If Joshua had an iTunes, I bet Never Once by Matt Redmond would have been in his “Top Five Most Played” playlist.
Standing on this mountaintop
Looking just how far we’ve come
Knowing that for every step
You were with us
Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much You’ve done
Knowing every victory
Was Your power in us
Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say
Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
If any man in the Bible could vouch for the faithfulness of God, it would be Joshua. In Joshua’s experience, nothing was ever easy, but when God was added to the equation, nothing was ever impossible. He never wavered in his steadfast belief that the Lord is always faithful to His promises and that the Lord would always come through, no matter what obstacle may present itself along life’s path.
In Joshua’s early years, he grew up as a Hebrew slave in the land of Egypt. He was there when Moses came to deliver the Israelites from the wrath of Pharaoh. He witnessed God’s mighty hand strike the Egyptians with the ten plagues to free His people so they could claim the land of Caanan that was promised to them. When the Israelites finally arrived to the periphery of the Promised Land, Joshua was one of the twelve spies dispatched to bring a report back about the land. He was one of two who did not doubt the Lord’s promise.
After Moses died, because of Joshua’s steadfast devotion to the Lord, God used him to fulfill the promise made to Abraham by appointing him to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. He became one of the greatest leaders that Israel had ever known. Joshua was a man of courage, faith, obedience, and devotion to God’s Word. There are some foundational principles that we can apply to our own Christian walk by studying this man of God’s life.
Joshua Listened To and Believed in the Promises of the Lord
When the leadership baton was passed to Joshua after Moses died, he gained the responsibility of communing with God on behalf of the people of Israel. Joshua was never left wondering what God wanted him to do next because he left all lines of communication open. God spoke and proclaimed His promises over Joshua. He was wise and let the words of God wash over Him as he listened to his mission: “Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you [Joshua] shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you…” (Joshua 1:6-7)
Joshua’s example leads us to ask ourselves: are we open to hearing the promises of God, or are we filling our “spiritual ears” with nonsense from unreliable sources? We listen and gather our marching orders by reading God’s Word and opening our hearts to His still, small voice. A lot of times, that requires being quiet before the Lord. Maybe that’s why ‘listen’ and ‘silent’ have the same letters in them! One thing that I have done to help me listen more effectively is to cut out all secular music that I listen to on the way to school or when I am working out and just listen to Christian music. It helps me focus on things above even when my brain is in that “autopilot mode”. I find that even when I’m in the shower or closing my eyes to go to sleep, some of God’s promises that I heard in those songs are replaying in my head. Listen and know that God “will not fail you or forsake you” no matter what you are walking through.
Joshua Obeyed the Commands of the Lord
We listen so that we can then put God’s Word into action. If we really believe something, our actions should follow suit. The success of Joshua’s mission depended on his personal obedience to the law of God. God reminded Joshua of this when He said: “…you shall meditate on [the book of the law] day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” (Joshua 1:8)
If Joshua was ever going to lead his people to the Promised Land, he had to listen carefully and then put into action the marching orders from the Lord. Without action, the people of Israel wouldn’t have gone anywhere! They would still be wandering aimlessly in the desert! Likewise, we are never going to experience true maturation and prosperity unless we listen and act upon the promises of God.
As a high school science teacher, I feel like I have experienced this phenomenon a time or two with my students. Before we do a lab, I stress over and over to them how important it is for them to listen to my instructions first, and then when it is time for them to do the activity, they will be confident in their actions to achieve the end result successfully. They may not understand all of the reasons behind these said instructions, but they will never be able to experience the “joys of science” unless they act according to the precise directions at hand. In the same way, we need to act upon the instructions given to us from the Lord for us to experience His blessings, even though we may not understand the ins and outs of it all!
Joshua Led Others To Follow the Commands of the Lord
Once Joshua had listened to God’s promises and instructions, obeyed, and ultimately glorified God, he encouraged his fellow Israelites to do the same. The name Joshua means “Yahweh is Salvation”. He continually reminded his followers of that truth and urged them never to forget how God is always faithful to keep His promises. “Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, ‘Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, saying ‘Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you are to cross this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the Lord your God is giving you, to possess it’.’…They answered Joshua saying, ‘All that you have commanded us we will do and wherever you send us we will go’.” (Joshua 1:10,16)
Joshua’s life is a reminder to me that we all have a sphere of influence that we can use to point others to Christ. No matter where we go to school, what city we live in, or what job we have, we can choose to live in such a way that prompts people to believe that we have a God who never leaves us or forsakes us, who has a purpose and mission for our life, and who is always faithful to His promises.
As Joshua’s life came to a close and he looked back on the course of his life from the time he was a slave in Egypt, to the long journey in the wilderness, and to his promotion as the leader of Israel, he said these words: “Not one of the good promises which the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass” (Joshua 21:45). I pray that we will be the kind of Christians who listen to God’s good promises, who have the faith to act on His Word, and then who lead others to trust in the mighty God we serve.
Lord, thank You for men like Joshua who remind us that You are always faithful to Your Word and that “Yahweh is Salvation”. Thank You for the promises that give us hope and purpose. Jesus, I pray that You will instill in us the unwavering faith of Joshua and make us strong and courageous as we go into the world to live for You.