Joshua, whose name is equivalent to that of Jesus, means “Jehovah saves!” Let’s consider seven things about this great Old Testament leader…
Joshua was a SLAVE. Like all his countrymen, Joshua was born into Egyptian bondage. For the first forty years of his life, he was whipped into submission by cruel taskmasters, working in the fields, making bricks, or constructing cities for his captors.
Joshua was a SOLDIER. The first mention of Joshua comes two months into the wilderness wanderings. As the nation of Israel made their way from the eastern shores of the Red Sea toward their predetermined appointment at Mount Sinai, the marauding Amalekites attacked. “At Rephidim, Amalek came and fought against Israel. Moses said to Joshua, ‘Select some men for us and go fight against Amalek’ ” (Exodus 17:8–9). Joshua became a military leader, the General of Israel’s army.
Joshua was Moses’ SERVANT, the only man to accompany Moses into God’s glorious presence on the Mountain of God. The two men were together when God instructed them to return to camp and confront the immorality involved in the golden calf incident (Exodus 32). Joshua was also with Moses at the tent of meeting. “When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and remain at the entrance to the tent… The Lord would speak with Moses face to face, just as a man speaks with his friend, then Moses would return to the camp. His assistant, the young man Joshua son of Nun, would not leave the inside of the tent” (Exodus 33:8–11).
Joshua, representing the tribe of Ephraim, was a SPY, one of the twelve tribal leaders sent into Canaan on a reconnaissance mission. Moses instructed the twelve to “see what the land is like, and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. Is the land they live in good or bad? Are the cities they live in encampments or fortifications? Is the land fertile or unproductive? Are there trees in it or not? Be courageous…” (Numbers 13:18–20). Joshua, and his associate Caleb, brought back a minority report, saying, “Let’s go up now and take possession of the land because we can certainly conquer it!” (Numbers 13:30).
When Moses died, Joshua become his SUCCESSOR, leading the Nation across the Jordan River in conquest of the Promised Land. Joshua didn’t trust in his own strength or ability but found his courage in God’s presence and promise. “No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. I will be with you, just as I was with Moses. I will not leave you or abandon you. Be strong and courageous, for you will distribute the land I swore to their ancestors to give them as an inheritance” (Joshua 1:5–6).
Joshua was the first-born SON of Nun (1 Chronicles 7:27). But why is that so significant?
Forty years before crossing the Jordan River, Joshua, living in Egypt, knew the effects of God’s judicial plagues. Joshua smelled the foul odor of rotting fish when the Nile turned to blood! He saw the devastation in the wake of the frogs, the flies, and the hail. And, Joshua listened attentively when Moses declared, “every firstborn male in the land of Egypt will die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne to the firstborn of the servant girl who is at the grindstones” (Exodus 11:5). Joshua, the first-born, was sentence to death!
Joshua (Jehovah saves!) was SAVED, the recipient of God’s great grace. The innocent Passover lamb was slaughtered, and its blood was applied to Nun’s home so that Joshua could live!