Joshua Son of Nun
When the Israelites left Egypt there was a young man named Joshua that went with them. We know little of his life in Egypt and little of his first journey. We know mostly about Joshua Son of Nun for his generalship of the Israeli army in the conquest of the Promised Land, in the book of Joshua. How does God forge a general? What did Joshua learn to make him a great man? I contend that he was just an ordinary man touched by an extraordinary God.
What are the requirements of God for a General.
EX 17:8 - 10
8Now Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim. 9And Moses said to Joshua, "Choose us some men and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand." 10So Joshua did as Moses said to him, and fought with Amalek.
Joshua receives first mention here where he was told by Moses to go and fight Amalek. The Jews were not a fighting people. They were fresh from Egypt and probably had few weapons among them. They had never drilled in battle, they probably had little strategy for battle, they had never been in a skirmish. When the Egyptian army had stormed out of Egypt and the Jews saw it they freaked out. Amalek was one the nomadic tribes of the Sinai area. With Egypt to the south and Cannanites to the north they knew how to fight, they had adequate weapons and they had been in battle before.
But they didn't know about Joshua with the warrior's heart. Joshua knew that God would act so He was fearless. He was not foolish though, he knew that Moses would be up on the hill with the Rod of God in his hand. He knew where his help would come from. He was not only fearless but he was faithful.
What is a warrior like? Like the soldier in I Tim 2:4
You therefore must endurehardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.
The warrior is up at dawn, ready for the fight, yearning to do the master's will, shedding blood and tears in the battle, not getting weary, but growing strong as the enemy falls. Enduring is probably a key word here. The Christian walk is a battle, it is not a short skirmish and then off to rest. Our foe is implacable, never sleeps, and always desiring our destruction. The warrior stands guard over their soul and wears the armor and defeats the enemy.
Ex 24:13 - 18
13 So Moses arose with Joshua his servant and Moses went up to the mountain of God. 14But to the elders he said, "Wait here for us until we return to you. And behold, Aaron and Hur are with you; whoever has a legal matter, let him approach them." 15Then Moses went up to the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. 16The glory of the LORD rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; and on the seventh day He called to Moses from the midst of the cloud. 17And to the eyes of the sons of Israel the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a consuming fire on the mountaintop. 18Moses entered the midst of the cloud as he went up to the mountain; and Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.
I don't know what tied Joshua to Moses. Here he is called Moses' servant. One who desires to be a servant is one who is willing to be abased. Jesus said that the greatest one in the kingdom is to the servant of all. Joshua could have loudly proclaimed his victory over the Amalekites and demanded leadership. He could have ridden in on his victory and taken over the camp. He had chosen hand picked men to fight. This would have been his core group for putting power into his hand. The servant does not even think of these things. As a servant Joshua quietly came from the battle back to servant. But what glories were revealed to his soul!! The servant spends time with the true master. The record seems to indicate Moses ascended into the cloud alone, but there was someone with him.
Ex 32:15 -
15And Moses turned and went down from the mountain, and the two tablets of the Testimony were in his hand. The tablets were written on both sides; on the one side and on the other they were written. 16Now the tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God engraved on the tablets.
17And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, "There is a noise of war in the camp."
Look who is with Moses when he returns. Joshua had been there the full forty days. I believe he basked in the Glory of God as Moses had received all the instructions. He probably served Moses there, but he tasted deeply of the Glory of the Lord. The servant's heart is humble, obedient, quiet. Joshua was all these.
7 Moses took his tent and pitched it outside the camp, far from the camp, and called it the tabernacle of meeting. And it came to pass that everyone who sought the LORD went out to the tabernacle of meeting which was outside the camp. 8So it was, whenever Moses went out to the tabernacle, that all the people rose, and each man stood at his tent door and watched Moses until he had gone into the tabernacle. 9And it came to pass, when Moses entered the tabernacle, that the pillar of cloud descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the LORD talked with Moses. 10All the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the tabernacle door, and all the people rose and worshiped, each man in his tent door. 11So the LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle.
Now I have read this particular passage many times and I never noticed that phrase. I was struck by it. Joshua had just come down from the mountain. He had drunk deeply of the Spirit of God and evidently loved what he tasted because he would not leave the tabernacle. I believe he became a lover of God at this point. All the people would stand far off at the doors of their tent, but not Joshua, he went right down to the alter, where the presence was. He knew the lover of his soul and it made him into a lover of God. The attraction of the presence made all the world had to offer dark to Joshua. His eyes had seen the Lord and the tents of the world were nothing to that. The Tabernacle was the place where he wanted to be. What was it about the tabernacle that attracted Joshua?
Is there not a delight in purity of soul that the world doesn't know? What joy is it to stand in His presence with your soul clean from the dross of this life. You need not confess, but can just enjoy His love and glory.
1 LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle?
Who may dwell in Your holy hill?
2 He who walks uprightly,
And works righteousness,
And speaks the truth in his heart;
3 He who does not backbite with his tongue,
Nor does evil to his neighbor,
Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend;
4 In whose eyes a vile person is despised,
But he honors those who fear the LORD;
He who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
5 He who does not put out his money at usury,
Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.
2. Refuge for our Souls
Yes the Lord is a refuge for our souls. When the world pressed around us and we are smitten and troubled, He who knows we are but dust, opens wide His everlasting arms and loves us with an eternal love. What a Saviour!!!
5 For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.
3. To God our EXCEEDING JOY!!!!
Is the Lord your exceeding joy? Do you know Him intimately? If you do, you know just what the psalmist is talking about. His presence is full of joy, laughter and pleasure. When He kindles the air around you in those times of deep touching it is wonderful. His loving touch is better than life itself. Praise His holy name!!!!!
3 Oh, send out Your light and Your truth!
Let them lead me; Let them bring me to Your holy hill
And to Your tabernacle.
4 Then I will go to the altar of God,
To God my exceeding joy;
One Again, His is our total strength and help. We are capable of nothing without Him. It is under His wings that we learn that truth. We are to be dead and hidden in Him. Hidden away from the world. We cannot be offended there, we cannot be tempted there, we cannot offend there, we can see like He sees there, our hearts beat with His passion there, our eyes melt with His compassion there, and our hearts flame with His love there.
1 Hear my cry, O God;
Attend to my prayer.
2 From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
3 For You have been a shelter for me,
A strong tower from the enemy.
4 I will abide in Your tabernacle forever;
I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.
Oh! There is nothing like the living God, His sweetness is like honey to my lips, His nearness is my bread, His presence is my drink. I long for Him like a lover missing their lover, like a child missing their mother. I am lovesick over my Lord. Let my soul lift up to the Living God who will again let me rest in His arms.
1. How lovely is Your tabernacle,
O LORD of hosts!
2. My soul longs, yes, even faints
For the courts of the LORD;
My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
Where do you spend your time? Do you seek His presence? Is He your exceeding joy? Is He your refuge? Do you know the joy of purity before Him? Does your heart, flesh and soul cry out to the living God that he may consume you with his presence? You know God does not dwell "between the wings of the Cherubim" anymore. His tabernacle is not outside the camp any longer.
I Cor 3:16
16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.
The new temple where the manifest presence of God dwells is in our spirit! This is the most awesome truth of Christianity. The Living God who thundered on Sinai is dwelling in us!! I think Joshua the warrior, the servant, the lover of God found something more wonderful that most. The awesome God of Sinai was also the lover of Joshua's soul.Now some more about servant hood for a minute. I could not introduce it earlier because the thought had not quite developed but look at this cryptic verse from Leviticus. This is referencing the earthen vessel in which a sacrifice had been boiled.
28 But the earthen vessel in which it is boiled shall be broken.
Now look at this verse. This treasure is what? The Glory and manifest presence of God! That's what! Does the servant keep it to himself? No, He must be broken after the sacrifice. What sacrifice?
II Cor. 4:7
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 8We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—10always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
The sacrifice of death of selves! Was Jesus not an earthen vessel who was broken and poured out for us? If we are His servants we must be the same as well. We must be broken and spilled out just as the master. Why? SO THAT HIS LIFE MAY BE MANIFESTED IN OUR MORTAL FLESH!!!
Praise God!! That is the true servant.4. A Changed Heart
16 These are the names of the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land; but Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun, Joshua.
Moses changed Hoshea's name to Joshua. Hoshea meant "deliverer". Joshua meant Yahweh delivers. Hoshea meant an earthly, fleshly deliverer but Joshua meant a heavenly deliverer. Joshua knew the true source of his strength. It was from God not from himself. Praise God, that we would see this in our lives. So many are living life in their own strength when the source of all riches dwells in their heart.5. A Faithful Heart
Num 14:6 -
6 Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, of those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; 7and they spoke to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, saying, "The land which we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. 8"If the LORD is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us—a land which flows with milk and honey. 9"Only do not rebel against the LORD; and do not fear the people of the land, for they will be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them."
Joshua saw the same giants every body else saw. But when the others saw the giants they felt like prey. However when Joshua saw the giants he saw prey. They were as good as dead as far as he was concerned. Just like David who with one stone killed the Giant. The minute David purposed it in his heart, the Giant was already dead. Goliath was a tough warrior. But David knew His God and down came the Giant. The giants in the Promised Land were dead as well, as Joshua knew His God. He was faithful to the calling. He was a steadfast warrior, faithful and true to God's purpose. 6. A Spirit Filled Heart
18So the LORD said to Moses, "Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him; 19and have him stand before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation, and commission him in their sight. 20"You shall put some of your authority on him, in order that all the congregation of the sons of Israel may obey him. 21"Moreover, he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire for him by the judgment of the Urim before the LORD. At his command they shall go out and at his command they shall come in, both he and the sons of Israel with him, even all the congregation."
Joshua had spent time with God, had served Him, had loved Him, been faithful to Him. God then set him up as General. Full of the Spirit of God was Joshua. Praise God for such people who take up the calling of God and turn ordinary lives into extraordinary lives. You can too, seek Him today!