Sunday, October 02, 2005

Joshua's Dirty Jawbone

Joshua, the son of Nun, had been chosen from among the millions of his people to succeed the great Moses in leading them in the conquest of the lands of Canaan. He was at the top of his game. Some say that he had a favorite song that he would sing often throughout the day. My Hebrew is weak, but his lyrics roughly translate, "Oh, what a beautiful morning. Oh, what a beautiful day. I have this wonderful feeling, everything's going my way." He had found favor with both God and man, and was feeling pretty good about himself and his prospects.

Here are a few excerpts concerning Joshua's status:

So the Lord said to Moses, "Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him." Numbers 27:18 (ESV)

And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him. So the people of Israel obeyed him and did as the Lord had commanded Moses. Deut. 34:9 (ESV)

And the Lord commissioned Joshua the son of Nun and said, "Be strong and courageous, for you shall bring the people of Israel into the land that I swore to give them. I will be with you." Deut. 31:23 (ESV)

The Lord said to Joshua, "Today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you." Joshua 3:7 (ESV)

And they answered Joshua, "All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you, as he was with Moses! Whoever rebels against your commandment and disobeys your words, whatever you command him, shall be put to death. Only be strong and courageous." Joshua 1:16-18 (ESV)

Whoa! Joshua, dude, you may need a bigger hat size! Just then, of course, God stepped in to assure that things were put into distinct perspective.

When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, "Are you for us, or for our adversaries?" And he said, "No!!" Joshua 5:13-14a (ESV)

No?? How could you possibly say that to Joshua, the esteemed leader of the Israelite horde, who was just about to conquer several strong, established nations?

The stranger continued, "...but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come." Joshua 5:14b (ESV)

Joshua was sharp enough to understand what he meant, "For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another." Isaiah 48:11 (ESV) By grace Joshua was given his place through providence, just as others had, even, "For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show MY power in you, and that MY NAME might be proclaimed in all the earth."" Romans 9:17 (ESV)

" And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, "What does my lord say to his servant?" Joshua 5:14c (ESV)

Out of the corner of his eye, Joshua saw and heard Job lying face down next to him, having a similar conversation, "I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 'Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?' Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. 'Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.' I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes." Job 42:2-6 (ESV)

Joshua also heard the commander, the Christ, saying to those who relied on their own righteous acts and expected favor from God, "Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham." Luke 3:8 (ESV)

What does my Lord say to his servant? The proper perspective from which to go forward.