as well. Our text ends, “And the land rested from war.” But, their failure to wholly follow God, brought war and sorrow later on. Obedience is not only following the “thou shalt not” commands of God, but there are also “thou shalt” commands. “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17) We need to follow the Word of God to the fullest extent.
23. Growing Old
“Now Joshua was old and stricken in years and the LORD said unto him, Thou art old and stricken in years, and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed.” Joshua 13:1
Now, when the Lord tells you that you are old, you know that you are old. I think this verse is funny. Joshua was old, and the Lord told him he was old. The last time I went to the eye doctor and told him my eyes were worse and I needed new glasses, he told me that my worsening eyesight comes with birthdays. That was his polite way to tell me my eyesight was getting worse because I was getting older. We may see someone who looks like he is a hundred years old, but unless we are under 6 years old, we don't usually tell him that he is old. Joshua 11:18 tells us, "Joshua made war a long time with all those kings." Our first mention of Joshua was in the battle against Amalek when God gave them the victory as Aaron and Hur held Moses' hands high. Joshua had a lot of victories, but he had to fight a lot of battles. Now, he is old, and there are still battles to be fought, and victories to be won. Judges 2:8 tells us that Joshua lived to be 110 years old. God has preserved His precious Word so we can read these wonderful stories about Joshua. What will people remember about us? Will they remember me as a victorious Christian? Let's make the most of our time here and live a life that others can see the light of Christ shining through us.
24. "I Want That Mountain"
“Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said. And Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh Hebron for an inheritance. Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite unto this day, because that he wholly followed the LORD God of Israel.” Joshua 14:12-14
I grew up singing a little chorus, “I want that mountain, I want that mountain, where the milk and honey flows, where the grapes of Eshcol grow. I want that mountain, I want that mountain, the mountain that the Lord has given me.” Caleb went to his old friend Joshua and said, “I want that mountain.” He was 40 years old when he and Joshua first went up to Hebron to spy out the land of Canaan. Because the children of Israel did not have faith to go into the land God had given them, they had wandered in the wilderness forty years and everyone over the age of 20 had died except for Caleb and Joshua. After the death of Moses, the children of Israel began to enter into the land and they finally came to the place Caleb wanted. Caleb said, “And now, behold, the LORD hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in.” (Joshua 14:10 & 11) There are many valleys in the Bible. The Psalms tell us of the Valley of Baca, which is the valley of weeping. We also know of the valley of the shadow of death. We all go through valleys, but I am glad that we don’t have to live in the valley. We can claim that mountain. We may have to face giants, just as Caleb faced the Anakims. Giants of fear, and doubt, and sorrow. But God can give us strength to claim His promises and rise above our enemies. Trust God, have faith, and climb that mountain.
25. Don't Be Slack To Accept God's Inheritance
“And the whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh, and set up the tabernacle of the congregation there. And the land was subdued before them. And there remained among the children of Israel seven tribes, which had not yet received their inheritance. And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the LORD God of your fathers hath given you?” Joshua 18:1-3
I have been reading these chapters in Joshua about the land that the Israelites were given by God. Each section of land was described so that the children of Israel would know which part was theirs. I started thinking about an inheritance. I don't have any rich old uncles, but what if I did? What if a wealthy relative (unknown to me) died and left me a large house with a great amount of land? It would be very exciting to move into a new, furnished, large house and not owe anything on it. Now, let's suppose that I inherited this wonderful new home and I went to look at it, and it was just as great as everyone had told me, but I didn't take steps toward moving in. What good would it do me? If we receive an inheritance it does not do us any good if we don't claim it. When I turn to the 14th chapter of John I can read of such an inheritance. "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:1-6) Jesus has promised us such a place in heaven. He has paid the price and made the way for us to receive eternal life. All we have to do is accept God's free gift of salvation. It's there for us, but we have to accept it before it becomes ours. We can't get to heaven through good works. We must realize that we are lost and can't save ourselves. After we confess our lost condition to the Lord and trust in Him as the only way to God, then we can be saved and become a child of the King. Then we can claim these wonderful promises in John 14.
26. God Is Faithful
“There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.” Joshua 21:45
There is another verse in I Samuel 3:19 that reminds me of this one. "And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground." I like these verses because they tell me that God is faithful. He will keep His Word. These verses were talking about God's promises to the Children of Israel, but I can turn to the New Testament and read of God's faithfulness also. "God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord." (I Corinthians 1:9) A promise of God's faithfulness is also found in Deuteronomy 7:9 "Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;" Friends may let you down. Family members may fail you. But God is faithful and true and His Word still stands true.
27. Love The Lord With All Your Heart
“But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Joshua 22:5
We began these devotionals looking at the things Joshua learned which prepared him to become a great leader. Now we are coming to the end of his life, and we see that he has remained faithful to the Lord all the way. What a change it would make in our world today if we would go back to this verse. If we could follow God's Word that He has preserved for us in His precious Holy Bible, the world could see a difference in us. If we could love the Lord our God with all our heart and soul, all the other little things in our lives would fall into place. We can find this message again in the New Testament. "Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Matthew 22:35-40)
28. Looking Back And Looking Ahead
"And it came to pass a long time after that the LORD had given rest unto Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua waxed old and stricken in age. And Joshua called for all Israel, and for their elders, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers, and said unto them, I am old and stricken in age: And ye have seen all that the LORD your God hath done unto all these nations because of you; for the LORD your God is he that hath fought for you. ... Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left; That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them: But cleave unto the LORD your God, as ye have done unto this day. For the LORD hath driven out from before you great nations and strong: but as for you, no man hath been able to stand before you unto this day. One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the LORD your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you. Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the LORD your God.." Joshua 23:1-3, 6-11
I want to look back to Joshua 3:4-5, just before the Children of Israel were to cross the Jordan River. Joshua told the people, "...for ye have not passed this way heretofore... Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the LORD will do wonders among you." Now, as we come to the end of Joshua's life he is reminding the people of the wonders the Lord did for them, and that the Lord fought their battles. He wants them to see that God has fulfilled His promises. He then tells them to keep God's commandments and He will continue to bless them. If they turn away from God, then they will perish from their good land. As I look back in my life I can see how God has blessed me. He has always provided my needs and been so good to me in every way. As I think about the phrase, "...for ye have not passed this way heretofore" I understand that each new day may bring new challenges, but I also know that God has never failed me. I can look back and see His hand on my life. It would help us greatly if we would take time to remember all the Lord has done for us. That will give us strength and courage to face each new day.
29. It Is Appointed
“And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof..” Joshua 23:14
Joshua said, "... this day I am going the way of all the earth..." Joshua knew he was going to die. He knew he was going to meet the Lord. I read this verse and immediately thought of Hebrews 9:27, "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:" If the Lord tarries then we are all going to die. And just as sure as death, we are all going to fall on our knees to God in judgment. "For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God." (Romans 14:8-12) Are you living for the Lord? Are you ready to meet God? If you don't know the Lord as your Savior please trust in Him today. We are not promised tomorrow. Jesus can save you today. You may know John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." We are all going to bow on our knees to God. It will make all the difference in eternity if you bow and ask Him to be your Lord and Savior before you have your appointment with death. Christ can give you eternal life if you just believe. You must realize that you are lost in your sin with no way to heaven on your own and believe that Jesus alone can give you salvation, then you can be saved. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation... For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:9, 10, & 13)
30. As For Me And My House
“Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
We have a small plaque that someone gave us many years ago that contains part of this scripture, “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” We were both raised in Christian homes and that was a natural and spiritual choice for us. When we became parents, it became even more important to us to bring up our children in a Christian home. I think I have seen this scripture in each of our children's homes. It is a blessing that they have decided "As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." I know that some people are saved in later years and may not have known the blessings of being raised in a Christian home. But it is not too late to start now. You are given the same choice. Start in your own life, “choose you this day whom ye will serve”. Have you decided to serve the Lord? You can begin today to put Christ first in all you do. Sure, we give Him service at church, but we can also live for Him at school or work and especially in our homes. If you are looking for a lifetime companion, follow God’s Word found in II Corinthians 6:14, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” If you are young parents, be an example to your children in Christian service. As we grow older, we must stay determined to serve the Lord. Our children need Christian peers, parents, and grandparents. “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:23 & 24)
31. We Can't Serve God And The World
“And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the LORD: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good. And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the LORD. And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses. Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel. And the people said unto Joshua, The LORD our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey.” Joshua 24:19-24
When Joshua told the people to "choose you this day whom ye will serve" they answered that they would serve the Lord. Notice that Joshua said, "choose". We have to make a choice to serve the Lord. If we are not serving the Lord then who are we serving? Joshua warned the Israelites to "put away... the strange gods" and serve God. We don't keep little idol statues around our homes and pray to them, but anything we put between us and serving God can become like an idol in our lives. Joshua warned the people of the evil that would come to them if they turned away from God and served the gods of the land. The next book in the Bible, the book of Judges, is the sad story of how the Israelites turned away from serving God. "And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger. And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth. And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies. Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had said, and as the LORD had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed." (Judges 2:11-15) Let's choose to serve the Lord!
32. Written In A Book
"And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the LORD." Joshua 24:26
This verse reminds me of the words of Job, "Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book!" (Job 19:23) I enjoy keeping a devotional journal that includes giving God thanks, writing down my prayer requests and taking notes during my personal Bible study. I want to bring back a devotional that I wrote several years ago which tells how I got started writing daily devotionals.
Write A Book
"Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever. For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:" Job 19:23-25
Job wrote these words so many years ago, and it is as though they were graven with an iron pen in a rock forever. When we are discouraged and the headaches and heartbreaks of this world get us down we can go to God's Word and find help and comfort. We can say with Job, "...I know that my redeemer liveth..."
When my first son was three years old my mother-in-law, Betty Key, gave me a "word-less" book. She told me that she kept a journal and I might enjoy writing one, too. That is when I started writing devotionals about things in my life. I used the scriptures for help and guidance and wrote what was on my mind and in my heart. I wrote of the funny things my children did and said. I also wrote of the sad times we went through, such as when their puppy died. I don't expect my words to be printed in a book, and I know that they won't last forever. But, it is fun to pull those books out and thumb through the pages now and then. One by one my children started school and many of their teachers asked them to write journals in class. It was interesting to read what my children thought about. Sometimes they wrote of their feelings and put on paper words that they would not say out loud. Why not start writing a journal of your own? It was hard to find the hardback journals twenty years ago when I starting writing, but many of the stores have them now. You don't have to spend twenty dollars for one of the expensive ones in a big bookstore. I have seen them in the one-dollar stores. You can even use a notebook like you use, or used in high school. You may even like to keep it filed in your computer... just print it every now and then so you don't lose it if your computer crashes. If you have trouble starting, write about the weather. Or pretend that you are writing letters to a friend who has moved away. If you are a parent, write about the little things your children do and the things they say. They grow up so quickly.
33. A Servant Of The Lord
“And it came to pass after these things, that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old. And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathserah, which is in mount Ephraim, on the north side of the hill of Gaash.” Joshua 24:29-30
I like the description of Joshua; "the servant of the LORD". We have covered the life of Joshua, from a slave down in Egypt to the top of Mount Sinai with God and Moses. He could have been described as a spy, a doorkeeper in the tabernacle, a servant to Moses, or even a great general of the Israelite Army. But at his death he is remembered as "the servant of the LORD". I would like to be remembered as a servant of the Lord. We can read of the faith of many other men and women of the Bible in Hebrews 11. They walked with God in faith as they lived their short lives here on earth, looking for a better country. "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city." (Hebrews 11:13-16) I pray that I can walk so close to the Lord here on earth that when I'm gone people can say that I was a servant of the Lord.
34. The Next Generation
“And Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and which had known all the works of the LORD, that he had done for Israel.” Joshua 24:31
When I first read this verse I didn't quite understand it because I knew that Joshua and Caleb were the only two Israelites over the age of 20 that lived to go into the land of Canaan. (Numbers 14:29-34) This verse speaks of the "elders that overlived Joshua" but it does not say the elders older than Joshua. As I read on into the book of Judges it was easier to understand. "And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD, that he did for Israel. And Joshua, the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old. And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathheres, in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill Gaash. And also all that gereration were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel. And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger." (Judges 2:7-12) There was a generation of children, under twenty years of age, who saw the works of God when they came out of Egypt. There was another generation of children born as they wandered for forty years in the wilderness. So when they entered Canaan, the Isrealites were a young people, all under sixty years old. The Bible says that the Israelites who saw the mighty works of the Lord served God, but the generation which followed did not know the Lord. If that could happen to the children of Israel, who saw first-hand the miracles of God, then it could happen in our country today. We may know the Lord and serve Him faithfully, but are we passing our heritage down to our children and grandchildren? We can't be saved for them, but we must bring them up in prayer and teach them from God's precious Word. If our children don't grow up to serve the Lord, then our churches will slowly die out as our generation passes on. Don't gripe and complain about the children of today. Pray that God will save them and guide them to become the Christian leaders of tomorrow.
35. Following Joshua's Example
As I was thinking about writing this last devotional on Joshua, my first thoughts were about how very few of us get to take someone's place and become an important leader, as Joshua followed Moses. Then I remembered some of the daily entries and realized that there were many traits in Joshua's life that we could pattern our lives after and become stronger Christian examples. He was a servant to Moses and a servant of God. One way we can serve the Lord is to be a servant to our pastors and church leaders. He knew that the Lord would help him fight the battles and give Him victory. Joshua "departed not out of the tabernacle" and we would do well to learn to wait on the Lord and be faithful to His house. (Exodus 33:11) The Lord described Joshua as "a man in whom is the spirit" (Numbers 27:18) We are also commanded to be filled with the Spirit in the New Testament. " And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God." (Ephesians 5:18-21) Joshua was courageous and strong in the Lord, and he exhorted his followers to be courageous and strong in the Lord. One of the most memorable things about Joshua is that he stayed faithful to the end of his life. We can follow his example and say with Joshua, "as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)