— Elder Tim
It is a privilege to share my insights on the book of Joshua with you all! I hope my insights could be somewhat inspirational to you. Most of all, I pray the insights you have gathered will be useful to you in application of truth you have gained.
Joshua is one of my favorite books in the Old Testament. The messages in the book is very applicable in my everyday life with respect to practical faith, always look to God to guide me in everything I do, taking on impossible tasks, finding strength & courage when pushed against insurmountable odds, how to celebrate victories and being careful to avoid defeats.
I also apologize for the lengthiness of my sharing. In order to help the ease of reading, I have segmented it into many smaller chunks so that you do not have to read all of it in one setting.
Moses my servant is dead. Therefore arise & go… (Chapter 1:1)
Although these few words may seem trivial, but it is packed with powerful messages helpful to us. These words are one of the biggest motivators for me to fight against laziness and procrastination.
Up to now, Joshua has been Moses’ assistant for 40 years. He is probably fairly comfortable with the role of a follower. Personally, that is a sweet spot of ministry for me. I am very comfortable being in the follower role. Just tell me what I should do and I will do it. I don’t need to bear any responsibility outside of my own actions of how well I do. No one will complain to me why I am doing what I am doing. All I have to do is to defer it to the leader responsible. Perhaps Joshua had similar thoughts.
Just before Moses died, God has commissioned Joshua to bring the people into the Promised Land (Deut. 31:23). He is fully aware of his new role. Why did God say to Joshua, “Moses my servant is dead”? Isn’t this an obvious fact that needs not to be mentioned? God must have said it for a reason. God may have wanted to push Joshua to get started. No more waiting around. I believe that Joshua may have been so used to following orders that he is waiting on God to give him the next detail instructions. In addition, I believe Joshua may have been a little frightened by the awesome responsibility that he has just inherited. He needed a lot of encouragement to get started.
Often times when we have taken on a role or a task in the church, especially when it’s something that we do not quite know what to do, we end up doing nothing. Although we have the heart and passion, but we don’t know where to start, we invariably become stagnate and do nothing. People say that the biggest reason why people procrastinate is the fear of failure. The action we must take when we find ourselves stagnating is to “arise” and “go”. We need to just get up and so something, hopefully it is something that God has led us to do, even if it is one step at a time. We need also to hear words of encouragement from our leaders, God and the people to subside the fears.
Be strong & courageous (Chapter 1:6,7,9,18)
Joshua was encouraged or commanded 7 times to be strong & courageous.
• By Moses in Deut 31: 6
• By Moses again in Deut 31:7
• By God in Deut 31:23
• By God 3 times in 1:6, 7 & 9
• By the people in 1:18
Why was he told so many times? Was it because he is a person that gets easily scared? I really don’t think so. When Joshua was sent to spy out the Promised Land just after the people exited out of Egypt, he was fearless in wanting to take over the land against giants in the land. He was also very strong in leading numerous battles against enemies of the land under the leadership of Moses. Why then would Joshua be weak & scared that he needed to be encouraged by Moses, God and the people numerous times to be strong and courageous?
God knew exactly what is going on in Joshua’s mind and what he needed to be the leader He wanted him to be. In the 40 years of following Moses, he has seen so many of the struggles Moses faced in leading the people that will cause any of us to cringe with the thought of leading over a million stiff-necked people. Although our church do not have these stiff-neck people to lead but it hasn’t been easy for our Chairperson and pastors. Seeing what they encounter and scrimmage through, if it is up to me, I would not touch this role with a “ten-foot pole”.
I believe that Joshua needed to hear the encouragements because he himself may have thought that the job that God has given him is too hard for him to accomplish. The difficulties most likely may not have been so much in fighting the enemies. His faith in God is very strong in trusting God will destroy all enemies regardless of size & power. His challenge may likely be in leading the people. The reason I think Joshua may have thought this way is because that would be my struggle if I was in his shoes.
Often times when I ask someone to take on a role in the church, the most common response I hear is that they don’t have time, don’t have the experience and don’t have the ability. Some people say that the main reason for people turning down new challenges is the fear of failure. We need to often remember that it is important that we often encourage each other to be strong and courageous, especially to our leaders.
Preparation for battle (Chapters 1:11, 3:5, 3:6, 3:14-17)
Joshua did not need God to tell him how to get ready for battle. He has already has done it or seen it being done many times before this. He just needed the confidence built up from Moses, God and the people to help him to get going. It was not long after the people encouraged him that he gave the command to the people to prepare provisions (1:11), consecration of selves (3:5) and look to God to guide them by the guidance of the presence of the ark of the Lord (3:6, 14-17)
This should be a good reminder for all of us that as we face any work of the ministry where we are doing God’s directed work. We need to prepare ourselves as much as we know how from our understanding and experiences. After the preparation is done, we need to focus on consecrating ourselves. The consecration involves of seeking God’s presence among us by repenting of our sins, asking for forgiveness, refreshed by the cleansing blood of Christ and remaining in the presence of God. This is a step that many of us forget to do or ignore it thinking there is no need to do so. After that, we need to always see God’s guidance with everything we do, look to His words to confirm we are following His commands and inquire God for continual direction and listen to His directions. This is why it is so important for us to have a healthy devotional life. In our daily lives, we often face challenges that we need to prepare ourselves to fight these battles. We must not forget that we are God’s children and wants to fight the battle for us, if we let Him.
Salvation by faith for Rahab (Chapter 2)
I find it interesting why the story of Rahab was recorded in the Bible. Not only was it recorded here in Joshua but also recorded in the book of Hebrews (Heb. 11:31 & 12:1) as one of the great cloud of witnesses. Why was it important to be reminded of the story of Rahab? How the story of Rahab fits in the overall story of Joshua and Israel entering the Promised Land?
I believe the importance of the story is for us to understand that God did not just totally destroyed everybody previously living in the Promised Land. He also offered salvation to those who has faith in Him as Rahab. Rahab expressed her faith in God with her words of “God is the God of the heavens & earth” (2:11), she trusted God to deal kindly with her “Deal kindly with me” (2:12) and she believed in the promise of God’s people, “Promise you will save me” (2:21). Not only we could find indications of Rahab’s faith in God in Chapter 2 but it is explained even more in Hebrews 11 & 12. “It is clear that God also saved the people who had faith in Him as Rahab. Not only we could find indications of Rahab’s faith in God in Chapter 2 but it is explained even more in Hebrews 11 & 12. It is important that we are clear about our salvation is by faith.
We need to remind ourselves with the words in Heb. 12:1-2, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”