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A Brief Overview Of The Role Of Joshua As Leader

by Rik Charbonneaux  
7/26/2017 / Christian Living


But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15 NIV

 

If you have heard of and wondered about the God of the Jews and Christians, you might really enjoy hearing about the role that a man named Joshua had of leading the children of Israel into the land of Canaan and of their comquests in the land that God promised to give to them. If you are just not very likely to read the Bible at all, please take the time to read the following somewhat brief topic about Joshua and of his loyal service to God. If you might be interested in reading more about Joshua, read of him in the Book of Joshua of the Holy Bible.

 

Joshua - God's Faithful Warrior, Servant and Leader

 

"The Lord gave this command to Joshua son of Nun: Be strong and courageous, for you will bring the Israelites into the land I promised them on oath, and I myself will be with you." Dueternomy 31:23 NIV

 

Joshua was the spiritual and military leader of the children of Israel after Moses died. He was a demanding man of action who kept the spirit to fight fresh in the minds and hearts of his men by his own example as a brave and determined warrior and by his organization and battle tactics skills. He would not tolerate anyone falling away from the fact that their focus was to be on their dedication to God, because Joshua knew that God was the reason for his success as a leader. Like any other leader during times of war, he occasionally had doubts about the chances for a successful outcome for a particular battle, but the Lord would inspire Joshua to redouble his efforts and secure the victory. Chosen by God to lead the people of promise, he was exactly what Israel needed as a leader to gain Canaan on their own resource with the support of God.

 

"Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim; Go, look over the land; he said, especially Jericho." Joshua 2:1 NIV

 

To start the conquest of Canaan, Joshua sent two spies into the land to size things up. When they went to Jericho, they were assisted by a woman named Rahab, who hid them from the forces of the king of Jericho and later aided in their escape. In return, Rahab asked for consideration for her family if they captured the city. When the time was right, Joshua told the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you." Joshua 3:5 NIV The Lord told Joshua to hold fast to His laws and Joshua would defeat the enemies he would be encountering in the land. Further, the Lord told him how to have the Ark of the Covenant precede the army at the Jordan and then stop in midstream, where the waters would part and all of the people would cross on dry land just like at the Red Sea, and this is exactly what happened, just as the Lord said it would. When all had crossed over, the Ark was brought forward and 12 stones [one by each Tribe leader] were set up as a memorial to the parting of the waters of the Jordan River that day by the God for the children of Israel. The people of the land of Canaan who saw or heard about what the God of the Israelites had to done to the Rive Jordan became afraid of the Israelites. God had exalted Joshua before them as their leader and 40,000 men prepared to wage war upon Jericho. The Lord told Joshua to circumcise any man who needed to be and on an evening when they celebrated Passover on the Jericho plains, they ate the first of the produce of the land, whereupon the manna the Lord had been sending stopped the next day and there would be no more.

 

"Then the Lord said to Joshua; See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men." Joshua 6:2 NIV

 

As Joshua and the army neared Jericho, Joshua had an encounter with the "Commander of the Lords Army" and told he was on sacred ground. The Lord then told Joshua exactly how to execute the assault upon the walled city of Jericho, and the Lord's directive was carried out with precision and with a shout, the walls of Jericho collapsed and the Army of Israel advanced straight into the city, killing every living thing except for Rahab and her people as agreed. They burnt the city, placing all of the precious metals into the Lord's treasury and Joshua then cursed anyone who would ever attempt to rebuild the city.

 

"The Lord said to Joshua: "Whoever is caught with the devoted things shall be destroyed by fire, along with all that belongs to him." Joshua 7:15 NIV

 

In preparation to successfully engage their next opposition, Joshua sent spies to the area of Ai to see how many men would be needed for battle. They returned and told that no more than 3,000 men were needed, which when sent, were soundly routed by the men of Ai with 36 Israelite deaths. Joshua was stunned and lay upon the ground asking God why this had happened. The Lord told Joshua: Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep." Joshua 7:10 NIV  Joshua understood that as long as the thief was among them, the Lord would not support them their battles. He was to get up off the ground and deal with the one who had stolen part of the Jericho spoils that was to have all been for the Lord's treasury. Joshua determined that the guilty one was named Achor and he then ordered that Achor and everyone of his household stoned to death for having offended the Lord and then all bodies and possessions were burned.

 

"Then the Lord said to Joshua, Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Take the whole army with you, and go up and attack Ai. For I have delivered into your hands the king of Ai, his people, his city and his land." Joshua 8:1 NIV

 

The Lord then told Joshua to set an ambush for the city of Ai and that the army could carry off any plunder and livestock for themselves. Joshua divided his forces and sent some to the rear of Ai to hide and took the rest to fake a frontal assault on the city to draw out the king and soldiers of Ai into battle. When everything was in position, the men of Ai came out of the city to meet Joshua's forces on the field. Joshua's men who were to ambush the city came out of hiding and started the city on fire and then advanced upon the rear of the Ai's army. Assaulted from both directions by Joshua's men, the army of Ai was defeated. When all 12,000 of Ai's men and women were executed, the army brought the king of Ai to Joshua, who ordered him executed and impaled upon a pole at gates of the city while Ai was ordered burned to the ground, with the body of the king later placed at the gates and covered with a large pile of rocks.

 

"So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar." Joshua 10:12,13 NIV

 

When the other people of Canaan saw what the army of Israel had done by their God to Jericho and Ai, many groups tried to band together against them. Those of Gilgal tried to gain the protection of Joshua by trickery, which they succeeded in doing and when the deception was found out, the Israelites could not break their oath to God that they would protect these people. The situation was resolved by ordering these people into service as woodcutters and water bearers for all of the Israelites. When the king of Jerusalem heard about this, he put together a fighting force along with four other kings large enough to fight and defeat Gilgal. When the men of Gilgal got word to Joshua to come and defend them, the Lord told Joshua: "Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you." Joshua 10:8 NIV Marching through the night, Joshua's army took the other army by surprise and devastated them as the Lord threw the army of the kings into confusion. As Joshua's men tried to pursued and cut down the kings men who were running away, the Lord sent huge hailstones down upon the kings men, killing more than all who were killed by Joshua's army that day! Joshua asked God to stop the sun in the sky to give him time in the day to defeat this combined enemy and the Lord responded to his request: "The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a human being. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel!" Joshua 10: 13,14 NIV As with everything that occurred in the favor of Joshua and the children of Israel, God was with them and no one could separate them from the land the God gave to them! When Joshua's army caught up with the five kings and the remnant their retreating forces, they dispatched all of them while the five kings were held in a cave for Joshua. He had the kings disgraced by his men by having them step on their necks and then slaying them to hang on poles until sunset.

 

The Lord said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid of them, because by this time tomorrow I will hand all of them, slain, over to Israel." Joshua 12:6 NIV

 

Joshua's army would then engage and defeat all of the people, kings and cities of the southern region of Canaan, killing all of them. When the king of Hazor in the north heard of this total devastation in the south, he called upon all of the kings of the north to form a huge army to engage Joshua's army. The Lord said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid of them, because by this time tomorrow I will hand all of them, slain, over to Israel. You are to hamstring their horses and burn their chariots." Joshua 12:6 NIV Joshua's army surprised the huge force at the Waters of Merom and defeated them, killing all of them and doing what the Lord said to do their horses and chariots. Joshua and his army went on to defeat all in the north, killing everyone. After seven years of war, all of Canaan was in the hands of the Israelites as a part of the land that God had promised, and because God had fought for His beloved and chosen people, Israel. The Lord had Joshua initiate the extensive process of the division of the land for the inheritance of the tribes accordingly by lot and to assign it to them. He would bless Caleb and give him Hebron as his inheritance. Then the Lord told Joshua to have the Israelites designate cities of refuge and to also designate 48 towns for the Levities to live in.

 

"On that day Joshua made a covenant for the people, and there at Shechem he reaffirmed for them decrees and laws." Joshua 24:25 NIV

 

Joshua then assembled all of thetribes together people at a place called Shechem and addressed them before the Lord. Part of what he said, in the words of the Lord was: "Then you crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho. The citizens of Jericho fought against you, as did also the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites and Jebusites, but I gave them into your hands. I sent the hornet ahead of you, which drove them out before you; also the two Amorite kings. You did not do it with your own sword and bow. So I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant." Joshua 24:11-13 NIV Joshua then invited them to make a choice: "But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15 NIV A renewal of the Covenant occurred that day when the people said that they would serve the Lord. With that answer being given, Joshua sent each tribe off and away to each of their own portion of the inheritance land. Joshua died at the age of a hundred and ten and was buried in the land of his inheritance, in the hill country of Ephraim.

Rik Charbonneaux is a retired NE Iowan who loves all of God's creatures.

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