Like a New Testament Christian, Joshua was saved by grace through faith. He learned to pray. He learned to worship. He learned to hate sin. And he learned to trust the Lord.
After an extended stay at Mount Sinai, God commanded, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Turn and take your journey, and go” to Kadesh-Barnea in the northern Sinai Peninsula, south of Canaan. “I have set the land before you. Go in and take possession of the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give to them and to their offspring after them” (Deuteronomy 1:6-8, ESV).
From their camp at Kadesh-Barnea, God commanded Moses to send twelve spies into the Promised Land. “Send men to scout out the land of Canaan I am giving to the Israelites. Send one man who is a leader among them from each of their ancestral tribes. ... 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 13:1–20, CSB).
Following the forty-day reconnaissance mission, ten spies reported: “We went into the land where you sent us. Indeed it is flowing with milk and honey ... However, the people living in the land are strong, and the cities are large and fortified ... We can’t attack the people because they are stronger than we are! ... The land we passed through to explore is one that devours its inhabitants, and all the people we saw in it are men of great size. We even saw the Nephilim there—the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim! To ourselves we seemed like grasshoppers, and we must have seemed the same to them” (Numbers 13:27–34, CSB).
The other two spies had a differing opinion. “Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who scouted out the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite community, ‘The land we passed through and explored is an extremely good land. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us into this land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and give it to us. Only don’t rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land, for we will devour them. Their protection has been removed from them, and the Lord is with us. Don’t be afraid of them!’ ” (Numbers 14:6-9, CSB).
All twelve spies had been brick-makers, slaves to a foreign government. They knew God’s power. Each of them had celebrated the first Passover, crossed the Red Sea, and camped at Mount Sinai. And each man knew God’s covenant promise to Abraham and his descendants. “I give this land to your offspring, from the Brook of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates River: the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hethites, Perizzites, Rephaim, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites” (Genesis 15:18–21, CSB). Ten spied feared. Only two spies had faith.
The Hebrews held the title-deed to Canaan. God had bequeathed it to them. It was theirs. Though it took an extra forty years, Joshua lived to see God’s promise fulfilled.
Joshua trusted the Lord.