Joshua, the emancipated slave, is a picture of the New Testament Christian. Let’s see...
Joshua couldn’t save himself, so God intervened by initiating a rescue operation. He came to “seek and save” (Luke 19:10). Hopeless and helpless in Egypt, Joshua was saved by God’s redemptive grace.
Joshua responded faithfully to Jehovah’s invitation. He had a choice. When the plague of death was announced, Joshua stood at the Y-in-the-road. Did he believe what God said? If the spotless lamb was killed and its blood was painted on the doorposts, would death pass-over? (Exodus 12:1-32). Joshua believed God. He was saved by faith.
Having been saved by grace through faith, Joshua “passed through the sea” and was “baptized into Moses” (1 Corinthians 10:1-2). Baptism doesn’t save. It’s a testimony. And the Red Sea didn’t save the Hebrews. They were already free. Passing through the Red Sea was a step of faith that identified them with Moses and united them as God’s followers (Exodus 14:1-31).
Saved and baptized, what comes next? Living with God. Walking by faith. Trusting Him.
Life in the wilderness was hard. In some ways, it was harder than working in the brick factory. In the wilderness, Joshua had to learn to trust God.
Food? In the wilderness, where can you find groceries to feed a hungry nation? God can provide. He can rain bread from heaven (Exodus 16:1-36).
In a hot, dry dessert, death by dehydration is certain. Water? God can meet that need too. He can bust a boulder and find an artesian well (Exodus 17:1-7). There’s much to learn as we begin our walk with the Lord.
Are there enemies in the wilderness? You’re darn tootin! They want to “steal and kill and destroy!” (John 10:10). They’re “like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8, ESV).
Meet the Amalekites. They were ruthless, a band of marauding warriors. Like the Indians in a black-and-white western, they encircled their adversaries, slowly tightening the noose.
With death and destruction imminent, Joshua learned about the power of prayer. God’s plan was simple. With Moses and his two buddies praying and pleading on the hilltop, Joshua would lead a rag-tag bunch of brick-makers to face-off against a battalion of well-equipped, well-trained bad guys. In their own strength and ability, the Hebrews couldn’t have overpowered the Amalekites that day even if they had a nuclear arsenal! The victory was won at the altar. As Moses prayed, Joshua prevailed. When Moses grew weary, Joshua failed (Exodus 17:8-16).
Like Joshua, every New Testament Christian needs to go to the school of prayer. Facing a fierce and powerful enemy, we must learn to call upon Almighty God, the Commander of Heaven’s armies.