Yesterday, we began with a look at the life of Joshua and left off with God having told Moses that this brave leader would be the successor to lead the Israelites after Moses was gone.
Moses took Joshua to Eleazar the priest, as God commanded, before the whole community, and publicly commissioned him to serve as leader to the people of Israel. From a biographical perspective, the account leaves much to be desired—what was Joshua thinking at this point? What were his fears, his hopes? Did he feel the Spirit confirming he was next in line? But the Old Testament is more historical than biographical, so we can only speculate what must have been going through the mind of Joshua at this time.
Regardless of what his emotions might have been, commentator Matthew Henry put Joshua’s commissioning this way:
Joshua is to make the law of God his rule. He is charged to meditate therein day and night, that he might understand it. Whatever affairs of this world we have to mind, we must not neglect the one thing needful. All his orders to the people, and his judgments, must be according to the law of God. Joshua must himself be under command; no man’s dignity or dominion sets him above the law of God. He is to encourage himself with the promise and presence of God. Let not the senses of thine own infirmities dishearten thee; God is all-sufficient.
Therefore Joshua, who submitted under God’s authority, commanded the people of Israel. Whereas Moses was a spiritual leader, who acted as a mediator between God and the people; Joshua was both a military and spiritual leader who acted out the commands of the Lord with great courage.
Once they were ready, Joshua led them across the Jordan River to begin their conquest of the land God had promised them. The Israelites then fought three campaigns: one in the central region, one in the south, and one in the north. After the initial victories, Joshua divided the land among the tribes of Israel (Men of Integrity Bible 2002, 247).
We will conclude our look at Joshua tomorrow.