INTRODUCTION plan for all that is to

INTRODUCTION Today in the current culture, Christians famously know Joshua mainly for one song of a singular defining moment in his life, The Battle of Jericho. Although not the pinnacle of his life, this battle is still vital in portraying the man that Joshua was: devoted, committed, and in complete faith and trust in God. Joshua shows people that even when a situation or task seems most bleak and even impossible, God is still there and has a master plan for all that is to happen in order to further His kingdom.  Joshua’s life is an example to all Christians in how living a life of total faith, devotion, and humbleness in the Lord can prepare oneself to become a strong leader under God.BIOGRAPHYJoshua, son of Nun, was born into the tribe of Ephraim, with the bible suggesting that it was most likely in the land of Egypt “in the year 2406 from creation (1355 BCE)”.(chabad.org). He was born to father, Nun, and had two siblings, a brother, Eran and a sister, Rahmah; neither accounts of his mother nor any descendants of Joshua have been recorded. “Joshua is considered one of the Bible’s greatest military leaders for leading the seven-year conquest of the Promised Land, and is often held up as a model for leadership and a source of practical application on how to be an effective leader.”(gotquestions.org). Joshua isn’t seen in the Bible until Moses calls him up to fight against the Amalekite people. The Israelite people at that time had just recently been released from the land of Egypt under the command and leadership of Moses through God. Joshua had been one of the former slaves in the Israelite community and had traveled as a devoted aid to Moses. After the battle, the Lord told Moses that Joshua was to be the next leader of Israel. There again is a large space in the mentioning of Joshua until the Israelite people arrive at the base of Mt. Sinai and he accompanies Moses part of the way showing Joshua’s devotion. Later on, after the death of Moses, Joshua took command of the Israelite nation and played a vital role in the long-term establishment of Israel that still exists to the present day. ” It was not enough for Israel to simply to enter and conquer the land of promise. It was also necessary for the people of God to possess the land by faith.” (Geisler, 97).  Joshua’s first obstacle in their road to becoming a settled nation was the Jordan River, which by a miracle from God, the people were able to cross the Jordan on dry ground. “Just as the mothers and fathers walked across the bottom of the Red Sea on dry land, so too did their sons and daughters walk across the dry riverbed of the Jordan River.”(lifeway.com.). After this Joshua led the nation of Israel in the defeating of thirty-two different nations resulting in the division of all the land among the nations according to their clans. Joshua, son of Nun “passed away on the 26th of Nissan, 2516 (1245 B.C.), at the age of 110 years”(chabad.org) in his homeland in the hill country of Ephraim.BIBLICAL ACCOUNTNo accounts of Joshua’s early years are recorded in the Bible until Moses called Joshua up to select men and go to battle against the Amalekites, “Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites.”(New International Bible, Exodus 17:9). It was at this battle that Joshua became recognized more for Joshua’s leadership abilities, since Joshua led the Israelite army into victory, through the strength of Moses, and with the power of God. After the concluding of the battle, the Lord commanded that Moses write down all that had happened there, and tell it all to Joshua, since one day Joshua would completely wipe out the name of the Amalekites from the face of the earth, “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven.”(New International Bible, Exodus 17:14). This suggested to the people that Joshua would one day play a larger part in the leadership over Israel and its military. Later in the journeys of the Israelite people, upon reaching Mount Sinai, Moses was called up by God to receive the two stone tablets that contained on them the Ten Commandments. Moses commanded that the entire nation wait at the base of the mountain, besides Joshua, who Moses called as an accompaniment up the mountain, “Then Moses set out with Joshua his aide, and Moses went up on the mountain of God.” (New International Bible, Exodus 24:13). Again Joshua is seen upon Moses’s return journey down the mountain, when Joshua is the one to first hear the noise coming from the camp that ensued during the worship of the golden calf, “When Joshua heard the noise of the people shouting, he said to Moses, “There is the sound of war in the camp.”(New International Bible, Exodus 32:14). Joshua continued in aid and servitude under Moses, showing both a deep love and devotion for God and to Moses as well, “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.”(New International Bible, Exodus 33:11).Joshua proves continuously to be a loyal and faithful servant to both God and Moses. Upon reaching the Promised Land, the land of which God had sworn to the people of Israel, Joshua was called by Moses once again to select a group of men, twelve in all, to scour out the land and to inform the people on what it beheld. Upon returning from their expedition, ten of the twelve spies reported that there were giants living in great walled cities that were too great for the Israelites to defeat; however, Joshua and Caleb were the only two spies who had not swayed from faith in God, which resulted in both men being spared from God’s punishment, on the people, of death to those above the age of twenty, by means of a forty-year trek through the wilderness.Near the end of the people’s forty years of punishment, Moses directly disobeyed the Lord, and was punished with death before entering the Promised Land. But before Moses’ death, he called upon the Lord to provide a great man to lead the multitude of the Israelite nation, “Moses said to the Lord, “May the Lord, the God who gives breath to all living things, appoint someone over this community.”(New International Bible, Numbers 27:15). After hearing Moses’ request, God commanded Moses to bring Joshua before the priest Eleazar and all the people of Israel, and for Moses to give Joshua a portion of Moses’ leadership and to have Joshua appointed as leader over the nation of Israel, so that the people would adhere to the words of Joshua, “So the Lord said to Moses, “Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit of leadership, and lay your hand on him. Have him stand before Eleazar the priest and the entire assembly and commission him in their presence.”(New International Bible, Numbers 27:18-19).After installing Joshua into his position of leadership, God gave him instruction into what his task would be, but later proved that He was with Joshua through all his works. During his initial time as commander over the nation of Israel, God proved that He was with Joshua through all that he did, by way of three separate, seemingly impossible challenges. First, God, through Joshua, split the waters of the Jordan River in two, allowing the Israelites to pass through unharmed. Second, the angel of the Lord appeared outside of Jericho, to Joshua, to instruct him on what he was to do. Lastly, the “unbreakable” walls of Jericho fell before the Israelites, allowing the army of Israel to enter in and claim victory over the city. For a long period of time, speculation had surrounded the story of the fall of Jericho, but it was not until 1950 that this story was evidentially backed up by means of an excavation led by British archaeologist, Kathleen Kenyon. Kenyon found that the section of the wall that had been destroyed could most likely have only occurred by means of an earthquake; a simple earthquake, however, would have leveled or at least damaged all sides of the city walls, however since the northern wall, in which Rahab’s house was thought to be, was standing undamaged, it is thought to be seen that it aligns itself with the Biblical promise that Rehab, her family, and all that she owned would not be harmed as long as she listened to what the spies had commanded of her; along with this, the archaeologists discovered that the whole of the city had been burned down, which also aligned itself with what is said in the Bible referring to what was commanded of the Israelites concerning Jericho.After the victory over Jericho, the people of Israel continued their journey in the conquering of the Promised Land. Their travels soon after brought them to the city of Ai, a seemingly poorly defended land. Spies were sent out into the city to observe and report back on its defenses and army. The spies reported back that the city could be easily taken with only a few thousand men, and without gaining the counsel of the Lord in this matter, Joshua sent a few thousand men to attack the city. This band of Israelites was quickly and easily routed which led to the entire nation becoming fearful and falling before God in repentance for misplacing their trust in men. Understanding what he was to do, Joshua spoke with the Lord and gained insight into what God’s plan was for dealing with this enemy nation. God explained to Joshua that the reason that the Israelite army could not stand against this foe was that someone in the camp had taken what had belonged to the Lord. So the next day, all the tribes were called forth, and Achan, son of Zerah, was found guilty of this matter and as a result was stoned to death for his disobedience. The army then, through the word of the Lord, set an ambush for the men and city of Ai, and within the day they had killed the men and burned the city, which was the command of the Lord to Joshua.         Once more the Lord showed His miraculous and guiding hand over Joshua’s life through Israel’s defense of the nation of Gibeon against the invading Amorite kingdoms. The Lord not only gave the five pagan nations into the hands of the Israelites, but also sent large hailstones onto the retreating armies, inflicting more casualties than those that were slain by the sword. In order to proclaim His hand over this victory and to do so again over Joshua, God performed His last large miracle, during Joshua’s lifetime, which is seen as one of the most unique miracles that is recorded in the Bible, but also one of the most controversial. Following the defeat of the five armies and the capture of their kings, Joshua, through the anointing of the Lord, commanded the Sun and Moon to stand still in the sky until the people had been avenged on their enemies, “Sun, stand still over Gibeon, and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.” So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies.”(New International Bible, Joshua 10:12b-13). All this signified that God had given the nations into the hands of the Israelite people to further progress upon the covenant the Lord made with the people to give them all the land that he had promised. Joshua continued to show his devotion to the Lord and his strong leadership ability over the people of Israel. Joshua oversaw the Israelites’ campaign to claim the whole of the Promised Land, and in all he defeated thirty two pagan nations to completely claim the land promised to the Israelites’ forefathers, and all the land was given to the separate tribes according to their needs, “So Joshua took the entire land, just as the Lord had directed Moses, and he gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal divisions. Then the land had rest from war.”(New International Bible, Joshua 11:23). During the final years of Joshua’s life, he called together the whole assembly of the nation of Israel in order to renew the people’s covenant with God. The nation accepted this renewal half-heartedly, and it was not until the Lord rebuked them that they committed fully through Joshua. Joshua showed his great devotion and faith in God through all that he did, and by these things the Lord blessed all that he accomplished to fulfill the promise of God. HISTORICALWhat Joshua had done during his time on earth not only impacted the nation of Israel, but also the history of the world, as it is known. God promised the people of Israel that if they went to conquer the land of Canaan, or the Promised Land, they would receive it as their inheritance from the Lord. So finally after not trusting in God, becoming fearful because of the people of Canaan, and forty years of wilderness travel, with only those under twenty, or specifically chosen by God, surviving, the land of Canaan was finally attacked and eventually conquered over time by the nation of Israel under the command of Joshua.The conquering of Canaan was all in the past however, so how could one man’s command over a miniscule nation’s conquering of a small section of land have an impact on the history of the world and the world today? The answers to this question are quite simple: First, the nation of Israel is God’s chosen people, therefore the nations opposed to the idea and doctrine of God will see Israel’s claim over Canaan to be not as rightful as it would seem to them. Since Israel’s only backing behind their claim to this land is a promise from their God, then there is no legitimate or factual proof that they indeed do hold the right to own and occupy it. Therefore this topic has been the basis of much grief and enmity between the surrounding country of Palestine and Israel, and has been a continuous disagreement by the United Nations over Israel’s position since it’s recognition as an independent nation in 1948.Secondly, the nation of Israel is situated in such a way that it forms the land bridge spanning three continents, Europe, Asia, and Africa. It is a strategic location for political, as well as spiritual, control of the earth. (ProphecyInTheNews.com). By having claim to this land, Israel has been able to more easily spread their culture and beliefs than the surrounding Arab nations, due to the impassable desert to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the east which hinders land travel for the neighboring nations. Joshua, at the time, could have never known that by his following of the Lord’s command to capture the small land of Canaan, the people of Israel would have one of the most strategic land points in the Eastern continents which would give them not only great importance but also great responsibility to spread the Word of God throughout the world.  THEOLOGICAL                                                    At least seven major themes can be seen in the book of Joshua: the land, God’s promises, the covenant, obedience, purity of worship, godly leadership, and rest. These combine to form a rich theology that consistently points to God as the major character in the book. He was the giver of the land in fulfillment of his promises, the one to whom allegiance and obedience were owed, who was a holy and jealous God, who appointed Joshua as Moses’ designated successor, and who fought for his people and gave them rest. The book, then, for all its battles, glory, and land distributions, points to God above all else. (People.bethel.edu)During the life of Joshua, there was always a consistent flow of seemingly impossible situations that presented themselves throughout his command over the nation of Israel: knocking down the wall of Jericho, defeating Ai and the five Amorite kings, the fight against the Amalekites, the parting of the Jordan River, etc. However, no matter how difficult these situations were that Joshua found himself in, one phrase rings true for them all: “God has power in your circumstances.”(Joshua: The Journey of a Faith Walker, Session 1) This most clearly proved to be true in the life and journey of Joshua, and in part shapes the core of Christian theology as a whole. Without God’s perfect plan and wisdom over man’s life and circumstances, there would be no hope of a future for the Christian people. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”(New International Bible, Jeremiah 29:11). Believers would simply be as lost as non-believers, continuously walking the wrong road in life, unaware of where their true path lies. Another way Christian theology is shown in the book of Joshua is in how Joshua was fully committed and devoted to God even in the hardest of times. “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.”(New International Bible, Joshua 24:14). Joshua proves this upon multiple occasions in his life: Upon the spies’ return from Canaan, Joshua was one of two out of twelve to have faith in the Lord that the land could be taken, however the people were disbelieving of God and as a result were punished with forty years of wilderness travel. Joshua did no wrong in this situation, however he was still punished along with the rest, giving Joshua every reason to be angered and turn away from God, but even through this he remained faithful and devoted to God in all that Joshua did. This, even today, is an example to Christians globally in how all believers should be in relation with God and others.CONCLUSION       Christians can gain much insight from Joshua and in how the man lived his life. He showed the great importance of being completely devoted and committed to the Lord, even in the hardest of situations. Joshua completely held fast to God, and because of it he came out triumphant over the land of Canaan, thereby showing that the Lord will be faithful to all that He says, and no matter what, all things happen according to His ultimate plan; if that concept is grasped and understood, then even the bleakest moments and the darkest hours will have a light at the end, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”(New International Bible, Psalm 23:4). Joshua’s life was continuously battered with impossible moments, but with a complete and total faith in the plans of God, those impossible situations exclaim ‘I’m-possible!’