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Joshua

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His name is the Hebrew version of the Greek name Jesus, also pronounced Hosea or Jehoshuah. The Hebrew version of the name Jesus or Joshua is Yeshua. These names all mean “the God who saves” or “Jehovah Is Salvation.” Most importantly, Joshua served his purpose of getting Israel into the Promised Land, completing the work originally tasked to Moses. The people responded well to Joshua’s leadership. We might think of Joshua as a young man, but he was actually one of the elders of the congregation at the time of conquest, a final remnant of the last generation in Egypt. The Israelites that conquered the Promised Land were a very young nation, almost entirely born within the forty-year window in the wilderness.

By Dustin L. Abbott

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Can you imagine trying to fill the shoes of Moses? What an intimidating thought! Here is a man who was the friend of God, who talked to Him face to face, a man whom the Lord had made like a god in Egypt. Anyone would suffer by comparison! Joshua often gets lost in the shadows of biblical study because it is impossible to look at his life without comparisons to Moses…and Moses was a hard act to follow! Moses symbolizes effective leadership and epitomizes the possibilities of relationship with the Almighty the ministry and leadership of Moses are full of spectacular events that will never be replicated.

His relationship with God is perhaps unequalled throughout the entirety of Scripture. As a result, Joshua’s life tends to be more obscure, but he was an integral leader during a very important time. The transition of power before the campaign to take back the Promised Land is clear evidence that God’s Kingdom is not built upon personalities. It is bigger than any one man. Moses was a uniquely suited leader for his day, yet God’s plan moved ahead without him. We can never be deceived into assuming that the Kingdom of God “revolves around us.”

One of Joshua’s greatest assets was that he never tried to pretend that he was Moses. He obviously had enough self-confidence that he was able to effectively make that difficult transition while leading in his own unique style.

Big Shoes to Fill, Hard Job to Do

Joshua was given a most unsavory task. He was given the responsibility of the conquest of Canaan. God’s command was not just to conquer Canaan’s armies; Joshua was to decimate the Canaanite population and remove their race from the earth. This meant killing women, children, and animals along with the male populace. God’s command can be hard to understand in this dispensation of grace where our battle is not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12). But God knew full well the consequences of allowing the extraordinarily wicked inhabitants of Canaan to remain as a corrupting influence upon the Israelites.

His purpose was to establish a holy nation, and holiness always requires a purging of evil. The evil that needed purging was the Canaanites. Their sinfulness and guilt was clear, but the challenge of fulfilling God’s admittedly difficult command was great. Many men would have lost their way in the midst of such a challenge, but Joshua clearly retained both his integrity and his love for the Lord until the end. Joshua and Caleb were the only adults to enter the Promised Land who had been born and raised to maturity (over twenty) in Egypt, which gave Joshua unique perspective as a leader and a drive to see God’s ways accomplished that proved to be lacking in the following generations.

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