The character trait we’re looking at tonight is God-reliance. How do you think you can become God-reliant? We’re going to look at Joshua to see how he learned. Joshua began his training with Moses as teacher. Moses has the testimony of doing “as the Lord commanded”. Joshua observed how Moses waited for God’s commandment before he acted.
When the Israelites left Egypt, Moses told the people to not fear. When the Egyptians pursued (Ex. 14:13, 14), Moses reminded God would fight for them. God parted the Red Sea so the Israelites could escape, then He closed the sea upon the Egyptians that were chasing them. Joshua saw and remembered the testimony of God’s deliverance. …The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. (Ps. 19:7b)
Throughout their wanderings, Joshua saw God’s provision of water and manna and quail. He saw God’s presence leading them, all these things he remembered. All this time he was building a trust relationship with the Lord.
Moses noticed Joshua was different from all the others. He had trust and strength and an obedient spirit. When the Amalekites fought against Israel, it was Joshua Moses trusted to choose and lead the men in battle (Ex.17:8) Joshua obeyed Moses. He felt the heat of the battle that could have been their destruction. Moses held his hands up in the air with the rod of God till they were so weary he couldn’t hold them up any longer. When his hands were up, Joshua was tasting the victory, but when they were down, Joshua knew they would be defeated. If it were not for Aaron and Hur holding Moses hands, they would have been defeated. Of course Joshua didn’t realize all that at the moment because he was busy fighting. God told Moses to tell Joshua why the battle seemed to turn against them sometimes and how they were seeing victories at other times. God was honoring Himself and strengthening the faith of His people. Joshua listened to Moses and believed. It was recorded so Joshua could read about it over and over again. Joshua was in training to be the next leader.
Joshua was one of the spies that were chosen to go into the land and check it out. He went in faith, envisioning his people inhabiting the land. He tasted of the goodness of the land. He trusted God. He also felt the crushing blow of the unbelief of 10 of the other spies. Only he and Caleb believed God. Joshua felt the pressure of unbelief all around him as he tried to convince the people that God was well able to keep His promise. In all this Joshua was still practicing being God-reliant.
Joshua observed how his teacher responded to the rebellion of the people by falling on his face before the Lord. Joshua and Caleb both rent their clothes. They felt the hot displeasure of the Lord toward His rebellious disbelieving people when God sentenced them to 40 years of wandering in the wilderness with no place to call home.
Still, Joshua did not become bitter or try to take things in his own hands, he was even more concrete in his faith as he continued to rely and God and fear Him.
After the death of Moses the Lord spoke to Joshua. He commanded Joshua to “arise and go”. God promised “every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon that have I given you, as I said unto Moses.” (Josh. 1:3)
Joshua told the people in three days they would enter the land. The people saw the Jordan River still flowing between them and the land, and they didn’t have any boats. How would they cross? When the Israelites were fleeing from the Egyptian army they were trapped with an army behind them, mountains to the sides, and the Red sea in front. God parted the Sea for them to cross over to safety.
God told Joshua, “…as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee. I will not fail thee, nor forsake the.” (1:5) Joshua remembered how God was with Moses and He wanted God to be with him the same. He believed God. Three times God reminded Joshua to be strong and courageous. He told him to do all that Moses had commanded him to do.
Probably one of the best verses in the Bible to help us live God-reliant lives is Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
Now Joshua told the people in three days they would go in the promised land, but they still had that river to cross. The same peoples were in the land that was there during Moses’ time. The last time the Israelites got there, Moses sent 12 men to spy he land. Only two brought a good report back and wanted to by faith go in and possess the land. This time Joshua only sent two spies. These two brought back a good report. They told Joshua the people of the land feared them, and stated how God delivered the land into their hands.
During the 40 years of wandering, God had the people make an ark. Because Joshua believed and obeyed God, he commanded the priests bearing the ark to step into the Jordan, which was the barrier between the wilderness and the promised land. Joshua knew he couldn’t part the waters of a river, but he never wavered in his trust that God could. God said that day He would begin to magnify Joshua in the sight of Israel (3:7)
Even as God parted the waters of the Red Sea for His servant Moses and His people Israel, God parted the Jordan River for His servant Joshua. “That day God magnified Joshua in the sight of all Israel and they feared him as they feared Moses all the days of his life.” (4:14)
Joshua was told to “Loose thy shoe from off thy foot for the place whereon thou standest is holy…” Joshua’s teacher Moses had been told to take his shoes off his feet because he was on holy ground.
After a battle of defeat, Joshua didn’t know what to do. (7:6) tells us he rent his clothes (like he did way back when Israel wouldn’t go in the land) and he fell on his face before the Lord as he had seen his teacher Moses do numerous times.
Joshua read all the law of Moses as Moses had commanded him to do. He also wrote a copy of the law (v.32) and he also wrote the peoples response of the decision to follow the Lord.
All of Joshua’s days he kept relying on God. For that reason he was able to lead others to follow God.