I am excited to start this new series on the life of Joshua. I believe we are in a season of advancement for God’s Kingdom through our church. We are going to see many parallels from the Israelites entering into the promised land as we enter into the things that God wants accomplished through us this year! We can learn from their mistakes and we can learn from their successes. Today I want to take a look at the person of Joshua. Why was he chosen to lead the Israelites into the promised land?
I. Who is Joshua
Exodus 17:8-9: While the people of Israel were still at Rephidim, the warriors of Amalek attacked them. Moses commanded Joshua, “Choose some men to go out and fight the army of Amalek for us. Tomorrow, I will stand at the top of the hill, holding the staff of God in my hand.”
This is the first time Joshua is mentioned in Scripture. Moses commanded him to choose some men to fight the army of Amalek.
Exodus 24:12-13: Then the Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain. Stay there, and I will give you the tablets of stone on which I have inscribed the instructions and commands so you can teach the people.” So Moses and his assistant Joshua set out, and Moses climbed up the mountain of God.
Joshua was Moses's personal assistant. He went to the mountain when God gave Moses the ten commandments.
Exodus 33:11: Inside the Tent of Meeting, the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Afterward Moses would return to the camp, but the young man who assisted him, Joshua son of Nun, would remain behind in the Tent of Meeting.
Moses spoke to the Lord face to face and Joshua was there watching. This powerful encounter changed Joshua. He would stay there in the presence of God after Moses. Now we can understand more about why God chose Joshua to lead His people into the promised land. Joshua grew to know Him and grew in His faith in the Lord.
Numbers 13:16: These are the names of the men Moses sent out to explore the land. (Moses called Hoshea son of Nun by the name Joshua.)
Joshua was one of the twelve men who was went to scout the promised land.
Hoshea means "salvation";
Numbers 14:6-9: Two of the men who had explored the land, Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, tore their clothing. They said to all the people of Israel, “The land we traveled through and explored is a wonderful land! And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey. Do not rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!”
Numbers 27:15-20: Then Moses said to the Lord, “O Lord, you are the God who gives breath to all creatures. Please appoint a new man as leader for the community. Give them someone who will guide them wherever they go and will lead them into battle, so the community of the Lord will not be like sheep without a shepherd.” The Lord replied, “Take Joshua son of Nun, who has the Spirit in him, and lay your hands on him. Present him to Eleazar the priest before the whole community, and publicly commission him to lead the people. Transfer some of your authority to him so the whole community of Israel will obey him.
God chose Joshua as the next leader. He had God's Spirit in him.
II. Taking Territory - things that go wrong
Numbers 13:32-33: So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: “The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!”
Ten of the spies gave a bad report, which caused fear to spread among the Israelites and therefore God prevented them from entering the promised land. They spent the next forty years in the wilderness until most of them died.
Consider this: they were delivered from Egypt, no plagues impacted their lives; they crossed through the Red Sea on dry ground; God fed them daily and gave them water to drink; He allowed them to conquer their enemies and they still did not believe God could give them the promised land.
Ephesians 6:10-13: A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.
Why would God inspire Paul to write this passage of Scripture in the Bible if He didn’t want us to be ready for battle?
1 Peter 5:8-9: Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith.
We have an enemy that wants to devour us. It’s going to take a firm stance and strong faith to stand against him.
We often hear great messages about God’s plan and purpose for our lives, but we fail to hear messages that talk about the opposition that we are going to face to walk in all that God has for our lives. The Israelites wanted to walk in the promise of the promised land, but they did not want to fight to get it. They had lost sight that God was fighting for them and that He would give them victory.
Consider this: in 1938, France just wanted to live in peace, so they ignored that their neighbor Germany was preparing for war. The desire for peace did not bring peace - Germany was able to take possession of France in a very short period of time. It is not our inclination for war that invites war; rather, it is our having possession of something that someone else wants. The enemy has declared war on us. He wants our worship, our loyalty and our souls. He is willing to war for these things. We are at war, whether we want to be or not.
III. Taking Territory - God fights for us and He leads us in battle
Numbers 33:51-56: “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel: When you cross the Jordan River into the land of Canaan, you must drive out all the people living there. You must destroy all their carved and molten images and demolish all their pagan shrines. Take possession of the land and settle in it, because I have given it to you to occupy. You must distribute the land among the clans by sacred lot and in proportion to their size. A larger portion of land will be allotted to each of the larger clans, and a smaller portion will be allotted to each of the smaller clans. The decision of the sacred lot is final. In this way, the portions of land will be divided among your ancestral tribes. But if you fail to drive out the people who live in the land, those who remain will be like splinters in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will harass you in the land where you live. And I will do to you what I had planned to do to them.”
God had given them this land to occupy. He set the boundaries for each person. They were to go in and fight each battle as He directed them and then victory would come. They were to drive out all people living there and demolish all pagan shrines and false gods. If they didn’t, those enemies would be splinters in their eyes and thorns in their sides.
Deuteronomy 31:1-8: When Moses had finished giving these instructions to all the people of Israel, he said, “I am now 120 years old, and I am no longer able to lead you. The Lord has told me, ‘You will not cross the Jordan River.’ But the Lord your God himself will cross over ahead of you. He will destroy the nations living there, and you will take possession of their land. Joshua will lead you across the river, just as the Lord promised. “The Lord will destroy the nations living in the land, just as he destroyed Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites. The Lord will hand over to you the people who live there, and you must deal with them as I have commanded you. So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Then Moses called for Joshua, and as all Israel watched, he said to him, “Be strong and courageous! For you will lead these people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors he would give them. You are the one who will divide it among them as their grants of land. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
The Lord was personally going with them and He assured them of victory. He promised that He would never fail them or abandon them. They just need to to be strong and courageous. He promised the same to Joshua.
God has marked out the boundaries of our lives here in this city. These boundaries always revolve around God’s Kingdom advancing. If His kingdom is advancing, then the enemy's kingdom is decreasing.
If we ignore the enemy, we are going to get pounced. If we walk in fear and refuse to walk in the things that God has called us into, we will be just like the Israelites and wander in the wilderness, never reaching the promised land.
God has a great deal for us to possess, but it will take great faith and perseverance. God is continually putting new conquests before us to develop our faith and perseverance at a higher level. We can decide we want to quit at some point because the gate seems too hard or too unconquerable. We may be tired and weary of the battle. We want to sit down, take a rest, and check out. We have the option of sitting down and living a life of ease. But by doing so we will never reach our potential because fear or weariness overtook us at the threshold. Some make this decision and fail to reach their destiny.
- The Breaker Anointing, Barbara Yoder
That are two ways of thinking. One is that we don’t need to worry about the enemy - the victory is already won. The second is that we are going to have to battle the enemy in order for God’s Kingdom to advance.
God told the Israelites that the promised land was theirs, yet they still had to battle to get it. There is still going to be a battle of Armageddon even though we know the end result. Jesus never tried to find the devil when He walked upon the earth. He just had to deal with him as He did the will of the Father daily.
We are not looking for the devil and trying to pick a fight with him. We are going to encounter him every time we try to advance God’s Kingdom in this city. If we are gaining ground for God, then the enemy is losing ground and he does not like that. We must be prepared to battle.