A Great Man of Faith Who Didn’t “Pass It On”

Joshua is one of the great names of the Old Testament. He followed the
footsteps of one of the greatest men of all time, Moses. He had the
responsibility of completing the exodus of the children of Israel by leading
them into the promised land of Canaan, dividing the land among the tribes,
and seeing them settle into the land. All of these were daunting tasks but
by faith and faithfulness Joshua was able to accomplish the job. Let’s look
at the life of Joshua and see his successes and his one failure to learn how
we can live successfully too.

I. Who Was He?

A. When did he live? In the Late Bronze Age (1500-1200 B.C.); probably @
1250 B.C. was the date for the invasion of Palestine

B. Who were his people? Jews: he was of the tribe of Ephraim; his father’s
name was Nun

C. What was his name? His name was Hoshea, “salvation”; Moses changed it to
“Joshua” or “The LORD Saves”

D. How long did he live? He lived to be 110 years old (JOS 24:29) * the NIV
study notes remark that 110 was considered to be the ideal life-span by the
Egyptians, and Joseph lived 110 years.

II. What Did He Do?

A. He was a faithful servant

“Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live
as servants of God”(1PE 2:16)

“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever
wants to be first must be your slave- just as the Son of Man did not come to
be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (MAT
20:26,27).

1. He was God’s servant

a. he was a man “in whom is the Spirit” (NUM 27:18)

Joshua had faith in God and was full of the Holy Spirit. Where did he get
that faith?

From seeing the miracles God did in Egypt (the 10 plagues), from the
crossing of the Red Sea, from the miraculous quail, from the water at
Rephidim, the giving of the Law, the judgments of sin in the camp, etc.

b. he was obedient

1) he led Israel’s forces to victory against the Amalekites as ordered by
Moses (EXO 17:8-13)

2) he spied for Israel as elected (NUM 13)

i. he brought back a good report of the land because he believed in God’s
ability to give them the victory (NUM 13:30, 14:6-9)

ii. he escaped condemnation and death because of his faith (NUM 14:30;
36-38)

3) he served God as Israel’s leader from the death of Moses until his own
death

c. he had faith in God (NUM 14:6-9)

d. he was humble before God

1) he was urged by God to be courageous and fearless (JOS 1:5-9), implying
that he was timid and fearful

2) he followed the LORD’S commands

i. at the Jordan (JOS 3,4)

ii. when he circumcised the Israelites at Gilgal (JOS 5:1-9)

iii. when he beseiged Jericho (JOS 6)

3) he worshipped “the commander of the LORD’S army” (JOS 5:13-15)

2. He was Moses’s servant

a. he was Moses’s aid “since youth” (EXO 24:13, 33:11; NUM 11:28)

1) he accompanied Moses to Mt. Sinai to receive the Law (EXO 24:13,14;
32:17)

2) he stood watch at the “tent of meeting” (EXO 33:11)

b. he was a disciple

1) he learned from Moses

“A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is
enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his
master” (MAT 9:24)

a) he learned piety and humility (NUM 11:29, 12:3)

i. Moses was the most humble man on the Earth

ii. Moses acknowledged the anointing of God’s Spirit on others without
resentment

b) he learned to pray (JOS 7:6-15)

c) he learned to make memorials (JOS 7:26, 8:29)

d) he learned from Moses’s mistakes

i. when he sent spies into the land he only sent 2, not 12 as Moses had (JOS
2:1)

ii. he learned from the 40 years of Israelite grumbling to maintain silence
at Jericho (JOS 6:10)

e) he learned to saturate himself in God’s word (JOS 1:13-18; 8:30-35;
11:12,15; 14:1-5)

2) he was protective of Moses’s singular reputation (NUM 11:28)

“Since then no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew
face to face…no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome
deeds that Moses did in the sight of Israel” (DEU 34:10, 12)

B. He was a faithful leader

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you
up in due time” (1PE 5:6)

1. He was military chief

a. he was the war strategist

1) he relied on God’s power and support (JOS 6:2-5; 8:30-35; 10:10-14)

2) he displayed sound military strategy:

a) by setting up operation at Gilgal he had easy access to the Trans-Jordan
tribes and also controlled 2 trade routes into the central highlands

b) by capturing Ai and Bethel he bisected Canaan (JOS 8:17; 12:16), so he
could fight the north and south separately

c) by waging war in surprise battles he avoided sieges, thus minimizing his
untrained army’s weaknesses

(this analysis is from ‘The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible”,
vol. 3, Zondervan Publishers © 1978)

b. he was commander-in-chief

1) he was the primary general for Israel

a) he commanded against the Ammonites (EXO 17:8)

b) he commanded against Jericho (JOS 6)

c) he delegated command for the first attack against Ai to 3,000 men (JOS 7)

d) he led the entire army in a 2nd attack against Ai (JOS 8 )

e) he commanded the army against the 5 Amorite kings (JOS 10:1-28)

f) he led the army to campaigns in the south (JOS 10: 29-43)

g) he led the army against the northern kings at the Waters of Merom (JOS
11)

CAN YOU SEE HIM WEARING HIS ARMOR?

2) he was the peacemaker for Israel

a) he made a treaty with Gibeon (JOS 9:1-27)

i. he forgot to inquire of the LORD and made an erroneous treaty (JOS
9:14,15)

ii. he honored the treaty anyway (JOS 9:19)

iii. he made them woodcutters and water carriers for the LORD for their
deception (JOS 9:27)

b) he defended the Gibeonites against the 5 Amonite kings (JOS 10:1-27)

2. He was a statesman

a. he was Moses’s successor as head of state (NUM 27:12-20)

1) he was chosen by God to succeed Moses (NUM 27:12-17)

2) he was ordained by Moses before all Israel ( NUM 27:21-23)

3) he was given the spirit of wisdom by the laying on of hands (DEU 34:9)

4) he was charged with being a faithful pioneer leader (DEU 31:3,7,8)

5) he was divinely commissioned (DEU 31:14,15,23)

6) he was divinely re-commissioned (JOS 1:1-9)

b. he was a governor

1) he was to judge the tribes

a) he judged Achan’s sin at Ai (JOS 7:19-26)

b) he investigated the memorial heap on the west side of the Jordan that the
Trans-Jordan tribes erected (JOS 22)

2) he was to administrate the distribution of land

a) the territories allotted to the 12 tribes (JOS 13:8-33: 14-19)

i. he drew up the boundaries of the allotments sensibly

ii. he oversaw the casting of the lots for the allotments

b) personal allotments

i. Caleb’s portion (JOS 14:6-15)

ii. Joshua’s (JOS 19:50)

c) cities of refuge (JOS 20)

d) Levite townships (JOS 21)

C. He was not a discipler

“The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust
to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others” (2TI 2:2)

1. he did not inspire others to emulate him

a. Moses had Joshua as his aid “from his youth”

1) Moses inspired Joshua to follow him

a) Moses was “powerful in speech and action” (ACT 7:23)

b) Moses spoke “face to face” with God (DEU 34:10)

c) Moses was exalted in the sight of the people by God (JOS 3:7)

d) Moses’s face reflected the glory of God (2CO 3:7,13)

2) Moses discipled Joshua

a) he gave him responsibility (as a general against the Amalekites)

b) he modeled godliness before him

3) God appointed Joshua to succeed Moses (DEU 31:14)

a) God Himself commanded Joshua to lead Israel with the promise of support
(DEU 31:23)

b) Moses “laid hands” on Joshua to impart wisdom (DEU 34:9)

b. Joshua was not known to have an aid though he also was exalted by God
(JOS 3:7)

2. he did not train a successor

a. he did not choose anyone to disciple

b. God did not appoint anyone to succeed him until the time of the judges
(Othniel, Caleb’s nephew, JUD 3:9)

WAS THAT HIS FAULT?

HE SHOULD HAVE FOLLOWED MOSES’S EXAMPLE

WHAT WAS THE RESULT?

JUD 2:10,11, “After that whole generation [Joshua’s peers] had been gathered
to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor
what He had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the
LORD… “

III. What Can We Learn From Him?

A. Joshua was successful because he feared and obeyed God and we can be too.

B. Joshua became a great man because he followed a great man’s footsteps and
we need to model ourselves after someone godly too.

C. We need to take the time to disciple a “younger brother” so that what we
know will not be lost after we are gone.

© Copyright Kathryn Capoccia 2000. This file may be freely copied, printed out, and distributed as long as copyright and source statements remain intact, and that it is not sold.