When I was a little girl, I used to wake up on Sunday morning hearing gospel music being piped into the stereo speakers which my father had installed into the ceilings of every room in the downstairs. I slept upstairs, but I could hear the music when I woke up. It was usually very upbeat gospel music, meant I think to wake us up and get us in the right mood for church. One of the 8 track tapes that he played was a Statler Brothers tape with gospel music. One of the songs spoke about Joshua, son of Nun.
Obviously Id never seen the spelling of Joshua, son of Nun, because I thought that this must be the most impressive miracle in the Bible that someone could be the "son of none." How can that be? Not to have a mother or a father? That was impressive -- how was he born? -- Why, Id say it was even more impressive than Jesus birth -- he at least had parents!
Well, I found out later that Nun was, of course, the name of Joshuas father. So from my earliest memories, I was very impressed with Joshua, son of Nun.
I am still very impressed with Joshua. In our study we meet up with Joshua at around the age of 80, waiting to cross the River Jordan to fight the Canaanites and take possession of the land promised to them by God. This impresses me right off because I get worn out at the age of 38 thinking about crossing Greenwood for a trip to Wal-Mart with the kids.
Joshua was in charge of thousands of kids, who liked to complain a lot. And here at the age of around 80, he finds himself at the foot of Mount Nebo, grieving for his mentor, Moses, whom the Bible says Joshua assisted from his youth. I often wonder if at this point he said to himself, What in the world have I gotten myself into?
There is no record, however, of Joshua being reluctant to take the reins and lead, as Moses was when God called him. In fact, Joshuas entire life has been training him for this very moment.
It might be a good idea to think about the things that Joshua had witnessed in his life up to this point that might help us understand why he is seemingly very confident and very ready to take on the daunting task of claiming the Promised Land.
We should remember that Joshua began as a slave in Egypt. His earliest memories were probably the cruelty visited upon his and every other Hebrew family in Goshen. Im sure that he had heard the stories about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and how his ancestor Joseph, of whom he was a direct descendant, had been second only to the Pharaoh at one time. Im sure that he could remember the excitement that quickly spread throughout the Hebrew nation as the plagues were visited upon the nation of Egypt by the God that had not forgotten them in their misery.
He probably thought back to the excitement of leaving Egypt with the plunder of those Egyptians who had days earlier beaten them without pity as they performed forced labor.
Im sure that his mind wandered occasionally back to the flight out of Egypt with Pharaohs armies advancing behind them, and watching the waters of the Red Sea part to reveal dry ground for them to pass through on.
Not only was Joshua a witness to these miraculous events, but lets think about some other things that Joshua also witnessed:
And these are just to name a few.
- Moses coming down from Mt. Sinai with his face glowing from speaking with God.
- The rebellion in the camp with the golden calf that had resulted in Gods judgment on so many.
- Spying out the Promised Land and seeing how good it was.
- His disappointment in the attitude of most of those who had spied out the land with him.
- Fighting the Amalekites as Moses held his arms in the air.
- Gathering manna and quail to eat in the wilderness when he was hungry.
- Water pouring forth from a rock when he was thirsty.
- The pillar of fire and the cloud that went before the Israelites as they wondered in the wilderness.
Joshua was a witness to the most dramatic, miraculous time in Israels history. He had seen what God was capable of. He had devoted himself to following the law and meditating on it as no doubt Moses had done; and his faith was by all accounts unshakable. Not only was he ready to go over into Jordan, hed been ready 40 years earlier.
To my knowledge, the Bible doesnt tell us about any times in Joshuas life when he doubted or let God down, although we know that he must of at times since the Bible says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. But as I look at Joshua standing there looking out over the vast crowds of people looking to him for guidance, I think he must have thought, Im ready Lord, Lets go; and Im ready to go with Joshua, son of Nun, as we embark on the exciting, fascinating stories in our study of the book of Joshua. Are you ready? Lets go!
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