Understanding the Old Testament


(All quotations are from the New American Standard Bible translation)

Joshua in Hebrew is Yehoshu’a (or Jehoshu’a), which means, “Jehovah [the Lord] is salvation.” Jesus’ Hebrew name, Yeshua, was a shortened or alternative form of this same name.

We first met Joshua the son of Nun in Exodus 17, when Moses directed him to lead a counter-attack against the cowardly Amalekites, who had attacked the Israelite stragglers fleeing from Egypt.

Although Exodus refers to Joshua as Moses’ “servant” or “assistant” (Exodus 24:13, 33:11), depending on the translation, he appears to have been more like a right-hand man. He accompanied Moses at least partway up Mount Sinai when Moses received the Ten Commandments (Exodus 24:12-14), and remained at the Tent of Meeting whenever Moses was absent, perhaps as a guard or caretaker (Exodus 33:11).

When Moses sent twelve spies into the land of Canaan, Joshua went as the representative of the tribe of Ephraim. (Numbers 13:8) Of the twelve spies, only Joshua and Caleb expressed confidence in the ability of the Lord to lead the Israelites to victory, and as a result the Lord allowed those two to survive and enter Canaan forty years later. (Numbers 26:63-65)

And when the Israelites were ready to invade Canaan, the Lord selected Joshua as Moses’ successor.

But before Joshua could lead, the Lord needed to prepare him. After giving him his marching orders—“arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them” (Joshua 1:2)—the Lord tried to instill confidence: “No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5) Then three times the Lord urged him to “be strong and courageous” (Joshua 1:6, 1:7, 1:9), just as Moses had done (Deuteronomy 31:7, 31:23). Finally, the Lord reminded Joshua to remain faithful and obedient to God’s law. (Joshua 1:8)

After receiving these instructions, encouragement, and reminders, Joshua was ready to lead the Israelites to victory in Canaan.

Questions to ponder or discuss
: I once heard a pastor describe faith as Action based upon Belief supported by Confidence—the ABCs of faith. How do you see the ABCs of faith reflected the Lord’s preparation of Joshua to lead the Israelites? How do you see the ABCs of faith reflected in your own life?

.Copyright 2018 by Don Davidson

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Why Reasonable People Should Consider Christianity

Stories of the Faithful (with some church history)

Christmas Stories

Understanding the Old Testament

The Truth About America Star Books


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