Joshua: Joshua The Leader
In Chapter 3, we read about how the Israelites crossed Jordan. The Lord said to Joshua (verse 7), “The Lord said to Joshua, 'Today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.'” It was very difficult for Joshua to fit in the shoes of Moses. Moses was a mighty man of God, who had been feared and respected by everyone for 40 years-a man who could seemingly solve every problem. Joshua was probably 70 or 80 years old when Moses died. And now he had to lead those 2 million Israelites. He must have wondered how the people would ever respect him.
You too may find yourself called to carry on a ministry started by some great man of God who was respected by everyone. And you may wonder how you could ever do it. The Lord says as He said to Joshua, “Don't worry, I will exhort you before them.” God can exalt you before people in such away that they respect you. Don't wait for some man to make you a director or to give you a title and exalt you. Don't try to earn respect by getting an honorary doctorate from somewhere. God Himself must let people know that you are His servant. God must be with your mouth. What's the use of impressing people with titles and human qualifications to impress people with. Neither did the apostles. But they had the anointing of the Spirit and God was with them. That's the important thing. Seek for that more than anything else.
What was Joshua's qualification for serving God? Just this, that God was with him. What was Jesus' qualification for serving God? Acts 10:38 says, “God was with Him.” What was Moses' qualification? God was with him. What was David's qualification to kill Goliath? God was with him.
What is your qualification for serving God? Is it a degree certificate? Do you think Satan is afraid of degree certificates? He doesn't care for a man who has even ten degree certificates. Satan will fear you only if he sees that God is with you.
Why did God pick Joshua? There must have been qualities in his life that God saw-especially his faith that God would help him conquer the giants in Canaan. When God saw that, He said, “That's the man I am looking for-one who will believe in Me and trust in My promise.” He picked him and trained him under Moses. God often trains a man for His service by making him work with an older godly man. Elisha worked with Elijah and learned how to be a prophet. Timothy worked with Paul and learned how to be an apostle Joshua worked with Moses and learned how to be a leader. If God gives you the op[[opportunity to work with an older godly man, that is one of the greatest privileges that God can give you to equip you for His service. Many Israelites would have wanted to be close to Moses. Many would have liked to take over from Moses as the leader. But God chose Joshua.
Chapter 3:9: “Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God.” Joshua himself had meditated on God's Word day and night, and now he was able to share that Word with other people. Just like Moses listened to God and came out and told the people, “I want to tell you what God has said.”
That's our calling- to tell people what we ourselves have heard and experienced from God- not theories and bright ideas, but what we have tasted of God. That's what Moses , Joshua, Paul and Peter did.
When the Isrealites crossed the River Jordan, the ark of the covenant went in front of them (3:15). This is a picture of Jesus Christ having gone ahead of us and overcome all sin. We are now called to run the race “looking unto Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2). When the priests who were carrying the ark approached the river Jordan, it was overflowing its banks. They put their feet into the water by faith, and the water immediately stopped flowing from a long distance away. The Israelites then went across. The priests meanwhile stood in the middle of the river until everyone had crossed. Again, the riverbed was dry beneath their feet!
Chapter 4: After they had crossed over, Joshua said, “We have now crossed into Canaan, But let's not rush into battle. Let us first of all give thanks to God” What a wonderful lesson to learn-to kneel down and thank and praise the Lord first of all. Joshua then told them to go into the riverbed and pick up 12 stones (verse 8), and to make a memorial with them-so that in future years, when children asked their fathers what that was, the fathers could tell them of the miracle that God did for their ancestors in parting the river. The things that God has done for us must be shared with our children, so that they too can have faith.
Chapter 5:5-9: The Israelite men were now circumcised at Gilgal. All these men had been born in the wilderness and none of them had been circumcised, There were 40 year-old Israelites among them who had not been circumcised. This was a small thing, but it was a mark of the covenant. It symbolized a cutting off of all confidence in the flesh (Philippians 3:3). Before they went into battle, all confidence in the the flesh had to be cut off. That was the first step. They could not overcome the giants in their strength. At last, the reproach of Egypt was rolled away (verse 9).
Chapter 5:13-14: The Captain of the Lord's army now come before Joshua. Notice that He comes only after the circumcision is over and “the reproach of Egypt has been rolled away” (verse 9)! This Captain was the Lord Jesus appearing in a vision. Joshua thinks it's a man and asks, “Are you on our side or the enemy's? The answer the Lord gives is very instructive: “I'm not on either side. I have come to lead the army. You must come to My side.”
Sometimes, we say, “Lord I'm going there. Please come and bless me.” He won't. Instead we should ask, “Lord, where are you moving now as the Captain of the Lord's army. Where do You want me to go as Your soldier?” And the Lord will reply, “I am going to such-and-such a place. Come with Me.” The Christian life is so simple. I don't have to plan to go here and there and ask the Lord to come along with me. No. God is not our servant. He is our Captain.
Change your way of serving the Lord to this way-and you will see amazing results in your vocation in life. We can serve the Lord more efficiently this way. We will then go where the Lord has already prepared the ground for us, instead of going to some place where the ground is not ready, wasting our time, realizing that ten years later, and then going elsewhere. God knows the best place to make use of us. Wait on Him then for His direction-always.