The life of Joshua started as a young person when the children of Israel were slaves in Egypt. He experienced the suffering and saw God perform His many miracles to free Israel from slavery. Through these experiences God was preparing Joshua to be one of Israelís greatest leaders.
We first see Joshua mentioned when he was about forty years old. Moses had chosen twelve men to spy out the land that God promised to give them. How exciting. They were able to enter that land and experience what was about to be their very own. The purpose for sending them in was to encourage them to have faith in Godís promise. They were about to find out that God keeps His promises. For forty days, these twelve men examined the opportunities and blessings that God had promised them. They viewed the people, saw their weapons of war, and tasted of the fruit that grew. They took back a bunch of grapes that were so large that it took two men to carry them.
After forty days they returned to camp and gave their report. The people could not wait to hear the good news. Of the twelve, only Joshua and Caleb gave a good report. They believed that God could defeat the enemy and give them the land. Ten of the men gave a report telling how great the enemy was and that they had chariots of Iron that could defeat them. Here is an important lesson. Because most people think that something is true doesnít mean that it is. The report of the ten spies discouraged the people from going into the land and they refused to believe that God would keep His promise. Because of not trusting God, they wandered in the wilderness for forty more years when they were only eleven days journey from the promised land.
God chose Joshua because of his faith, to become Israelís leader after Moses had died.
There are a great many lessons that we can learn from the life of Joshua. He learned from Moses mistakes and was a good student. It is good when we donít have to learn from our own mistakes. The sign of maturity is to learn from others experience as well as our own. God directed Joshua to pay close attention to His commandments and instructions. By making them part of his life he was setting a good example to the rest of the people. Being a good example is one of the most important parts of being a leader. When people know that you practice what you are telling them they will listen.
Joshua was not afraid to work hard. He learned how to do that in Egypt. He developed strength while working in that Egyptian brickyard. He learned how to keep going even when it hut to do so. Sometimes following God makes it necessary that I do something that no one else wants to do, or has the ability to do. It was not easy to lead people who were afraid into a battle that they thought they might lose. Joshua never once questioned Godís commands. Joshua also knew how to speak words of encouragement when times were difficult. That means he knew how to encourage himself first.
Spending time with God reading His word and thinking of His purposes is important. While you are young you should talk to your parents to understand more of Godís ways and purposes. Taking time to understand Godís commands made Joshua successful. It was God who gave him the promises and God who made him successful. It is always important that we put God first. The rest of the world is too busy being selfish and when we obey God we stand out as different and helps us to influence others for good.
It was not easy. There were some defeats in battle because of disobedience but once they solved the problem, victory continued. What excitement to see nation after nation fall in defeat as God went before them and won the battle.
Finally, The main wars were over. It was time for Israel to inherit the land. They were now about to take over and own the land that was once their enemyís. God was faithful, the Promised
Land was theirs.
It was not Joshua alone, as we will see in our next lesson, Caleb was also an important person in Israelís success. Both Joshua and Caleb were about forty years old when they went in to spy out the land. Now these two Heroís began their most important work for God when they were eighty years old. They didnít believe in retiring in those days, and taking life easy. They obeyed God and were faithful until the time they died.
Donít think that you have to wait until you are old to serve God. The earlier you start to put God into your life, the greater reward you will have later. Start right away and see how great it is to be a blessing to others.
The study of Joshua is a study into the life of a great leader. He was great because the God He served was great and he experienced that God always keeps his promise.