Joshua: A Role Model

joshua1

Whether we like to admit it or not, we all have our “role models.” When we were children, our very first role models were probably our parents. As we grew, and our circle of acquaintances expanded, people like teachers, a neighbor we admired, the cop on the beat, or even the garbage man became role models. Even our peers – our best friends or the “cool kids” at school took on the the role of role model. As adults, we still have role models, although we wouldn’t dare call them that. People we admire; who have achieved some notoriety; who have become successful; these are all people who have the potential of becoming role models. A role model is somebody, for whatever reason, we think is special and posseses the qualities we wish we had or that we are trying to cultivate in our own lives. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with that, by the way, but we need to make sure the person we are trying to emulate is worthy of emulation. After all, a guy like Adolph Hitler had astounding political success, but he’s probably not the best role model for anybody!

In Christian circles, there are all kinds of excellent role models. We can think of people the apostle Paul, or just about any of the apostles for that matter. In church history there are people like Luther and Calvin, Arminius and Augustine, or any of the great martyrs – role models all. But there is a character in the Old Testament who is a role model of the highest character: Joshua, successor to Moses, whose life and character give us a striking illustration of how a mere mortal may receive and enjoy the promised blessings of God. It was Joshua, not Moses, who led the Israelites into the Canaan, which itself represents the very best promise of God. In fact, of Canaan we read this in the New Testament:

“That is why I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.’ So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ” (Hebrews 3:10, 11 NIV)

Canaan is representative of God’s rest; not a rest of ease and relaxation, but a rest of hardship, warfare and victory, at least as far as the Israelites were concerned. Entering God’s rest for the rest of us is simply this: Entering fully and purposefully into the plans and purposes of God, quietly and deliberately resting in Him alone to accomplish His plans and purposes for you. Not all believers seem able to do that. Joshua was able to, and so should we. If you’re a believer who has problems “entering God’s rest”; if you find it difficult discerning, accepting, and entering into God’s plans, then hopefully this look at Joshua will help. He is a most compelling role model.

Have faith in the promises of God!

“Now that my disciple is dead, you are the new leader of Israel. Lead my people across the Jordan River into the Promised Land. I say to you what I said to Moses: ‘Wherever you go will be part of the land of Israel…” (Joshua 1:2, 3 TLB)

For some four decades, Moses had led the people of Israel round and round and round the desert until almost all of that sinful, rebellious generation had died. None of them would be allowed to enter the Promised Land. All during that time, God spoke to Moses and through Moses. Joshua, a little younger than he, was witness to the remarkable relationship God had with Moses. Then the day came when this leader of the Hebrews died and it was time for Joshua to take over. He knew the day would come; it was not a surprise when the Lord commissioned him to assume the mantle of leadership. And yet, what a daunting task it must have seemed. As was the custom, there was a national period of mourning that lasted 30 days, and when that time was up, it was time to move on. You may be sure Joshua felt the loss of Moses down to the very core of his being. They were more than friends. The two had traveled far together – from Egypt to the cusp of the Promised Land. Through all the ups and downs of those 40 years of traveling in the desert. By now, Joshua wasn’t a young man. But the work of God never stops – it must never be allowed to stop. God’s servants come and go, but the work remains; it is the one constant; it always presses on regardless of circumstances and feelings.

God appointed Joshua to be Moses’ successor, but Joshua was not to forget his predecessor. In fact, God reminded him of three big things concerning Moses. First, it was to Moses and Moses alone that God gave the promise of Canaan. Second, God was always with Moses as he led the people of Israel. In other words, Moses didn’t do the job using his own strength and knowledge. And third, the law given to the people by God through Moses was to continue in the Promised Land.

Joshua was a man of faith. In some ways, he had more faith than Moses did. Yet Joshua needed a role model: Moses. Moses was given by God to be a sort of inspiration to Joshua. And as Moses had faith in the promises of God, so must Joshua. Yes, God had given His people Canaan by His Word, but they had to actually enter in, fight for it, and plant the foot of faith upon that Word of the Lord.

Christians have the Word of God, too, operating in their lives. And we must be like Joshua: Ready to seize it, and put it to work. We must be like Peter: Ready to take that step of faith as God leads us to. Like all the heroes of faith listed in Hebrews 11, our faith will be tested; it’s to precious not to be. Joshua is the perfect role model in this regard.

Be dedicated to God’s will!

But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into his treasury. (Joshua 6:18, 19 NIV)

We all know the story of how the Hebrews took the city of Jericho upon entering Canaan.  Day after day, the people of Jericho were warned. They were called upon to consider the living God of the Israelites. They witnessed His people. But God’s patience does have an end. On the seventh day, mercy and grace came to an end and judgment took their place. The wages of sin fell upon Jericho and its godless inhabitants.

To this, we cheer! We want to see sin come to an end and sinners get their just deserts. And yet, at what cost? Joshua and his people were the instruments of judgment. When the walls came down by a divine act, it was time for God’s people to do some of the work; it was time for them to “get their hands dirty.”

Then they burned the whole city and everything in it, but they put the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the Lord’s house. (Joshua 6:24 NIV)

Could you do that? If it was God’s will for you to “burn the whole city and everything in it,” including children, the elderly, dogs and cats, could you? Such obedience demands total dedication and consecration to His will. For the tenderhearted reading this, it would do well to recall the words of the psalmist:

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it… (Psalm 24:1 NIV)

By faith, we know this. And by the same faith we know that God can’t and doesn’t ignore evil especially where that evil may touch His people. Joseph Sizoo, one-time pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington DC, once wrote:

Whatever contaminates the life and religion of the people, leading to inevitable compromise, was to be utterly destroyed. Sin is desperately contagious; it cannot go unpunished.

In a similar vein, Marcus Dodds observed:

One would suppose that when we have been taught by the sacrifice of Christ the value God sets upon holiness in us, we should be found living in fear of contagion from the evil of the world, and counting ourselves of some value.

The point is this: Joshua was up to the task of carrying out God’s will both for the people of Israel, but also for the people of Jericho. And he performed the assignment; he carried out God’s will. He was dedicated to it and he was consecrated to His God. He’s our role model. It’s unlikely in the extreme any of us will ever be called upon to do what Joshua was called upon to do, but in his dedication and consecration, he should serve as our role model.

Fellowship with God

To Joshua, God made this promise:

No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. (Joshua 1:5 NIV)

The promises of God to any one of His people are just as reliable as they were to His own Son, and God’s presence should be to us just as real and abiding. Joshua believed without exception this promise from God, so much so, he was able to stand up and declare:

Joshua said to the Israelites, “Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God. This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. (Joshua 3:9, 10 NIV)

For his whole life, Joshua knew God was with him and he knew God had been working. Even on his deathbed, this man’s dying testimony was this:

One of you routs a thousand, because the Lord your God fights for you, just as he promised. (Joshua 23:10 NIV)

What a role model. Here was a highly successful leader of men and armies, yet he knew any victory he experienced was due to God’s presence. He never forgot what God had told him. For the Christian, it’s tempting to forget about God when we don’t think we need Him. But the simple fact is, God made the same promise to us that He made to Joshua, and like Joshua we should never forget it and we should live like we believe it.

A life that honors God

Finally, the thing about Joshua that is so powerful is that his whole life was one long testimony for God. But he also left a legacy; a living legacy for future generations:

And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God. ” (Joshua 4:20 – 24 NIV)

He was mindful of how he lived and was concerned about what the up-and-coming generations would think as far as God was concerned. These stones are like works of faith; good works performed for the glory God; works that would outlive the one who performed them.

You and I who claim to be followers and disciples of Jesus Christ, should take the time to study the life and career of Moses’ successor, Joshua. He is an excellent role model for young and old alike.

 

Advertisements

0 Responses to “Joshua: A Role Model”



  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




Bookmark and Share

Another great day!

Blog Stats

  • 172,753 hits

Never miss a new post again.

Archives

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 220 other followers

Follow revdocporter on Twitter

Who’d have guessed?

My Conservative Identity:

You are an Anti-government Gunslinger, also known as a libertarian conservative. You believe in smaller government, states’ rights, gun rights, and that, as Reagan once said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’”

Take the quiz at www.FightLiberals.com

Photobucket

%d bloggers like this: