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Joshua Part 1: A Courageous Heart

Scripture: Exodus 17:8-16, Exodus 32:17, Numbers 13:1-33
Date: 02/03/2007 
The first in a six part series on the life of Joshua. He is a great character for us to study for he was one of the few who made it all the way from Egypt to the Promised Land. Joshua loved to be in the presence of God.
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Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the live broadcast. It is presented as spoken.

Good morning, Central family. I want to greet all of our visitors and wish you all a happy Sabbath day. We’re very thankful that you are here worshipping with us today.

This week as I was preparing for today’s message I actually had something different planned earlier in the week that I’ve actually reserved and God willing in the future I’ll complete that message, but I felt impressed and I was praying as I often do. I sit there at my computer and I’ve got Bibles around me and a lot of Bible resources on my computer and I was saying, “Lord, this is a frightening responsibility, it’s an awesome responsibility to stand before these people and to try to be a conduit through which, Lord, You are going to speak to these people. What do You want to say? I always have ideas that are interesting to me, but it may not be what You want to say, Lord.” It was amazing how quickly and how directly God impressed me with a subject that was totally different and the more I delved into the subject the more I became convinced this is really something God wants us to consider. The subject is dealing with a great character in the Bible that I’ve never really done a series on by the name of Joshua and the message this morning will probably only be the first part which could end up being two or three parts depending on how long I elaborate really. Dealing with the subject of Joshua: A Courageous Heart. This is one of the great characters in the Bible. The name Joshua means Jehovah is Salvation or Jehovah Yahweh saves.

His name is the name of Jesus. Matter of fact, the first time you find the name of Jesus in the Bible is in association with the character we’re going to study. So that’s important. Keep in mind New Testament is Greek, the Old Testament Hebrew. The New Testament or Greek way of saying Joshua, well the Hebrew way is Yashua. The Greek translation of that is Jesus. That’s where we get the name Jesus. When the angel spoke to Mary and said, “You will call His name Jesus,” and the angel told Joseph, “You will call His name Jesus,” the angel didn’t say Jesus. He said, “You will call His name Joshua for He will save His people from their sins.” His name means Jehovah is salvation. Another reason I thought it was a good idea to study the character of Joshua: he’s a great pattern for our lives in that Joshua is one of the few who made it all the way from Egypt to the Promised Land. Most of them perished in the wilderness. I would like to make it all the way to the Promised Land from the slavery of Egypt. How about you? So I thought this would be a good study for us. Now I’m a history buff. One of the few subjects I did well at in school. Let me ask you all a question, test your history knowledge. Who was the first one to circumnavigate the globe? Magellan. How many agree? Mistaken, that’s not his name. Mistaken is not his name.

I’m saying Magellan is not the one. It was actually the captain associate of Magellan by the name of Juan Sebastián Elcano. You see Magellan is the one who assembled the team of five ships, two hundred and seventy men. They had a lot of adventures, tried to find the Spice Islands, went around what ended up being the Cape of Magellan, Tierra del Fuego. You know how it got the name Tierra del Fuego? As they were going around the South American coast they saw all the Indian tribes with campfires and they said it’s the land of fire because at night they could see fires burning all along the shore, but Magellan died in the Philippines. He got involved in a local dispute he should have stayed out of and got killed in the battle. He did not complete the trip. The one who made the trip all the way was only one of his five captains and it was Juan Sebastián Elcano. Matter of fact, out of the two hundred and seventy men and five ships three years later, forty-eight thousand miles later (they didn’t make a direct route as you can tell), only eighteen men and one ship made it back. I thought that you’d find that interesting. When people talk about who led the children of Israel from Egypt to the promised land they always say Moses. Moses actually didn’t make it. The one who made it the whole way is our hero Joshua. So I thought we’d take some time to look at this neglected hero. Another reason I think it’s so very important is not only does he have the same name as our Savior. His name was Jesus in Greek Joshua same name.

He’s called Joshua the son of Nun. It sounds like how could anyone be the son of none? That’s another prophetic meaning in English anyway. But the word Nun means perpetuity continually or eternal. So here you have someone who’s got the name of Jesus the son of the eternal. Furthermore who here knows the name of Joshua’s wife? Anybody? What was the name of Moses’ wife? Zipporah. And Joshua’s wife was? And his children’s names were? It tells us who he is the son of. I called a theologian yesterday just to double check but I said I can’t find any descendants of Joshua. It stops there. He evidently never married. His whole life was dedicated in the service of God and Moses and God’s people, something like Jesus, married to the church. So he is a type of Christ and he’s also a pattern for us because ultimately of course Jesus is our pattern. Amen? Something of a neglected hero that we find in the Old Testament and as I began to look at all the adventures and the miracles and the experiences of Joshua I thought, oh, this is going to be more than one message so let’s get started.

First time his name appears it appears in the context of a general. Let me give you the background. He’s the first general in the Bible. The children of Israel when they first went through the Red Sea got to the other side, celebrated, they sang the praises the Lord had destroyed the Egyptians behind them, but as they began their journey it’s hard to hide a nation of one and a half to three million people wandering through the desert. There was a very fierce and warlike tribe, actually a series of tribes, that lived in the deserts there around the Sinai Peninsula in Saudi Arabia called the Amalekites. They were the constant enemies of God’s people. Matter of fact, you can trace the animosity from the Amalekites to God’s people all the way to the book of Esther where you’ve got someone by the name of Haman who is an Agagite who is the King of the Amalekites. All the way in the book of Esther they’re trying to exterminate the children of Israel. The Amalekites when they saw the children of Israel going through the wilderness the Bible says that the old, the aged, the weak they were the ones who usually were in the rear and the Amalekites began to attack the children of Israel on their rear flanks of their procession and to take advantage of those who were sick, those who were old, those who were weak and to slaughter them, to plunder them.

When Moses saw what was happening he appointed the first general and let’s read it here out of the Bible. Exodus 17:9 “And Moses said to Joshua,” bingo! His name appears. No background to tell us. We’ve got other things in the Bible that give us some background, but this is the first appearance of the name of Jesus in the Bible. It’s in the context of a deliverer. He is saving them from the Amalekites who were like the devil and his minions. He said, “Choose us some men and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand.” Now Joshua assembled a group of what he thought were capable men. Keep in mind how big an army did Israel have when they came out of Egypt? They had no army. They had been slaves. There were none of them that were trained for war. There may have been some that had some experience because of the masters they served in Egypt, but for the most part they made brick, they were artisans and all of a sudden now they’ve got to be soldiers. So Joshua has to assemble men who he thought had some of the raw materials to be soldiers and they armed them with, you know, what do they have? Maybe they took a few Egyptian swords that washed up… No, swords don’t float, do they? I don’t know where they got them, but maybe they got some swords, maybe they had their shepherd’s crooks. Who knows? They took some of their farm implements, and they were to go fight against this warlike desert people. Moses said, I’ll be up on the mountain. So the next day they were engaged in battle in the valley.

Moses is up on the mountain; he’s got the rod of God in his hand. His hands are stretched out and he’s interceding. As long as Joshua and the soldiers of God could see Moses on the mountain interceding with his hands stretched out the battle began to go in their favor, but as the day went on, Moses is eighty plus years old now. His arms are getting tired. His arms begin to drop. Whenever I read this story in the Bible I think about how they punished us in military school. When we misbehaved in military school we used to have to stand and hold our arms out and you can only do that for so long. Try and do it for fifteen minutes. You’d be surprised how heavy your arms get just after fifteen minutes. It wasn’t long into the battle when Moses realized especially he’s holding the rod of God too. I don’t know how heavy that was and his arms are starting to go down and just as his arms go down they start losing the battle. So he fights his arms back up again and they start to win, and then his arms go down. Can you imagine the pressure? You know when you lower your arms people die. Pretty soon his brother Aaron and Hur, we don’t know what his background is, they come and they get on the right and the left of Moses and they prop up his arms, they set Moses down on a rock so he can rest and he’s got his arms stretched out, probably his fingers turn white by the end of the day because there’s no circulation, and about the going down of the sun they gained the victory. Joshua was down there fighting. You’ve got this basically this trinity that they are looking up to and when they can see them interceding they win, Moses, Aaron, Hur sitting on a rock, the symbol of Christ, arms stretched out a symbol of the cross.

Didn’t Jesus say to Peter, “When you’re young you gird yourself, went where you wished, but when you’re old another will gird you and you will stretch forth your hands.” How did Samson die? Last thing he did is he stretched out his arms to deliver God’s people from their enemies. So here you’ve got the first picture of Joshua is the one who led them to victory. They got the victory as long as they could see up in the mountain there Moses interceding on their behalf. How do we get the victory against our enemy? We’ve got to know that we can come boldly before the throne, that we look up. Jesus said, “If I am lifted up I will draw all men unto Me.” So here Moses is a type of Christ. Joshua is the general and he led them into victory. Now it’s interesting that he went into battle and as you read the different battles of Joshua in the Bible he knew how to combine brilliant strategy with trust in divine power. It’s interesting that as you look at some of the great generals in history, most of the great generals also believed in divine aid. Not too many good generals… even Napoleon believed in divine aid. Alexander the Great believed in divine aid.

You find out also that Joshua has a servant’s heart. Even though he is a victorious general he had the heart of a servant. You notice in Exodus 24:13 it says and “Moses arose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up to the mountain of God.” Now I’ll talk more about that in a minute. If you read in Numbers 11:28 and 29 and this is from the New American Standard Bible. I chose that because it really does give a different meaning here. “Joshua the son of Nun, the attendant of Moses from his youth…” Now as near as we can figure based on all the times when you add them up during the exodus and the book of Joshua, Joshua was somewhere around thirty-eight to forty years of age during the plagues of Egypt. You weren’t considered an old man in Israel until you got to fifty. Before fifty you were still a young man. Quite frankly I hate to explode some of our concepts, but when it talks about David going against Goliath and it says that he was a youth, he could have been twenty-five. You weren’t considered a man until you were thirty to forty years of age. You’re still considered a young man until you were fifty. Keep in mind Aaron lived to a hundred and twenty-three, Moses a hundred and twenty, Miriam about a hundred and twenty-four. They lived a long time back then. This was in the age of the patriarchs.

It says he was the servant of Moses “from his youth.” Well, obviously he didn’t know Moses when he was in Midian. Probably what happened, and you’ve just got to piece this together and get some of the different commentators on this subject, when Moses first showed up and he began to meet with Israel before he went to Pharaoh somebody was going back and forth quite a bit between the Pharaoh and Moses who knew where Moses was. In the same way that Elijah had his Elisha, even Elisha had his Gehazi, a lot of these men of God had attendants, people who were their messengers, they were their servants. As soon as Moses showed up right there at his right hand someone was assigned to him and that was Joshua. Joshua was assigned or he chose or volunteered, we don’t know how it happened, to be the attendant of Moses. I want you to picture this now. When Moses and Aaron go into the Pharaoh and they had all these different exchanges there in the palace there may have been someone else that was at his side during that time and when Moses was summoned the Pharaoh said, “Get Joshua to go find Moses and bring him back to take care of these plagues.” I think Joshua must have been there from Moses’ first ministry as the redeemer because it says he was the servant of Moses “from his youth” meaning that from the beginning of Moses’ ministry Joshua was there at his side.

We don’t know exactly how long the time was when the plagues fell, but I just want you to picture Joshua was there. He was happy to serve Moses. He went up the mountain with Moses. This is significant because when God is ready to give the Ten Commandments to the children of Israel He specifically says nobody is to come near the mountain. It is the holy mountain of God. If an animal touches the mountain the animal was to be executed. But there were a couple of exceptions. Moses was one exception. He went not only to touch the mountain, he went up the mountain. Who else went up the mountain with Moses? Joshua did. He had special exposure you might say to the presence of God that others did not have. I read this to you before, “Moses arose with his assistant Joshua and went up the mountain of God.” You can also read Exodus 32:17 “And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, ‘There is a noise of war in the camp.’” Joshua was not down in the valley when the built the golden calf. He didn’t know what was going on down there. Why? Because he was still up the mountain with Moses. How many of you have that picture in your mind, you realize that? Now, how did he stay up the mountain forty days and forty nights with no food? It’s possible that Joshua went up the mountain with Moses when Moses went to meet with God and made periodic trips down to get provisions and went back up and he waited. He may have walked right up into the glory there and seen the glory of God on the mountain. Can you imagine what a sight that was? He cherished that. So here Joshua is sort of a go-between between Moses and the people. What is our Joshua? Isn’t our Jesus the bridge? Jesus is the ladder between heaven and earth.

Jesus said to Nathaniel, “Hereafter you will see angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” I think during that forty days I don’t think he camped out right there hiding behind a rock waiting for Moses to reappear on the trail. I think periodically he went back down and he said, “He’s still in the cloud, but I’m going back up.” He’d go back up and he’d wait for him. A few days later he’d come back down, “He’s still in the cloud. Hang in there.” He’d go back up. Well, one of these times while he was still up the mountain, might have taken provisions with him, they got tired of waiting for Moses, didn’t they? They made a golden calf. Joshua had nothing to do with that. That’s good to know. You’ll find there is no example in the Bible of Joshua sinning. There are examples in the Bible where people deceived Joshua. That’s different, isn’t it? But he was faithful; when he knew what was right, he did what was right. So he is up on the mountain. They’re making a golden calf. After they make the golden calf… and isn’t it sad? Moses was just getting ready to come back and they just got tired of waiting. Talked about this a little last week, they took their jewelry, they made a God. It says they worshipped. Then they ate and drank, had a potluck after the worship. Nothing wrong with that, right? Then they rose up to play and it got out of hand evidently. They had a social and they got out of hand. They not only had the worship and the potluck then they had the social and by the end of the social they were naked. That’s what it says. They’re having a party down there and it’s loud! Matter of fact, it’s so loud, Joshua who evidently had some experience in war he finally sees Moses coming out of the cloud, his face is glowing, he’s got the Ten Commandments. Joshua said, “Boy, I’m glad you’re here. Just in time! It sounds like we’re being attacked. There’s a war in the camp.” God had already told Moses what was going on. He said, “You better get back down there; the people have corrupted themselves.” They had begun to worship like the Egyptians just before Moses came back.

Now this is a little sidetrack but I can’t miss this opportunity to remind you, the devil has not changed. Our Jesus is about to return and in the same way Moses and Joshua came down the mountain. Here Moses is almost a type of the Father. Christ is coming in the glory of the Father, isn’t He? Moses came down the mountain with the glory of God, the Law of God, and Joshua by his side. That’s how our Joshua is coming back, but when they came what happened to his people? They had begun to worship like the pagans and it sounded like the sound of war in the camp. Do you remember what Moses said and I’m paraphrasing because we have a lot to cover this morning. Moses with breaking heart said to Joshua, “That is not the sound of those who are crying from being overcome that you hear, neither is it the sound of those who shout because of gaining the victory but it is the sound of those who sing.” Sing as in drunken songs. They’re having a party. So they come back down the mountain and of course Moses cast the Ten Commandments out of his hand, they crushed the golden calf, made the people drink it. He had to go back up the mountain to get another transcript. First time God cut the stones. The second time God said, “I cut the first ones; you cut these.” But God wrote with His finger on both, didn’t He? Who do you think went back up with him the second time? Joshua went back up there with him. He was happy to be a servant of Moses. Just to be in the presence of the aura of God was a privilege for him.

He had a devoted heart. Joshua had a devoted heart. Here is something that I never caught before until I began to study this story of Joshua. Exodus 33:10-11 God is speaking to Moses at the tabernacle. Tabernacle is built at this point, Ark is built. “And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped,” the glory of God is rising above the tabernacle and all the people rose out of respect for the presence of God. “…every man in his tent door.” Probably with their heads bowed. “So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.” Notice this. “And he turned again into the camp…” Moses leaves the tabernacle after ministering or meeting with God, he goes into the camp, but… Have you got your Bible’s open? “…his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tabernacle.” I like that. How many people are looking at their watch as church cranks to a conclusion saying, “How much longer?” I think we need more young people like Joshua in the church who want to bask in the presence of God; they want more of God.

Even after Moses left the service he said, “I’m going to stay. The glory of God! I want to be in the presence of God.” He wanted to be up on the mountain with God. His desire was to be in the presence of God. He wanted to come to the tabernacle and didn’t want to rush out. I thought that was interesting, “…but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man,” he “would not depart.” I can just picture Moses saying, “Alright I’ve got a message for the people, Joshua. Joshua?” And Joshua is going, “Go ahead. I’ll stay right here.” Just wanted the glory of God; wanted to be in the presence of God. I want to have that experience, don’t you? He had a devoted heart. Sometimes his devotion maybe seemed a little bit maybe even fanatical. When Moses realized that he could not administer this great people, his father-in-law Jethro said, “Look, you need to delegate.” And God said, “I’m going to take some of the Spirit that I’ve given you, Moses, and I’m going to give it to some elders. I want you to pick out the seventy elders.” He picked the seventy elders, told them, “Bring them to the tabernacle and I’ll take the Spirit from you and put it on them.”

But two of them didn’t show. Eldad and Medad for whatever reason, maybe they didn’t feel worthy, when they were called to the tabernacle they didn’t come. And the Holy Spirit fell on the seventy elders and they began to prophesy. They were given the spirit of Moses just like Elisha was given the spirit of Elijah. Actually it’s all God’s Spirit. None of these patriarchs have a patent on it. You realize that. Then Joshua saw that Eldad and Medad who weren’t even at the tabernacle were suddenly filled with the Spirit and they began to preach and to prophesy and they’re glowing and Joshua said, “Oh no! This belongs to Moses and now everyone else is going to think they’re in charge.” He was worried, and he came to Moses and Joshua, this is verse 28 of Numbers 11 and verse 29. “Joshua the son of Nun, the attendant of Moses from his youth, said, ‘Moses, my lord, restrain them.’ But Moses said to him, ‘Are you jealous for my sake?’” (speaking to Joshua) “Would that all the LORD'S people were prophets, that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!” Was Moses jealous that others were given the gift of the Spirit or was he saying, “I wish that all of them had this gift of the Spirit.” Joshua didn’t understand. He thought that they were going to lose respect for Moses and it was going to now go to these seventy elders and he needed some guidance there.

Now we get into one of the areas where Joshua really shines. After they build the tabernacle they migrate back from Mt. Horeb, Mt. Sinai to the borders of the Promised Land and they are preparing, they should have gone in at this point. The Lord originally directed them to go south to receive the Ten Commandments, to build the tabernacle, and now they were to go to take possession. As they’re nearing the borders of the Promised Land the people get a little bit apprehensive. They said, “We weren’t even hardly ready when the Amalekites attacked us and they’re just a desert tribe. There are mighty nations that live in this land. We barely beat the Amalekites. I mean, Moses dropped his hands and we lost. What’s going to happen when we cross over? We’d better find out what’s going on over there.” They came to Moses. Deuteronomy chapter one says the people came to Moses and asked to send spies. It was not God’s idea. You read about it in Numbers chapter thirteen it makes it sound like God thought this up. He was accommodating their request. So Moses picks. He says, “I want to be fair. They’re going to all want to hear the report from their own tribe, and so I’ll get representatives from all the tribes.” Joshua is from the tribe of Ephraim which is kind of interesting because Ephraim really became the leader of the ten tribes of the Northern Empire.

He wasn’t from Benjamin or Levi like Moses was or even Judah like Jesus was. He was from the common folk, you might say, which is another example of Christ. So Joshua goes as the representative from Ephraim and they’ve got these other… Matter of fact, turn with me in your Bibles. We’re going to read this out of the Bible. Book of Numbers 13:1 “And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel; from each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a leader among them.’” So evidently Joshua is a leader among the people of Ephraim. We already saw that he was a general. And it lists their names and most of their names kind of slip into obscurity, and I’m not going to even try and read them all. Verse 16, “These are the names of the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun, Joshua.” It’s interesting there that his name was Hoshea which means Yahweh is savior, but he calls him a little different derivative of that. And the other name we remember is Caleb the son of Jephunneh. So he “sent them to spy out the land of Canaan.” I’m in verse 17 of Numbers 13. “Go up this way into the South, and go up to the mountains, and see what the land is like: whether the people who dwell in it are strong or weak, few or many; whether the land they dwell in is good or bad; whether the cities they inhabit are like camps or strongholds; whether the land is rich or poor; and whether there are forests there or not. Be of good courage. And bring some of the fruit of the land.” Notice bring some of the fruit of the land. “Now the time was the season of the first ripe grapes.” I remember reading in history the story of Lewis and Clark.

You’ve heard me refer to it several times. I’m a little bit of a buff. To me it was the great adventure in history. Got this new country that is still virtually virgin in its state and Thomas Jefferson has just bought country he’s never seen. It’s like that man that said I bought land and I need to go see it. Louisiana Purchase basically bought the land all the way from the Mississippi to the Pacific from Napoleon who didn’t think it was worth anything. Another bad move. So Thomas Jefferson gets this Lewis and Clark expedition and he charges them, he says, “Go find out what we bought. Look at the land. See if it’s good or bad. See what the tribes are like. Bring back some of the plants and the animals so we can know what kind of diversity there is.” You know Jefferson was something of a scientist so they made this epic two-year adventure across the country and came back and there was great celebration when they came back trying to find out what there was. They brought a good report of what they saw and after the report of Lewis and Clark expansion west just exploded, but that’s not what happened to the twelve spies. Let’s read about it. Verse 21, “So they went up and spied out the land from the Wilderness of Zin as far as Rehob, near the entrance of Hamath. And they went up through the South and came to Hebron; Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the descendants of Anak…” They saw this country up there where the Anakin live, these giants. Verse 23 “Then they came to the Valley of Eshcol, and there cut down a branch with one cluster of grapes; they carried it between two of them on a pole.” This enormous cluster of grapes and not only was it a big cluster with a lot of grapes, I think every cluster was probably as big as your fist if you can picture that. And after spying the land they returned forty days later. They “came back to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the children of Israel in the Wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land.” Now I’ve got a theory. Patriarchs and Prophets seems to support this.

Two of them were carrying this staff that had this great big old fifty pound cluster of grapes. Who do you think they were? I think it was Joshua and Caleb because as the spies went through the land ten of them kept looking at all the obstacles; how big the walls of Jericho were (that of course were going to crumble anyway), how big the giants in Hebron were, and the fortifications and the Jebusites and the Canaanites and all of the ites in the land. They got intimidated by it, but Joshua and Caleb had faith. They said, “Look, the Lord just conquered the biggest nation in the world, Egypt, He can conquer these nations. We don’t know how. We don’t see exactly how He’s going to do it, but we trust God. He gave us the land.” So they began to look at the good things instead of the bad things. They said, “Wow! Look at the size of those dates! Look at the figs, how big they are. Look at the pomegranates. Look at the grapes.” So they’re stuffing their pockets and their satchels with all this food they want to show the people and they’re hearing the other spies talk about, “Oh, me! Oh, my! Look at how big they are. How could we ever conquer this land?” And as they begin to come back I think that Joshua and Caleb conspired. They said, “Look, we better get there first and set the mood. We better give the positive side of things because these guys are so negative they’re going to discourage everybody.” I think with their cluster of grapes and probably a cloud of fruit flies following them, they outran the other ten spies and they were the first ones there because notice how the language is when they first get back. They said, “We went to the land” verse 27 “where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit.” Good report so far, but the other ten caught up. Nevertheless, wait! Listen to us! We’ve got some bad news. By the way, what did Joshua bring? Good news or bad news? What did Jesus bring?

What does the gospel mean? Joshua brought good news, a good report. Then the negative people came and they said, “Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan.” And you could just see all of a sudden this wave of fear and despondency went across the crowd and they went “Oh, ah me!” You could just see it. Caleb read the crowd and he quieted the people. Why do you think he needed to quiet them? They’re already starting to mourn. “Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, ‘Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.’” Obviously there was a difference between the reporters who came back. Some said, “We can win.” The others said, “We can never win.” Do we have that in our society today? We’ve got both views, don’t we? A lot of people say, “It’s hopeless! No!” Phew, man. I don’t think we ever would have won WWII with that attitude. Obstacles were bigger then, by the way. I’m talking about WWII. Caleb said, “We are able.” I want to pause here and just bring out an important point. If you are a Christian and God in His word has given you a glimpse of the Promised Land you are to bring back a good report. You are to encourage people that you are able to be a Christian. He is able to give you victory. You can overcome. Seven times in Revelation Jesus says, “To him that overcomes.” Yes, you can. He is able to keep you from falling. We are able. We can be saved. You can make it. Jesus would not have done all that He did to suffer if it wasn’t possible for you to get to the Promised Land. Would God have done everything He did miraculously to get them out of Egypt if He couldn’t get them all the way to the Promised Land? Logically I mean obviously you can make it, but ten of them forgot that and all they could look at was the obstacles and they discouraged the others.

I am encountering even pastors that say, “We’re not really able.” Or “God may save us, but He doesn’t expect you really to overcome because the giants are too big. I mean, God doesn’t necessarily expect you to live a holy life because after all, the devil is so big and you’re so small.” They discourage people. They don’t even try to live a holy life. That really troubles me. I think that we ought to give the good news and give a positive report. Yes, you can! Here is the fruit. By the way, do we have a responsibility like Joshua and Caleb to show people fruits of the other land? What are the fruits of the other land? Galatians 5:22 “love, joy, peace…” You and I ought to bring back examples of the fruits of the land, say, “You can see it, you can taste it; it’s in my life.” If they see those fruits, they’ll say, “Hey! I think I’d like to go. That looks pretty good to me.” But they’ve got to see it, don’t they? Then they discouraged the people and it says here, verse 31, they disagreed with Caleb and Joshua “the men who had gone up with him said, ‘We are not able…’” Now you’ve got to choose, friends, there are two kinds of voices out there in the church. These are God’s people. Is that right? Is Israel God’s people? Two voices. One voice, the minority voice, notice Caleb and Joshua compared to ten, are saying we are able.

The majority voice, we’re not able. That’s still true today. It seems like it’s a smaller group that says, “You can live a holy life. You can be like Jesus. You can be an overcomer.” That’s the minority. It’s the majority that looks at all the obstacles to Godly living. “God doesn’t really expect you to… Just say a prayer. You’ll be saved, but don’t expect to be an overcomer.” They said, “‘We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.’ And they gave the children of Israel a bad report…” Joshua brought good news. They brought bad news. “…a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, ‘The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants…’” That’s another reason I think Joshua and Caleb are the ones who got there first because the first part says “flows with milk and honey.” These guys say it “devours its inhabitants” why, they’ve got thorns there. Joshua and Caleb said, “Look at the roses.” These guys said, “Look at the thorns.” Do we have both in the church today? You know on any given day in California you’ve got two birds that might be flying around. One is a vulture. The other is a hummingbird. They can fly over the exact same country and one is looking for every bright flower and sweet nectar; the other is looking for something dead.

They’re both looking at the same area. In the church, you’ve got vultures that just see all the problems, all the dirt, all the gossip, all the failures, all the falling, and they just love to talk about everything bad. For one thing, it seems to justify the sin in their life and that’s why they focus on it. And then you’ve got people who have got their eyes fixed on God like Joshua. They are looking for the nectar; they’re looking for the good things. I’d like to invite you, if you’ve been a buzzard, be a hummingbird would you please. You can choose what you want to be. You find what you look for. It’s like that old adage that says “Two men looked out of prison bars; one saw mud and one saw stars.” So if you want you can see mud or you can look up and you can see stars. One gave a good report, one gave a bad report. “And all the congregation lifted up their voices,” I’m in Numbers chapter 14, verse 1. “All the congregation lifted up their voices and wept.” You notice people are more inclined to believe the bad report. They wept all that night and the “children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, ‘If only we had died in the land of Egypt!’” Oh, don’t ever say that. “Or if only we had died in this wilderness! Why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt? So they said to one another, ‘Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.’”

Now how do you think Joshua felt who is the servant of Moses when he heard the people say pick another leader? How loyal was Joshua to Moses? Joshua almost came out of his skin when other people began to prophesy with the spirit of Moses. And so now they’re saying pick another leader. Well, those were fighting words for him. Verse 6, “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 they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel…” They ran in the midst of the people, they said, “The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land.” Not just good land. Now what are they saying? Exceedingly good land. Oh, friends, I wish you could see that land. I wish I could put it on the screen and you could see what God has got for those that love, you can’t even imagine it. “If the Lord delights in us, He will bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which flows with milk and honey.’ Only do not rebel against the Lord…” Now he’s beginning to chastise them. God had picked Moses. “…do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread,” they’re nothing for us. How did they get their bread in the wilderness? They just went out and picked it up. That’s what he’s saying.

We could just pick them off. They’re our bread. We’ll devour them. “Do not fear them.” “…the Lord is with us.” If the Lord is with us, we can make it. Do you believe that, friends? If the Lord is with us, we can be overcomers. “And all the congregation said tostone them with stones.” Now they’re going to kill, they’re going to execute Joshua and Caleb. I’ll tell you, when you’ve got a mob of about a million and a half against two, it looks hopeless, doesn’t it? They had the courage to go out there in this crowd. Popular opinion had turned totally against their report. Isn’t that right? Has popular opinion turned against the report that we can be godly Christians, that Christianity is more than a social club where we get together. Find out what people want and give them what they want. That’s sort of the church marketing plan today instead of finding out what God’s word says and tell people. Find out what people want, and accommodate what they want. That’s not the purpose of the gospel. It’s not to change God to fit us. It’s to change us to fit God. It wasn’t popular and they went right out there in the midst and told them you’re rebelling. They were repenting. They tore their clothes. You know the Bible tells us in Ezekiel 9 it’s those who sigh and cry who are going to be the ones who get the mark of the seal of God. The people were ready to stone them and they all picked up stones and they’re beginning to drag them off like Stephen to stone them to death. Do you know what happened? God intervened to save them.

Read this here. The congregation was ready to stone them. “Now the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of meeting before all the children of Israel.” Suddenly there was seen above the tabernacle, it looked like the Shekhinah glory was rising like a mushroom cloud of light. The glory of God suddenly appeared and everyone cowered behind and they dropped their stones. They gave up the idea of stoning them. God was manifesting His obvious displeasure. They had heard the voice of God thunder from that cloud before and suddenly the Lord basically intervened to save Joshua and Caleb. They were going to kill them. You might be in the minority, but you and God are always a majority. I’d much rather be with the minority that’s right than the majority that’s wrong. Can you say amen to that? Of course Moses speaks up here. “And the Lord said to Moses: ‘How long will’” I dwell with “these people” who “reject Me?” I need to move on. I’ve still got a lot more I need to cover. So God stands up for him. By the way, I wish we had more young people like that who would stand up. You go to Numbers 26:35, “For the Lord had said of them, ‘They shall surely die in the wilderness.’ And there was not left a man of them, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.” Of the ones who left Egypt, how many of the original made it back? You’ve got just Caleb and Joshua. In the same way, friends, how many people have come to this world and lived a holy life without sinning, that made it all the way from the cradle to the grave without sin? It’s just Jesus and that’s another type of that.

Well then we go on to the place where Joshua is ordained by Moses. Now you know the story. Moses got discouraged. They had gone through the wilderness all these years. Oh, by the way, I don’t want to rush past this. What was the penalty of the children of Israel because of their faithlessness? Did God intend for them to wander forty years? Why did they wander forty years? Because they lost faith and so God said, “Look, you’re going to go off into the wilderness and all of you twenty years old and upward that did not believe,” all of those who were at the age of accountability (you weren’t old enough to serve as a soldier until you were twenty) so all of those who were at least twenty years of age when they left Egypt on up they all died “because you didn’t believe Me.” That whole generation was wiped out including Moses and Aaron and Miriam. Now do the math for me. What was the maximum age of anybody that finally came into the Promised Land? Joshua and Caleb if they were a little over forty I think Caleb was about forty years of age when he came out of Egypt so sixty. Who were the two oldest people? Caleb and Joshua. Did you get that?

Everybody else had died. They didn’t all die at once. Some of them was various plagues, some of them was just old age, but none of them made it. You could say every one of them knew that they weren’t going to get beyond a certain age because they lost faith. As Joshua and Caleb saw everybody around them dropping, God continued to preserve them because they believed in God. What is it that preserves us? Faith in God. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Well, Moses finally, they’re about to enter the Promised Land. Moses was going to make it. But as they neared the borders, the people ran out of water again, they got discouraged, they started to complain, they wanted to go back to Egypt and Moses had just… he had victory over his temper all of these years and he lost his temper again. Not only did he lose his temper in front of the people, he struck the rock twice when he was only supposed to speak to the rock and it was supposed to be a type of Christ. The Lord said, “You didn’t honor Me before the people. I can’t let you take them in.” Like Magellan Moses didn’t make it all the way, but Joshua did make it all the way. Moses instead of being threatened or being upset that he doesn’t get to take the people in, he’s not just concerned about the people. Keep in mind, was Joshua a humble man? He must have been a very humble man.

Keep in mind who is the meekest man that ever lived? Moses was. Joshua had his mentor Moses before him all the time. Moses is identified as the meekest man that ever lived, of course that was up until the time of Christ. So Joshua here, he’s this general. He goes up the mountain with Moses. He goes into the tabernacle, he survives when everyone around him is dying and yet he always maintained an attitude of humility. He was a humble man. Well the time came for Moses to die. It’s amazing how many times in the end of the book of Deuteronomy it talks about God insisting that Moses charge, prepare, ordain Joshua. You can read about this here in Numbers 27:18 “And the Lord said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, 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…” In other words in the presence of everybody I am transferring authority, Moses, from you to him. All the authority and spirit that you had, he will have. When Jesus came into our world did He come with complete authority of the Father? It says, “If you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father.” “…and give Him a charge in their sight. And thou shalt put some of thine honour upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient.”

They need to listen to him the way they listen to you, hopefully better because they always wanted to stone Moses. They wanted to stone Joshua too, didn’t they? Can you think of any times in the life of Christ when they wanted to stone Christ? Did the Lord intervene and save him from stoning? It’s interesting, isn’t it? Joshua is an interesting type of Christ. Deuteronomy 31:7 “Then Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, ‘Be strong and of good courage…’” Now you could understand if you were Joshua. He had witnessed a lot of rebellion in forty years, hadn’t he? When the people went back into the wilderness Joshua hadn’t lost faith. He didn’t have to go with them. He could have said, “Well, Lord, hey look. I could see why they need to wander for forty years, but I’ve been good. Caleb and I, we’re heading on in now. We’ll meet them later.” Is that what he said, or did he go with them even in their wanderings? Do you think maybe the church has had to tarry in this world too long because of apostasy and a lack of faith? Moses went into the wilderness with them. Joshua went with them. God went with them.

Is the Lord still with His church in spite of our failures? Are we still God’s people? What makes us God’s people? He has committed to us the oracles of truth. His tabernacle is in our midst and what was in the middle of the tabernacle? The word of God, the Law of God. Is God with this church? How do we know He’s with this church? Because we’re all faithful? We don’t murmur, we don’t complain, we don’t gripe against our leaders? Write that down! What tells us that He’s among His people? He has committed to us His word; He has committed to us His law. It’s in our midst, isn’t it? We are still His people. We may be wandering in the wilderness. God went with them, Joshua went with them, Moses went with them. He is still with us and we’re still heading to the Promised Land, but we’re learning things along the way. Amen? So Joshua is worried. He says, “How can I manage these people? You barely survived, Moses.” He’s kind of overwhelmed with the task. We don’t know what his job was back in Egypt. If you believe what you see in the movies he was a stone cutter. I wouldn’t believe Cecil B. DeMille when Revelation is not there.

It just doesn’t tell us what his job was. He evidently was more educated because he did write. Probably he at least dictated the book of Joshua and we’ll get to that in our next study. He says, “Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it.” Who is it that causes us to inherit the Promised Land? It’s Jesus, isn’t it? Our Joshua. “…you shall cause them to inherit it. And the Lord, He is the one who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you…” Now what did Jesus say to us? “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” It’s the same promise. “…do not fear…” What did Jesus say over and over again to the church, to the apostles? Don’t fear; don’t be afraid. “…nor be dismayed.” Now whenever I see the word be in the Bible I like to remember the first words in the Bible when God says, “Let there be light… Let there be land… Let there be creatures…” There is creative power in the word of God and when God says let it be, it is. If God says be strong, you may not feel very strong. If you believe in the word of God, be strong, you can accept it and it becomes a reality. He will give you His strength. Be courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed. He’ll be with you. Deuteronomy 34:9 now we’re reaching the end of Moses’ life. “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.” He was spirit filled. Was Jesus full of the Spirit of God?

Now I want to show you something here and I want to make sure that… Go with me in the book of Exodus chapter 23. This is our last verse that I want you to consider, or there are actually two quick verses. Exodus 23:20 God is telling Moses early on, I’m going to have someone else lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land. “Behold, I send an Angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared.” When the Bible talks about this archangel, the angel of the Lord, God also told Moses I am going to send a prophet like unto Me. Who was this angel that He was to send before Him? Wasn’t it Christ who is the ultimate angel or messenger of the Lord? “Beware of Him and obey His voice; do not provoke Him, for He will not pardon your transgressions…” In other words, He’s got the power to pardon, if you provoke Him, He won’t. So who is this angel of the Lord Who has the power to forgive, the archangel? This is a type of Christ; this is Jesus. Notice here, “…for My name is in Him.” Now with that in mind, “My name is in Him,” what was the name of Joshua? God is Savior, Jesus, the son of Nun.

What does Nun mean? Perpetual, eternal, continual, from everlasting to everlasting Thou art God. My name is in Him. Who was the one who led them finally from the wilderness into the Promised Land? It was Jesus. My name is in Him. It was Joshua who led them in. He is one of the most striking types of Christ. Did you catch what I was saying here? Matter of fact, that word Nun, I looked it up yesterday. The word Nun is used in Psalms as eternal, continual, perpetual. Jesus, Yahweh, Jehovah, the Savior, the Son of Eternal is the One Who will lead you all the way in. Jesus is our Joshua, isn’t He? And I don’t think it’s a mistake that the Bible begins with, there in Exodus, Joshua as the general, the great deliverer, the savior of the people. In the absence of Moses they really needed a savior, didn’t they? And the last words in the Bible are, “Even so come, Lord Jesus.” He is the author and the finisher of our faith.

I think there are some exciting things that we have to learn about the Lord, about Jesus in studying the character of Joshua. When I think of Joshua I always think more in terms of a general because that’s the first, first images are lasting and he appears there as the general that leads us in. There is another Joshua in the Bible (maybe the subject of a future study) who is a high priest and Jesus is also a High Priest too, isn’t He? Those are the primary Joshuas. There is a prophet. The book of Hosea. Did you know the book of Hosea that’s another way of saying Joshua or Jesus? Jesus is our prophet. Jesus is our general. Jesus is our priest. Those are the three Joshuas that you find in the Old Testament. They’re trying to give us pictures of our Savior when He came. But I always think of him as the general marching up there in front of His troops and leading them through the wilderness into the Promised Land.

Next week we’ll talk a little bit about Jericho and the marching that happened there. And so I picked as our closing hymn “Marching to Zion” because as we keep our General before us, we’re going to make it there. Why don’t we stand together and let’s sing this. It is hymn number 422.

Come, we that love the Lord, And let our joys be known; Join in a song with sweet accord, Join in a song with sweet accord, And thus surround the throne, And thus surround the throne. We're marching to Zion, Beautiful, beautiful Zion; We're marching upward to Zion, The beautiful city of God.

I like this song. I’m going to pretend I’m a song leader for just a minute. I want to hear the men sing, just the men, verse two. Then we’ll all join together for the chorus part, men and women, when we get to “marching to Zion,” okay? Then the ladies are going to get their turn on verse three. Can we do that? I want you to really sing. Forget that you’ve got beans in the oven somewhere. Just really sing while we’re singing to the Lord, okay? Let’s do verse two, men.

Let those refuse to sing, Who never knew our God; But children of the heavenly King, But children of the heavenly King, May speak their joys abroad, May speak their joys abroad. We're marching to Zion, Beautiful, beautiful Zion; We're marching upward to Zion, The beautiful city of God.

The hill of Zion yields A thousand sacred sweets, Before we reach the heavenly fields, Before we reach the heavenly fields, Or walk the golden streets, Or walk the golden streets. We're marching to Zion, Beautiful, beautiful Zion; We're marching upward to Zion, The beautiful city of God.

Pause just a second. Now is my appeal. Some of you… I want to just sing! Don’t you like that song? It makes you… It’s exciting! We’re on a journey to the Promised Land. I like that song. Some of you have maybe had the Holy Spirit speak to you and you’ve got a burden on your heart. Maybe you’ve become discouraged by the giants in the land. You’ve been focusing on the obstacles wondering, Can we make it? And you’d like to say, Lord, I’d like to have the faith of Joshua. I’d like to believe. I’d like to have that courage that the Lord gave him when Moses laid his hands upon him. If you have some burden that you’d like to bring to the Lord and you’d like special prayer, why don’t you come as we all sing with gusto our last verse? Come and we’ll pray together and we’ll sing together.

Then let our songs abound, And every tear be dry; We're marching through Immanuel's ground We're marching through Immanuel's ground To fairer worlds on high, To fairer worlds on high. We're marching to Zion, Beautiful, beautiful Zion; We're marching upward to Zion, The beautiful city of God. Amen.

Dear Lord, we wonder sometimes how we can ever doubt the inspiration of Your word when we see a kaleidoscope of pictures of Jesus and all of these characters in these stories. We’ve seen Jesus again today, Lord, in the character of Joshua. We pray that we will see Him even more as we continue this study. But today, Lord, we’ve seen an individual that had tremendous faith. We would like that faith. We know that it’s easy to focus on the obstacles and the problems. Sometimes we are diverted to look at the giants in the land. Help us, Lord, to look at the fruits of the land. Help us to bring back a good report and let others see the fruit of the land in our lives that they’ll be inspired. Help us to be overcomers, Lord. We want to be among those who will live and remain when Jesus comes, that can make it all the way from birth into eternity in the moment, in the twinkling of an eye. Lord, forgive us for the times when we have been negative discouraging ourselves and others. Help us to keep the good news good news. I pray, Lord, that You’ll bless even though there are challenges that we’ll be willing to go up the mountain with You on a regular basis to keep our eyes lifted up as You are there interceding in our behalf that we might gain the victory in the battles that come. Bless Your people, Lord. Forgive us for sometimes repeating the history of ancient Israel. Help us to be like that generation that made it into the Promised Land and across the Jordan. Be with the many needs represented in our families, Lord, in our individuals and pour out Your Spirit in their lives as we keep Jesus before us and it’s in the name of our Joshua we pray. Amen.

You may be seated. I’d like to remind everybody that there will be some who will be staying behind in the tabernacle here abiding and praying and let’s maintain a sense of reverence as we depart. I’ll be at the door to greet our visitors.

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Unveiling the Kings of Israel by David Down

Unveiling the Kings of Israel by David Down
God's Promises




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