Joshua was probably around 80 when he took over for Moses. 80.
I find that interesting, because one of the favorite passages of teenage boys – especially athletes – comes from Joshua 1. Moses has died, and God is giving Joshua a pep talk. This is part of what He says:
‘Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go’ (Joshua 1:9).
That’s the verse the teenage athletes like. No fear. Now, here’s why:
‘Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you’ (Joshua 1:5).
It’s probably important to know that Joshua’s story didn’t start with the book of the Bible that bears his name.
It started in Egypt. Joshua was a slave there, for somewhere around the first 40 years of his life. I’d say he got a good taste of that life.
Joshua was forged in slavery.
And for the man whose name literally means, ‘The Lord saves,’ Joshua got a great taste of salvation. Plagues. Passover. Red Sea crossing. Water from rocks. Manna like dew. Raining quail. Snakes on a pole. Salvation.
Joshua’s faithfulness as a leader started with God’s faithfulness.
Joshua’s faithfulness as a leader started with his faithfulness as a follower.
‘Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan and said to them, ‘Go up into the Negeb and go up into the hill country, and see what the land is, and whether the people who dwell in it are strong or weak, whether they are few or many, and whether the land that they dwell in is good or bad, and whether the cities that they dwell in are camps or strongholds, and whether the land is rich or poor, and whether there are trees in it or not. Be of good courage and bring some of the fruit of the land. Now the time was the season of the first ripe grapes. So they went up and spied out the land…’ (Numbers 13:17-21).
I should clarify. Joshua was a faithful follower of the Lord, not the crowd.
The crowd was pretty sure that even though the land was really nice, the army of Chuck Norrises there would rip them to shreds and prey on their women and children.
But not Moses, Aaron and Caleb. And not Joshua.
‘And Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes and said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, ‘The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, He will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the Lord‘ (Numbers 14:6-9).
Joshua was refined in the wilderness.
A leader like Joshua follows a God who saves.
A leader like Joshua is first a faithful follower.
Israel needed a leader like Joshua. The world needs more leaders like Joshua. Our churches need more Joshuas. Our households need more Joshuas.
Is that you?
It can be.