Joshua was an exceptional person. Joshua is the Hebrew word for Jesus. Joshua first appears on the scene as an assistant to Moses. The Lord said to Moses, “Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders.” (Numbers 13:1)
From the tribe of Judah, Caleb was selected. From the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea was selected. Moses gave Hoshea son of Nun the name Joshua. When Moses sent them to explore Canaan, he said, “Go up through the Negev and on into the hill country. See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. What kind of land do they live in?
“At the end of forty days they returned from exploring the land. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land. “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. Then Caleb said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” (Numbers 13:25 NIV)
Marcus Aurelius, the great Roman philosopher, identified the following traits of a successful person: Consciousness of an honest purpose in life. A just estimate of himself and everyone else. Frequent self-examinations. Steady obedience to what he knows to be right. Indifference to what others may think or say.
We know that Moses served as a mentor for Joshua. But what is it that makes Joshua such a great man. What is it that makes any of us a great person, especially an outstanding Christian? “When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away” (Genesis 5:21). Now remember, Adam and Eve, prior to their sin, “walked” with God.
We hear a lot about sin and what we shouldn’t be doing. But the wonderful thing about Joshua is that he was a good man. Jenny Lind, the great Swedish soprano, disappointed many of her friends because she turned down so many big contracts that would have made her world famous. One day a friend surprised her sitting on a sunny seashore reading the New Testament. The friend, in conversation, rebuked the singer for not seizing her chances. Quickly, Jenny Lind put her hand over her Testament and said, “I found that making vast sums of money was spoiling my taste for this.”
Obedience pleases God and disobedience displeases God. Paul writes to the young Timothy who is learning how to live a Christian life. “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness”(1Timothy 2:1). This is good, and pleases God our Savior, have you ever tried to sin and pray at the same time? You can’t!
A few centuries before Christ, a man named Alexander conquered almost all of the known world using military strength, cleverness and a bit of diplomacy. The story is told that Alexander and a small company of soldiers approached a strongly fortified walled city. Alexander, standing outside the walls, raised his voice and demanded to see the king. When the king arrived, Alexander insisted that the king surrender the city and its inhabitants to Alexander and his little band of fighting men. The king laughed, “Why should I surrender to you? You can’t do us any harm!” But Alexander offered to give the king a demonstration. He ordered his men to line up single file and start marching. He marched them straight toward a sheer cliff. The townspeople gathered on the wall and watched in shocked silence as, one by one, Alexander’s soldiers marched without hesitation right off the cliff to their deaths! After ten soldiers died, Alexander ordered the rest of the men to return to his side. The townspeople and the king immediately surrendered to Alexander the Great. They realized that if a few men were actually willing to commit suicide at the command of this dynamic leader, then nothing could stop his eventual victory. Think how much power Christ could have in our area with just a portion of such commitment.
There are benefits to walking with God and living a godly life. “To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God” (Ecc 2:26). Each of us was designed to be something beyond ourselves. We are designed with a great capacity for God; and sin and our individuality are the things that keep us from walking with God. God delivers us from sin: we have to deliver ourselves from individuality; from the “me,” to present our lives to God and sacrifice lives until they are transformed into a spiritual life by obedience.
He listens to the godly man who does his will. No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you”(John 9:31).