JOSHUA’S JOURNEY IN OBEYING
THE VOICE OF GOD
By Rodney W. Francis
The life of Joshua (name means “Jah saves”) is a good illustration of the importance of our growing into a place with God where He can trust us to obey Him, even when He asks us to do radical things outside the ordinary.
The following Scriptures reveal something of the journey that Joshua took after he came to the attention of Moses the great man of God:
Exodus 17:8-16 : The first time Joshua is mentioned in Scripture. Moses got Joshua to choose some men to go and fight against the Amakelites: “So Joshua did as Moses said to him.” Joshua needed to learn to submit to a more senior and recognized leader of God’s people. Moses tutored or mentored him. Who is able to “speak into your life”?
Exodus 24:12-18 : Moses recognized the potential and quality in young Joshua, so took him on as his assistant: “So Moses arose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up to the mountain of God.” The glory of God rested on them for seven days (v. 16). Do others see the potential and quality in you?
Exodus 33:11 (NKJV): “So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle”. Joshua experienced that place of abiding in the presence of the Lord, the place where God speaks more clearly. How is your devotional life with Jesus? Do you know when He speaks to you?
Exodus 33:11 (New Living Translation): “Inside the Tent of Meeting, the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. Afterward Moses would return to the camp, but the young man who assisted him, Joshua son of Nun, stayed behind in the Tent of Meeting”.
Numbers 11:16-30 : When the Spirit of prophecy fell on the seventy elders (plus others), Joshua did not comprehend what was happening, and wanted Moses to put a stop to the people prophesying. Moses response was: “Oh, that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them!” (v.29). Are you using the gifts of the Holy Spirit that God has put within you?
Numbers 13:1-8 : Joshua was one of the twelve spies chosen to go and search out the land. He was chosen because he was recognized as being a leader. Only he and Caleb came back with a good report (Numbers 14:6-10 ). In the midst of a negative and unbelieving people, Joshua and Caleb had the courage to speak out and stand with the purposes of God. That would not have been easy to do. When they spoke out, the people wanted to stone them ~ their words of faith and God were rejected wholeheartedly! How do you handle opposition?
Numbers 27:18-23 (Deuteronomy 31:14-15 , 23): God spoke to Moses that Joshua was his successor; that the Spirit of God was in Joshua. Moses obeyed God and publicly announced God’s choice and also imparted his wisdom into Joshua (Deuteronomy 34:9 ) so the people knew it was God’s and Moses will for Joshua to be their new leader. Are you encouraging and building up others to fulfil their calling in God?
Numbers 32 : 12 (Numbers 26:65 ; Deuteronomy 1:34-38 ): Out of all the people who came out of Egypt with Moses, only two ~ Joshua and Caleb! ~ were able to enter the promised land. Why? God said: “For they have wholly (“to be full of, accomplish” – Strong’s) followed Me.” They had a different spirit to the rest of the people! (Numbers 14:27 , 30). Are you living fully for Jesus? It takes a different spirit to the “status quo”!
Deuteronomy 1:38 (Deuteronomy 3:21 , 28; Deuteronomy 31:7 ): God saw something in Joshua that, if encouraged (“to strengthen, harden, fix” – Young’s), would rise up and cause the people to inherit their inheritance. What has God seen in you and me?
Deuteronomy 31:3 : Moses speaking to the Israelites, affirmed Joshua as an obedient leader: “The Lord your God Himself crosses over before you; He will destroy these nations from before you, and you shall dispossess them. Joshua himself crosses over before you, as the Lord has said.” Obedience is the key!
Joshua 1 : After Moses departure, God spoke directly to Joshua, personally encouraging him to be “strong and of good courage” and to know “Have not I commanded you?” (v.9). To do the things God was going to ask of him demanded those characteristics to be strong in his life. We need these same qualities today!
Joshua 3:7-10 : God spoke to Joshua that He would personally exalt Joshua in the sight of all Israel. He instructed him what to do: “You shall command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, saying, ‘When you have come to the edge of the water of the Jordan, you shall stand in the Jordan.’ So Joshua said to the children of Israel, ‘Come here, and hear the words of the Lord your God . . . by this you shall know that the living God is among you, and that He will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites and the Hittites and the . . .’” And they crossed over the Jordan River on dry ground!
Joshua 5:13-15 : Joshua experienced a visitation from a Man with a drawn sword in His hand, who identified himself as the Commander of the Lord’s army! “As Commander of the Lord’s army I have now come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?” Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so. There are supernatural experiences for us too.
Joshua 6 : God spoke to Joshua and gave him the instructions for the victory over Jericho. God said: “You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days. And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat, . .”
Now Joshua had commanded the people, saying, “You shall not shout or make any noise with your voice, nor shall a word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I say to you, ‘Shout!’ Then you shall shout” (v. 10). Obedience to the word of the Lord in every situation is vital.
God’s way of bringing them the victory was very unorthodox. It was a creative new thing. Joshua’s training had all been to help him to clearly recognize the voice of God and to obey whatever He said. That is why he was the great leader he was. This is what the prophetic ministry is all about. It is a very different way of life to the “norm” of Christianity.
Joshua 24:31 : “Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had known all the works of the Lord which He had done for Israel.”
Joshua died at 110 (Joshua 24:29 ).