Joshua is one of my favorite Old Testament heroes. He was a man of personal character and conviction as he, along with only Caleb, claimed victory to enter the Promised Land (Numbers14:6-9). He was a decisive father and husband (Joshua 24:15). As a military leader, he was ahead of his time.
As a spiritual leader, he was a true and great man of God. What made him that way? I believe the answer, at least in part, is found in the first nine verses of Joshua chapter one. I also believe that God wants us to be great men and women of God. If this is to be, we must apply the same principles Joshua did.
First, let us notice Joshua was a man of experience. Verse one tells us he was Moses’ minister. Much of what he knew concerning his God came from the first-hand experience of being around other godly individuals. God used the New Testament Timothy largely because of two faithful women in his life—his mother and grandmother (II Timothy 1:5). It would be good for us to experience as much time around good, God-fearing men and women as possible.
The experience of personal trials and testings can also help us develop Christ-likeness in our character. Joshua underwent his own trials (Numbers 14:10), just as every child of God will. However, God promised him prosperity and good success in return for his faithfulness. We likewise can know that as we go through the fire, God will refine us as silver (Zechariah 9:13), and we shall not be burned (Isaiah 43:2).
God also gave Joshua instruction and direction (Joshua 1:2). He was told specifically to “arise, go over this Jordan”. What makes him stand out as a man of God is simply the fact that he obeyed God. We, too, are given direction by God. We too have the CHOICE to obey or disobey. Decide in your heart right now to make the right choice.
Sometimes God directs us through circumstances (Genesis 24:12-19), sometimes through other men of God (Psalm 1:1; Proverbs 11:14), most often through His Word (II Timothy 3:16; Romans 12:2), and always through His Holy Spirit (John 14:16: 16:13; Philippians 4:6, 7). If we are to be the men and women God wants us to be, we must seek His direction and obey it.
The man or woman of God is also aware of the assurance of God that was given to Joshua. We see in verse 5 that no man would be able to stand before him – the assurance of God’s power. We see also that God Himself would be with him and not fail him – the assurance of God’s presence. If we are following God’s direction, we can know that we have God’s power and presence in our lives as well.
In verses 6, 7, and 9, Joshua is told to be strong and courageous. We are told in John 15:5 and Philippians 4:13 that our strength comes from Christ. There is NO excuse for a lack of spiritual strength in our lives. God is the source of our courage (Deuteronomy 31:6). There is NO excuse for not being courageous.
Joshua was a great man of God because of specific reasons. We too can be the children of God He wants us to be if we seek and react responsibly to experience, follow God’s direction, and take courage and strength in the assurance of God’s power and presence in our lives. If you want to prosper and have good success (Joshua 1:8). then be the person God wants you to be by following Him completely – nothing held back!
There has never been a more important or better time for us to live godly lives. Seek to be the man or woman of God that He wants you to be personally, in your family, in your community. Others are depending on you to make a difference. God has chosen you to make a difference. Fulfill your obligation.