Joshua led Israel in the conquest of the Promised Land. He was a military commander, national leader, and great man in history. But, long before his miraculous crossing of the Jordan River and victory at Jericho, God taught Joshua what he needed to know to become a godly leader.
Joshua’s early training demonstrates how God can use your life experiences to equip and prepare you before calling you to do greater works later in life.
Three of Joshua’s early life experiences are recorded in the following Old Testament passages, all of which occur prior to Joshua becoming Israel’s primary leader.
Exodus 33:11 tells us that as a young aide to Moses, Joshua met with God in the tent of meeting.
The verse reads:
Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.
Joshua was proactive about spending one-on-one time with God. He did not rely exclusively on the counsel of men. Joshua learned early in his career that spending time with God brings an understanding of the will of God.
Excerpts from the passage read as follows:
So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered … As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning
The correlation between Moses’ raised hands and Joshua’s winning identifies God as the source of Israel’s battlefield success. When fighting the battle, Joshua learned to depend on God’s strength and not his own. Joshua suited up and engaged the Amalekites, and God supplied the victory. God can work through you to bring a victory even when you are outnumbered by the enemy.
This last story which is recorded in Numbers 14:6-9 is about the twelve Israelites, including Joshua, who left their camp in the wilderness to explore the Promised Land.
When they returned, only Joshua and Caleb, a minority of two, believed in God and gave a faithful report to the assembly. Numbers 14:5-9 declares:
Joshua son of Nun and Caleb … said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good … do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”
In this story, Joshua learned that the consensus of his peer group could be very wrong about the things of God. Joshua believed in God’s Word instead of the opinions of the masses. In the end God was right and the masses were wrong—God is always right.
Like Joshua in Israel, God is teaching you through your life experiences today and preparing you for bigger responsibilities tomorrow. Life is a classroom and God is your teacher.