Peninsula Community Church
Joshua a Man of Fearless Faith
November 8, 2015
Joshua 24:14-18“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods, for it is the Lord our God who brought us and our fathers up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight and preserved us in all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed. And the Lord drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God.
As we continue our series “Heroes of the Faith and What They Teach Us About Life” we will focus today on the life and story of Joshua. Last week, we focused on Timothy whose life reflected genuine faith and today, we will look at Joshua’s life which reflects a life of fearless faith. As we study Joshua’s life, we find that Joshua had an unmovable and unshakable faith no matter what he faced or what battles he confronted. We see this in the words of the passage before us today. As we have noted in our previous studies, Joshua was not perfect but he was faithful and his heart was pure.
Because of his faith I have entitled this message “Joshua a Man of Fearless Faith.” To be fearless does not mean that there is an absence of fear but rather that one has mastered their fear. As passionate followers of Christ we know that He has not given us a spirit of fear (1 Timothy 1:7) and we understand that perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18). In Joshua’s case he had a fearless faith. How could this be? It was because he had a faith stronger than death and a courage to stand no matter what he faced.
In terms of the early history of Joshua, we do not have much to go on by way of scripture. But here is what we know. He was born during the Egyptian captivity and he was one of the 2 million plus to be a part of the Exodus from Egypt. At some point, Moses took Joshua under his wing and began to nurture and develop Joshua as a follower of God and as a future leader. Joshua became Moses’s assistant as a young man (Numbers 11:28) which positioned him to accomplish all that God was to do in and through him.
As a result of being at Moses’ side, Joshua had a vantage to point to see the hand of God move perhaps more than anyone else in the nation at that time. It is noteworthy as well that he saw the good and the bad as Moses was a strong leader but he also exhibited character flaws from time to time. For example, Joshua learned obedience from Moses actions. On three occasions God used Moses to provide the nation with good drinking water. On the first occasion, God commanded Moses to throw a log into the water so that it would be sweet to drink (Exodus 14:22) . He did so and fresh water came flowing forth. On the second occasion God commanded Moses to strike the rock with his rod and from the rock came fresh water (Exodus 17:1-7). On the third occasion God commanded Moses to speak to the rock rather than strike the rock. But Moses disobeyed God and struck the rock instead (Numbers 20:8-12). Because of his disobedience Moses was not allowed to enter into the Promise Land. He could see the land from a distance, but he was not allowed to go in. From this Joshua learned that God does not always do things the same way. He is a God of variety and creativity. In this, Joshua learned to listen for God’s commands and to follow them with his whole heart.
He developed patience. It is noteworthy that it was Joshua and Joshua alone who was invited to join Moses on the mountain as Moses met with God for forty days. It was here that Joshua learned patience as he was commanded to wait for Moses below the cloud line. Imagine this, Joshua waited for Moses all by himself for forty days. He had no food. He could not see Moses nor could he see what was happening to Moses. At the same time he could not see the Children of Israel. He was all alone. And yet, I can’t help but imagine that God was with Joshua as we do not see him being impatient or becoming angry (Exodus 24).
As Moses and Joshua were coming down the mountain, we find the spiritual leaders, who were left to guide the people, assisting the children of Israel to participate in Pagan worship. They were offering a golden calf as a sacrifice which was a common worship theme in Egypt as the Egyptians worshipped animals of all kinds. Can you imagine the scene? Moses had just spent 40 days with God. He had met with God, he heard from God directly, and he had been given the Ten Commandments and the instructions for the Children of Israel on worship. Look at the irony. Moses had received the instructions for worship, while Aaron was leading the nation in what was common and what was idolatrous. They turned their back on God. They were rejecting the very God that Moses had been with for all of those days. In his anger, Moses threw the original Ten Commandments down on the ground.
Joshua witnessed the power of God. Joshua saw much of the negative but he also had the opportunity to witness the miracles of God as well. He saw the Red Sea part and the children of Israel walk safely to the other side, He watched as the armies of Pharaoh were swept away by the tidal rush of the returning water. He watched as God provided water for the thirsty souls led by Moses. He was there when the manna fell from heaven to satisfy the hunger of the people. He was there when God provided the quail for them to eat. He watched as the clothes they were wearing never got old or deteriorated. He witnessed the cloud by day and the fire by night that guided them through the wilderness. He was at Moses’ side as he would counsel the people and give them insight into their problems. He truly witnessed the power of God.
Joshua also grew to trust God. It was Joshua who was chosen as one of the twelve spies to go and spy out the land. It was Joshua and Caleb who gave a good report. They saw the same obstacles and the same problems but they also recognized the largeness of God’s grace and power. Because of their fearless faith, they could see the difficulties and yet they knew that with God they could overcome them. They knew they could trust God and that He would bring the victory they needed.
This trust came from his experience with fighting the Amalekites. To our knowledge Joshua had never been trained for battle. He had never led an army. He did not have the weapons or the arsenal the enemy had but he had God and he had Moses who would be an intercessor on his behalf. While Moses prayed, Joshua battled. When Moses began to falter, the battle began to be lost. But when he kept his hands raised, the battle was being won. Joshua’s faith and leadership skills were growing each day. What Joshua did not know was that God was preparing him for so much more. He was being prepared to lead the children of Israel into the Promise Land.
As we look at Joshua’s life, we find that there were three major attributes that exemplified his life. First, he was obedient. He was willing to do God’s bidding without question. Joshua combined complete obedience to God’s will with a resolute faith that Jehovah would empower him to carry out His commands. Joshua’s name meant “Jehovah is salvation.” Joshua had an assurance that it was God Himself who saves. It is God who delivers. It is God who grants glorious victory over the enemy.
This is played out in Joshua’s life as we see him take the reigns of leadership and one of his first challenges is to take Jericho. It is interesting to note that God gives them a specific challenge. It is a challenge that was never given before. They were to walk around the walls of Jericho for seven days and then on the seventh day they were to walk around the city seven times. And then on the seventh trip around the city, they were to raise their voices and shout a loud shout. In their obedience, the walls fell.
Second, he knew what it meant to believe God. Notice that Joshua did not just believe in God but he believed God. We can believe in God but not trust God with our lives. Joshua’s faith led him to believe God’s word so that he could follow him with his whole heart and mind. Joshua’s faith led him to a place where he trusted God to do what God said God would do. To believe in God is simply an intellectual exercise that gives us knowledge. Believing God comes from experience and the understanding of truth about God. You see even demons believe in God but they do not trust God with their life or their ways.
Third, he put his faith into action. Joshua did not just trust God but he put his faith into action. Throughout the book of Joshua we see this fulfilled. He was filled with the spirit of God (Deuteronomy 34:9) and the Word of God filled his inner man (Joshua 1:8) and finally he practiced the presence of God in his daily life (Joshua 1:5 and 6:27). In the final analysis we could say that Joshua put his faith into action by letting go of the past. Joshua put his faith into action by trusting God’s promises for the present and he studied God’s word for guidance in the future. He was a complete man and for that reason Joshua was a man of fearless faith.
For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/media.php?pageID=14
Copyright © 2015 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom