The Bible gives us clear instruction through the lives of great leaders and specific teaching, character, qualifications and commitment. It gives us instruction and guidance on how we are to live our lives. It is an anchor in the times of storm and difficulties. Our culture is in confusion about almost everything. It lack direction and just drifts along hoping all will turn out well. There is little hope in our world. There is also a problem of lack of spiritual discipline in the church among believers. Few “study to show themselves approved a workman that need not be ashamed.” We can become lazy in in the spiritual conflict. We can give in to a worldly way of life and drift along with them or we can stand up and fight and go forward.
In the history of Israel Joshua brought the Lord’s people into their inheritance. In the NT Jesus brings his people into their inheritance. Joshua was a remarkable and unusual man young man whose name is the same as the name of our Lord Jesus, and who in every respect is a type and a symbol and a picture the Lord God who brings us also into our spiritual and final inheritance.
Joshua in the Presence of Moses.
Vs 8 The first mention of Joshua is after the Amalakites attacked the stragglers at Israel’s rear. Down in the valley there is a fierce battle raging. In the blistering heat of the burning sun, dark-skinned men are in mortal combat with spears, with brazened swords, with slings, with stones and heavy club. They are fighting hand to hand. In the midst of their group, and fighting with them, is a young lieutenant who commands the warriors of God. His body is caked with dust and sweat. And his unsheathed sword is dark-stained with blood. As he leads his army against the attack and onslaught of the enemy, he turns anxiously and looks toward the south.
Prayer and The Battle on the Hill – and the Rod
Vs 9 Moses was in his eighties. What Moses had to do was just as more significant because the whole course of the battle depended on what was happening on the hill not what was happening down in the valley below. The old man held in his hand the rod of God. When he became weary and tired and the hands with the rod was lowered to the ground, the battle turned against the Israelites. This happened a number of times and the battle ebbed and flowed. The Rod is symbolic of the presence and power of God. It is the centre of attraction. It was used to part the red sea, it was used to strike the rock, it was used to show God power over the magicians and the snakes. When the rod is held up for all the see they are encouraged and unafraid of the enemy. Do you look up and see the rod? Are you tired and your hands hang down? So we have someone who is holding up the rod with us constantly. Our Lord has the authority all authority in heaven and earth He doesn’t need anybody to prop up his arms like Moses did. His power is permanent, He never tires. He is perfect and eternal, he lives to make intercession for us and in us to accomplish his purposes, sanctification just as surely as justification is the work of God and will be accomplished. Joshua the young lieutenant anxiously turns his eyes back to the raging enemy, yelling and screaming as they mount an attack against the warriors of God. They stampede in fury against Gods people and once again, the young lieutenant turns his face toward the south, and there he sees a heavenly sign.
Thank God For Men Like Hur and Aaron
Prayer to Win the Battle vs 10-12
Vs 10-11 Moses was the prophet of God. Aaron was the high priest to be and Hur from an unnamed tribe were on the hill. These two were called to assist Moses, seating him on a stone and standing at his side to hold his hands Heavenward and Israel’s great leader, raised the rod of God over the fighting plain below. When sunset came Moses hands were still reaching upward and Israel won the battle. Moses would never have had the strength except for these two. Joshua learned a great lesson that day, the power was not in the sword, but in God. He lerned the basis of any victory starts with prayer. The battle is the Lords. “No not by might or even power but by My Spirit says the Lord.” It is not by human ability, not by genius, not by physical strength but asking for Gods power in the battle. Thank God there are people like that in the church today. Are you a Hur or Aaron? It is so important to support and encourage your leaders. Joshua would never have been able to lead and win the battle if these two had not been on hand to hold up his hands. The battle would have been lost without their involvement. Joshua got all the credit, all the attention all the accolades that night but the Spirit records for us the other heroes, Aaron and Hur. They get little credit for what they done and it is the same for the army of Hurs in the church today. They are behind the scenes making things go right. I could name many of them in our church today and cannot praise you enough. People like Hur are absolutely invaluable, people like Hur are always involved. They may not be great public speakers, wonderful singers, gifted musicians, amazing evangelists but the backbone of any church and may be working in the background. Joshua would get the glory for the victory, people would be congratulating him, slapping him on the back, and Hur may have been forgotten but God records everything and one day he will say to Hur and to all those Hurs in the church who sacrificed for the Lord, He whispers, “Well done thou good and faithful servant!”. For those who seem to be invisible in the church whose gifts and service is not seen let me assure you “Your labour is not in vain.”
Joshua down in the valley would glance up to the hill and see Moses hands raised. With a shout of victory he calls for his soldiers to charge and the enemy fell back. He leads the battle with sword flying in his hand. Then Moses hands weakened and fell down and the Amalekites pressed them back. That is until Hur and Aaron came to aid Moses. From then on the battle was won. And Aaron and Hur stand close by to utter words of commendation and congratulation.
Why God Chose Joshua
The Greek name for Joshua menas “Jesus”—Jehovah our Saviour. He is the grandson of Elishama, a prince in Ephraim. But his heritage was not the reason God chose him. Moses had observed the young man growing up. He observed how he dealt ith the long journey in the heat, he didn’t falter. He did not run form trouble or difficulty. He was unafraid and stood his ground. Many of the Israelites moaned and complained. Many of them showed themselves weak and wavering. But Joshua stood strong and true. Moses knew that Joshua would fight and be a good leader.
Joshua was a wise man of God. He was willing to give his life for the cause of God. Joshua, was even tempered and calm, Moses was hot tempered. They were two different kinds of leaders. We only read of him once being discouraged or frustrated, and that was when Israel lost the battle of Ai due to Achan and to what Achan had done in the midst of the camp. All through the story of Moses you will find the people murmuring and dissatisfied and finding fault. You will never find that in the life of Joshua.
The people followed Joshua with ease. “And Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that over lived Joshua, and which had known all the works of the Lord, that He had done for Israel” (Joshua 31:31). Judges 2:7. “And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlive Joshua.”
His life encouraged others to serve and worship the Lord. All of the elders followed his example and devotion to the Lord.
Moses and Joshua had a great relationship, the old man and a young man. David and Jonathan, Paul and Timothy. All through the stories of human life, you will find wonderful examples of friendship between people of a like age and a like generation. Joshua had a love and affection for Moses and was devoted to him, because he was God’s man.
Moses and Joshua Ascend UP to the Burning Glory
The next time you see Joshua and Moses is in Exodus 24. Moses and Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, the seventy elders of Israel and Joshua ascended the mountain. Then Moses goes up higher into the mount, and he leaves behind everyone and takes with him Joshua (vs.13). They ascend up into the burning glory and stayed there six days. But on the seventh day Moses went alone to talk with God face to face, leaving Joshua alone for forty days (vs 16). Moses, wanted this young man to see the glory of God. He knew this would encourage him the rest of his days. This is one of the reasons why Joshua never gave up, never reneged, he had experienced the glory of God. That’s what happens when we have a real encounter with God we will always remember His glory, his touch on our lives. How long has it been since you saw the glory of God in your life? This experience left a mark on Joshua’s life, he saw God standing over the pavement of sapphire (vs 10) and spent forty days meditating on Gods greatness. He would never be the same. He saw the holiness of God and it was etched into his mind for the rest of his life. If he felt like give in, felt like giving up he would remember this vision, and take heart and go forward. Later on the eve of the Battle of Jericho, he met God- “the captain of the Lords host.” (Joshua 5:13-15). His experience was not a “one off” but God continued to meet with him. Isaiah had a vision and never was the same, Paul had a vision of Christ and it changed his life completely, he would not let anything stop him from serving the Lord, including beatings, shipwrecks, being ostracised, having people make false accusations against him though times of sickness, he never was the same. John had a vision of God and never was the same. The vision is always before you. What is your vision? Not what is the churches vision but have you encountered God recently?
Moses and Joshua Come Down the Mountain
Only to Find the People Doing Evil
After forty days God said to Moses, “Go, get down! For thy people have forgotten already.” “They have corrupted themselves and turned aside quickly from what I commanded them”. They turned away for God’s Word. It still happens in the Church today. Many turn away from the Word of God. They forgot their great deliverance out of Egypt. Moses, with the tables of stone in his hand, comes down the mount with Joshua following. They hear a great noise in the valley (vs 18). Joshua is a man of war. He becomes alert and ready to fight, and he says, “There is a sound of war in the camp.” And Moses replies, “There is no war in the camp…” “Its not the sound of war but of singing.” During the time Moses and Joshua were gone, the people turned to idols. They gathered together offerings of gold, made them an Egyptian goddess—Hathor, with a moon between her horns, presiding over the joy and festivities of heathen orgies. And the people were naked dancing around the god who had delivered them out of the hand of the Egyptians. That was one of the saddest days in Moses’ life. He was angry and threw the stones on the ground and they broke.
Moses Leaves Joshua in His Tent Outside the Camp
Vs 7-11 Moses was overwhelmed by what he saw. He took the two tables of stone, and in his wrath and in his fury, he dashed them to the rocks and brake them beneath his feet. He took his own tent out of the camp. And outside, where he could be alone in communion with God, he placed his tent outside the camp and away from the people. He did not dare leave them to go up into the mount, lest they fall again into worse sins and debauchery. Then God spake to him; and the people in contrition and repentance went out to the tent of Moses. And the Lord spake to Moses and said, “Moses, come back up, come back up.” And Moses left Israel in the hands of Joshua. Joshua stayed in Moses’ tent. Joshua was so overcome with Gods presence that he would not leave the Tabernacle. He stayed in the tent outside the camp. Have you ever been in that place where you do not want to leave a meeting and the presence of God? Have you ever been in your prayer room or study and did not want to leave? You don’t even want to eat? Moses called it —the tent of meetings, to which Israel came in contrition and in humility. This was before the tabernacle was built. Joshua stayed there and administered Israel while Moses was gone.
Joshua Wants to Defend
His Leader Was Taught To Be Fair
Moses leadership was being challenged. This young soldier sees people rising up in opposition to Moses. He was alarmed and jealous for Moses. (vs 28-29). He wanted to defend him. Many pastors, many leaders, many elders run away when there is trouble but the disciplined person goes into the battle. Moses sends for the seventy who are prophesying in the camp. Sixty-eight of them obey. But two of them, Eldad and Medad, refuse to come. They refuse to obey, they are obstinate, and rebellious. Disobedience is the one unforgivable sin of a marching army. Joshua was taught not to be small minded and that God uses other people. Joshua speaks out, he said to Moses, “My lord, forbid them.” And Moses replied, “Joshua, they have got the Spirit of the Lord upon them. They are all prophesying and shouting and singing praises to God there in the camp. And if two of them refuse to obey me filled with the Spirit of God shouting and prophesying in the camp do you want to hold up my side? Are you envious for my sake? Do you think that I am to be hurt because these two do not come at my bidding?” “No,” says Moses to his young lieutenant. “Let them go; let them go. If they refuse to come, let them go. If they have taken to themselves prophetic offices, preaching offices that you think belong just to me, let them go. “Enviest thou for my sake? I just would that all God’s people were prophets and all of them were filled with the Spirit of the Lord.”
Joshua defends Moses because he loved and honoured and reverenced the man of God. If you love someone and somebody says or does something to harm them or dishonour them you naturally jump to their defence. Joshua was jealous for, Moses whom he loved. Do you have such devotion and friendship for your leaders, for your friends, for your family? Or do you just let people say what they want and don’t confront them?
Faith in Difficult Circumstances
Joshua Sent to Spy out the Land at Kadsesh-barnea
Moses sent out twelve spies to spy out the Promised Land. Joshua is one of the spies, representing Ephraim. They spent forty days there. And he came back with Caleb and said, “We are able.” They were men of faith and looked with faith. They said, “Do not far the people of the land, for our bread they are” (Heb. 14:9). They are a piece of cake. All we have to do is move in (vs 30; 14:9). The rest said, “We are not able.” We are not able we are like grasshoppers. They will squash us. We could not do it. We cannot do that. Then they tried to stone Joshua and Caleb (14:1-10). And all of the rest of them were sentenced wander in the wilderness for forty years and die in it. The majority is not always right. If they were Luther would not have pushed forward with the ninety five thesis against Rome, Carey would not have gone to the mission field and been the father of modern missions, Booth would not have suffered being stoned in the streets when he wanted to help and to evangelise the poor. One of the biggest problems in the church today is to do it because “everybody is doing it therefore it must be right.” Only two in our text were right, Caleb and Joshua. It takes guts to stand alone, to stand against wrong doctrines. To confront those who have no faith in God’s word, they will want to stone you, want to see you dead. These were men of character, men of quality, men of faith. They truly believed God , they had faith.
Joshua’s Filled With the Spirit is Commission
Moses had chosen Joshua, but when the time came to choose a successor, Moses took it to the Lord. That’s the way it supposed to be. The Lord said, “Moses, that young man that you have chosen who has been so loyal and faithful a lieutenant by your side, that young man. The Holy Spirit was upon Joshua. This is an important requirement for leadership. (c.f. Acts 6:3-5). Men full of the Spirit and wisdom. There is no spiritual leadership apart from the fullness of the Holy Spirit. All believers should be Spirit Filled.
Vs 18-23 Take thee Joshua, . . . A man in whom is the Spirit, and lay thine hand upon him; and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight. And thou shalt put some of thine honor upon him, that all the congregation of Israel may be obedient. And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, . . . And Moses did as the Lord commanded him: and he took Joshua, and set him before Eleazar the priest, . . . And he laid his hands upon him, and gave him a charge, as the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses.
Deuteronomy 34:8-9 God buried Moses in a valley in the land of Moab over against Beth-peor. 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. 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
God has got a man for the place. He has got somebody for every task! When we pray God will reveal the man. Joshua was God’s man to lead His people into the Promised Land.
Joshua 1:2 is, “Moses my servant is dead.” Moses was dead but not God. The work of God is in no way hindered by the death of His servants, no matter how great or important they are. The workman may be removed, but the work goes forward as ordained by God.