Serving the Lord with Gladness: Joshua
In the Old Testament we can read about the record of Moses. In this teaching we will see who Moses chose to be his successor. When Moses was growing old, God instructed him to appoint a leader who would step in after he was gone. Moses knew that Joshua was the man for the Job.
We will look at a brief history of Joshua’s life through the Old Testament—Exodus records how Moses and Joshua fought alongside one another as they battled King Amalek.
God had just gotten done performing a miracle—making water flow from a rock to hydrate the Children of Israel. Shortly after this, Moses instructs Joshua in verse 9 of Exodus Ch. 17:
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: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.
As Moses held up “The Rod of God” Joshua and his men prevailed. Eventually they had success and defeated the king’s army. Joshua fought valiantly alongside Moses.
Let’s turn to Deuteronomy 31 and see the transfer of power:
And Moses went and spake these words unto all Israel. 2 And he said unto them, I am an hundred and twenty years old this day; I can no more go out and come in: also the LORD hath said unto me, Thou shalt not go over this Jordan. 3 The LORD thy God, he will go over before thee, and he will destroy these nations from before thee, and thou shalt possess them: and Joshua, he shall go over before thee, as the LORD hath said.
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. 8 And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed. 9 And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it unto the priests the sons of Levi, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and unto all the elders of Israel.
Moses further commands them to read his instructions to the people every 7 years to remind them of his stand on the Word and what God did for His people. Also it was to be taught to the younger generation so they would appreciate it.
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. 24 And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished, 25 That Moses commanded the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying, 26 Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee
He gives very specific direction to the people. This was to remind them to keep following God.
Deuteronomy chapter 34 records Moses’ death
Deuteronomy 34:5: So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. 6 And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day. 7 And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated. 8 And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days: so the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended. 9 And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the LORD commanded Moses. 10 And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face
Joshua 1 records his first moments as the leader of God’s people and the commandments that he receives.
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.
Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, 11 Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals; for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the LORD your God giveth you to possess it.
In Chapter 2, Joshua sends two spies into Jericho to scope it out. The king finds out about the spies and sends a search party to find them, but they take refuge in the house of Rahab the harlot.
She saves them from the king’s men and in return they promise to save her and everyone in her house when they would come back to conquer the city.
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. 8 And thou shalt command the priests that bear the ark of the covenant, saying, When ye are come to the brink of the water of Jordan, ye shall stand still in Jordan.
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,) 16 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. 17 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.
God performed another miracle for his Children involving parting water.
Chapter 6 records what is probably the most well known story of Joshua’s life. The city of Jericho was conquered by following God’s direction.
Joshua and his army defeated the city of Jericho. Only God could have known what would bring down the walls. As they followed his direction:
1. Walk around the city once every day for 6 days
2. The 7th day, circle the city 7 times
3. At the 7th circle, have 7 priests blow trumpets and all the people shout at the same time.
(The number 7 means “spiritual perfection” according to EW Bullinger’s great research work, Number in Scripture)
In Chapter 8, God promises that they will take the city of Ai. They send a small battalion and trick the men of the city into thinking that the small group was defeated and running away. When all of the men of the city pursued the small battalion, the rest of Joshua’s army took the city and burned it. When the pursuers saw the smoke they turned around and were defeated as they rushed back in fear.
In Chapter 9, all the kings from other cities band together to try and defeat Joshua’s army.
And it came to pass, when all the kings which were on this side Jordan, in the hills, and in the valleys, and in all the coasts of the great sea over against Lebanon, the Hittite, and the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, heard thereof; 2 That they gathered themselves together, to fight with Joshua and with Israel, with one accord.
There was one group of smart people from a city called Gibeon. They approached Joshua and formed a “league” with him and were spared.
Now it came to pass, when Adonizedec king of Jerusalem had heard how Joshua had taken Ai, and had utterly destroyed it; as he had done to Jericho and her king, so he had done to Ai and her king; and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel, and were among them; 2 That they feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, as one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all the men thereof were mighty.
In Verses 3-10 – The 5 kings went to War against Gibeon because they sided with Joshua. Joshua’s army met them and began a battle but there was not enough daylight to continue fighting…
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. 13 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. 14 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. 15 And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, unto the camp to Gilgal.
In Verses 16-27 Joshua kills all the 5 kings who banded together and buries them in a cave.
In verse 29, they defeat Libnah
In Verse 31 they defeat Lachish
In Verse 33 they defeat Horam – King of Gezer
In Verse 34 they defeat Eglon
In Verse 36 they defeat Hebron
In Verse 38 they defeat Debir
In Verse 41 they defeated Goshen and Gibeon
In chapter 11, verse 10 they defeat Hazor
Let’s read the summary at the end of chapter 10
So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel commanded. 41 And Joshua smote them from Kadeshbarnea even unto Gaza, and all the country of Goshen, even unto Gibeon. 42 And all these kings and their land did Joshua take at one time, because the LORD God of Israel fought for Israel. 43 And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, unto the camp to Gilgal.
What a great record illustrating God’s mighty power toward His people. God was with Joshua in a powerful way just as He is with us in our day and time. God has not changed and His power is alive today!