Joshua - A Faith that Solidifies

Bible Book: Hebrews  11 : 30
Subject: Faith; Faithfulness; Commitment; God, Presence of

Most of Hebrews 11 is concerned with individuals of great faith. It is a study of great Bible characters and the lives of faith they lived. However, verses 29-30 are concerned with instances of great faith. Tucked away in these two short verses are two of the greatest feats ever witnessed by the children of Israel.

The first deals with the miraculous night when the children of Israel crossed the mighty waters of the Red Sea. The second deals with the great victory at Jericho where massive walls crumbled to the ground.

Between these 2 verses are 40 years of history detailed in the Old Testament, but passed over in Hebrews 11. The reason is that these 40 years were years of chastening because of the unbelief on the part of Israel. The life of Joshua has been aptly described as when the 'immovable object meets the irresistible force.' In other words, during his life, and under his leadership, the "immovable object" of Jericho met the "irresistible force" of faith.

Let's examine our text and observe 3 things that stand out about the faith-life of Joshua.


One of the first things that stands out to me about Joshua is his character. Throughout out his life we do not read of one sin, or one failure. He was a man of impeccable character as demonstrated in a couple of ways. First, there is:

A. The NAME of a GREAT Man

The name 'Joshua' literally means, "Jehovah is salvation." Joshua serves as a picture, and type of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is referred to in Hebrews 2: 10 as the "Captain of our Salvation."

The only biographical information we have about Joshua is that he was the son of Nun and Elishama. He was a prince of the tribe of Ephraim, the great war tribe.

Joshua was 85 years old and full of the "spirit of wisdom" when he assumed the leadership of the children of Israel. He was only one of 2 men, over the age of 20, who was allowed to enter into the land of promise. However, the name of a great man leads us to consider:

B. The NATURE of a GODLY Man

It is difficult to form an estimate of Joshua's character because he is so overshadowed by the many events of his life. However, this is not a dishonor to the man, but rather a great honor.

One of Joshua's most impressive qualities was the fact that he was always content to play second fiddle. He was content to be a servant, and not worry about the credit received for various accomplishments.

For years, he stood in the shadow of Moses; yet, not one time do we read of him betraying or belittling Moses. He did not seek to undermine Moses' authority or leadership. He was content to remain behind the scenes, no doubt, knowing that his day would eventually come.

During the presidency of FDR, one of his greatest aides was a man named Harry Hopkins.

FDR received much criticism because of his choice of Hopkins, because he was old, frail and feeble. There were many other well-qualified candidates to fill the position that Harry Hopkins occupied. However, one day, FDR silenced his critics when asked why he kept Harry Hopkins around. He said, "Invariably everyone who walks through my door wants something. However, Harry Hopkins only wants to serve me; and, that's why I keep him around."

I remember hearing an old preacher say, in his unique way, years ago, "God is not looking for any more 'bosses,' He's looking for some more 'butlers.' In other words, there are many people who want to be in the limelight, spotlight and bright-light; but, there are not many who are willing to be a servant.

However, one of the greatest qualities that a leader can possess is that of servant hood. The Lord Jesus, Himself, came to be a servant, to "minister and give His life as a ransom for many." Thus, like Joshua, we should be content if God places us behind the scenes, because there is glory in being a servant of the Lord, and to the Lord.

As a citizen, Joshua was a patriot. As a warrior, Joshua was fearless. As a judge, Joshua was godly. There is no mention of any lapse in his faith. He was fearful of the Lord, fruitful for the Lord and faithful to the Lord, both as a servant and a leader.

The second characteristic I call your attention to is:

II. Joshua's CALL

In Deuteronomy 33, we read of the death of Moses. All the years of Joshua's life had been preparation for this moment. He was now called to take over the reins which had been held by Moses for the past 40 years. God issued a divine summons to Joshua to equip him for the task at hand. As we look back to Joshua 1, we learn that it was:


We read in Joshua 1: 1-2.

[Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying, Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.]

 God specifically called Joshua for the task before him. It's interesting that God did not send a messenger to deliver the news to Joshua. God did not send an angel to the bear the news.

Rather, it was a word of God, a word from God and a word by God specifically reserved for the ears of Joshua.


In this specific call, to Joshua, there were some special instructions. In other words, there was something special that God had in mind for Joshua. We read of it in Joshua 1: 2-3.

[Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.]

Joshua assignment was special. He would be the man who would finally lead the children of Israel into the land God had promised, years ago, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Of all the other men which God could have called, He chose and called Joshua in a specific, and a special way.


Included in this specific and special call was a promise. God said to Joshua in verse 5, [There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.]

 Can you imagine how that must have thrilled the heart of Joshua? God has promised Him that He would be with him just like He was with Moses.

I can just see Joshua getting the word from the Lord and saying, "That's good enough for me, Lord! I saw what you did in Moses' life, and you will be with me like you were with him, then that's all I needed to hear." This word of promise brought great satisfaction to his heart.

Finally, it was:


With the instructions came an instruction manual. In order for Joshua to prepare for his journey, God gave him a road map to follow. In verses 7- 8 we read, [Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.]

In other words, God was saying, "Joshua, I have a special job for you to do. If you will follow me, I will lead you. I will be with you as I was with Moses. And, if you want to succeed, then you cling to my every word, and follow my instructions."

In fact, this is the only time the word "success" is found in the Bible. Thus, God not only declares success for Joshua, but He defines success for Joshua. The key to Joshua's success would be his hearing, heeding and honoring of God's Word. If he did that, then he would have "good success."

I remind you tonight that God has delivered to us the same call as Joshua. We have received a specific call, for He calls each one of us by name. We have received a special call, for there is a special work God wants us to do.

We have received a satisfying call, because God is with us as He was with Moses and Joshua. He has promised to "never leave us or forsake us." His name is Emmanuel, "God with us." However, that same God who came to live among us, now has come to live within us; and, He is with us through every trial, circumstance or situation.

We have also received a successful call. God has given us the road-map of His Word on our journey through life. The admonition is clear. If we follow His Word, we will enjoy success through life. However, if we forsake His Word, we will endure sorrow in life. Success is available, but only to those who honor the Lord.

In World War II, General Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright led a gallant but vain fight that led him to become a prisoner of war. For months, the Japanese mocked him and beat him. Then, one day, the news arrived that the Allied Forces had won. The Japanese guards thought Wainwright hadn't heard the news, so they approached him to inflict their daily habit of abuse.

Though Wainwright had grown frail and weak, he stood up straight and tall and said, "We have won, so from now on, I'm giving the orders around here."

The fact of the matter is that God has already won the victory, so He is the One who is giving the orders around here. Thus, our role as Christians is quite simple. If we want to succeed, then we follow His orders. If we life to pay, then we must learn to obey, just like Joshua.

A woman, calling a local hospital, said, "Hello, I'd like to talk with the person who gives the information regarding your patients. I'd like to find out if the patient is getting better, doing as expected, or getting worse."

The voice on the other end of the line said, "What is the patient's name and room number?" She said, "Sarah Finkel, in Room, 302." "I will connect you with the nursing station."

The 3rd floor nursing station answers, "Hello, How can I help you?" "I would like to know the condition of Sarah Finkel in Room 302."

"Just a moment. Let me look at her records. Oh, yes. Mrs. Finkel is doing very well. In fact, she's had two full meals, her blood pressure is fine, her blood work just came back as normal, she's going to be taken off the heart monitor in a couple of hours, and if she continues this improvement, Dr. Greer is going to send her home Tuesday at twelve o'clock."

The woman said, "Thank God! That's wonderful! Oh! That's fantastic... that's wonderful news."

The nurse said, "From your enthusiasm, I take it you must be a close family member, or a very close friend."

The lady replied, "Not exactly, I'm Sarah Finkel in Room 302, and nobody here tells me anything!"

Friend, you and I cannot plead ignorance when it comes to what God expects of His people.

We are not misinformed, ill-informed or uninformed; but, we are well-informed as the ways of God, the will of God and the Word of God.

 Finally, I call your attention to:


Other than leading the children of Israel into the land of promise, the conquest of Jericho was the greatest event in the life of Joshua. It was the first conquest in their new home, the land of Canaan.

As I consider this great conquest, I am drawn to two things about the faith-life of Joshua.

First, I see:

A. The OBSTACLE that was BEFORE Him

After 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, the children of Israel finally cross the waters of the Jordan River. Immediately after this great victory, they are faced with a massive stronghold blocking their entrance into the Promised Land.

The city of Jericho was the largest fortified city in Canaan. It was high-walled and tightly barred. It seemed to be an impregnable city to destroy, and an impossible city to defeat.

However, for the Promised Land to be claimed the city had to be conquered. They had finally made their way through Egypt, the Red Sea, the wilderness and the Jordan River. Now, however, they are faced with one more obstacle before they can possess their land of victory.

This reminds us that there are many obstacles to encounter through this life. Life is hard, and life is heavy. Furthermore, often times, the hardness of life brings the heaviness of life.

We are travelling toward our "land of promise," known as Heaven. However, before we get there, there are many Jericho-like obstacles we must tackle.

The obstacle that was before Joshua leads us to consider:

B. The OBEDIENCE that was WITHIN Him

We read in our text, Hebrews 11: 30:

[By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.]

In order for Jericho to be conquered, God had laid down specific instructions that were to be followed. For example, 7 priests were to form a procession, bearing 7 trumpets of rams' horns.

They were followed by the Ark of the Covenant.

They were to march around the city for a total of 7 days. The first 6 days, however, they marched around the wall one time a day, without saying a word, in complete silence.

Finally, on the 7th day, they were to march around the city 7 times. After the 7th time, on the 7th day, they were to blow their trumpets. And, once these specific instructions were followed, to their amazement, the walls of Jericho came tumbling down.

I can't help but think that if one of God's clear-cut instructions had been overlooked, or overturned those walls would not have budged.

However, although these were unusual instructions, Joshua did not ask any questions. He didn't form a committee. He didn't start a prayer chain. He never called a business meeting.

God had said what He wanted done, and how He wanted it done; and, Joshua followed it to the very letter.

The most amazing thing about this conquest is that no weapons were used. No assault was made against the city of Jericho. It was a battle where they never fired a shot. They had been armed with the ammunition of God's promise and power; thus, there was no need for military combat.

From a human standpoint this did not make one-bit of sense. It was almost foolish to think how this could be done, but Joshua knew that God could be trusted, so he led the people to obey God. I love William R. Newell's commentary:

"It seemed the quintessence of weakness just to go around blowing horns. But, that is what God had commanded; and they, by faith, obeyed!"

Thus, the city of Jericho was taken by an army of men who looked not to what they could do, but to what God could do with them, through them and for them. This was not something accomplished by the method of men, but by the might of God.

As you and I encounter the Jericho-like situations of our life, God calls on us to act, and re-act in ways that make no human sense. However, the battle belongs to the Lord; therefore, our job is simple. We are to turn to a God and trust in a God who is in control, and bigger than Jericho.

Steve and Harold were business partners who competed hard in every aspect of their lives; especially golf. Long ago they agreed that the only way they could play 18 holes together, without killing each other, was to never say a word.

And so it had been for 15 holes. The 16th hole, however, proved a disaster for Harold after he found his approach shot just off the green. First, he lofted a 9-iron from one side over the green to the other. Then he repeated it again, and again. Several times, Steve cleared his throat as if to speak, but thought better of it. When he did it a third time, Harold stopped, turned around, and glared at his partner.

He said, "I thought we had an agreement not to say anything on the golf course."

"I know, Harry," replied Steve, "but I just wanted to say one thing."

"Yea, what was it?" Steve said, "You've been hitting my ball!"

I'm afraid that many times in life we are guilty of hitting God's ball. We often get in His way rather than allow Him to have His way. However, the battle belongs to Him, and if we allow Him to fight it, the victory belongs to us.


I conclude with a simple, yet telling poem from the pen of Glenda Fulton Davis.

"It's not always easy to smile and be nice,
When we are called to sacrifice.
It's not always easy to put others first,
Especially when tired and feeling our worst.
It's not always easy to do the Father's will.
It wasn't so easy to climb Calvary's hill.
But we as His children, should learn to obey;
Not seeking our own but seeking His way.
It's not always easy to fight the good fight.
But it is always good and it is always right!"

May God help us to, like Joshua, allow the irresistible force of our faith to overcome the immovable objects in our future.