Each week during our summer message series, Wonder Women: Female Heroes of the Bible, we highlight a male figure in the life of our feminine champion. This week’s man is Joshua, whose people were saved by our heroine, Rahab.
Joshua was an apprentice to Moses, the great liberator of the Israelite nation. Moses charged Joshua with defending the people against their enemies as they wandered in the desert before entering the land God had promised them. Once on the edge of the Promised Land, Moses asked Joshua and eleven other scouts to reconnoiter the area, in order to determine whether the land was fruitful, the cities penetrable, and the people vincible.
Upon their return, all but Joshua and another spy, Caleb, claimed that the mission was impossible because the inhabitants were “veritable giants” (Numbers 13:33). The people rebelled in fear and demanded to return to slavery in Egypt. As a result of their faithlessness, that current generation was not allowed to enter the Promised Land but rather would die wandering in the desert. God recognized Joshua’s leadership potential, however, and chose him to lead the next generation into the Promised Land years later.
The first step was to cross the Jordan River with two million people, including women and children. The water was raging and overflowed the river banks because it was harvest season. With the water about a mile wide and six feet deep, the task was formidable. But Joshua’s great faith in God allowed him to shepherd the people safely into their new home when the waters parted.
The next challenge was to conquer the land inhabited by Canaanites and other nations, whose savagery and bloodthirstiness were notorious. The first city to be conquered was Jericho. Although its fortified walls were reputed to be insurmountable, God told Joshua that they would fall once the people had marched around the city each day for six days and seven times on the seventh day, blowing trumpets on the final round. Joshua believed the Lord, and the city was conquered. Following his victory, he went on to defeat no fewer than thirty-one nations.
Joshua was faithful to God and a great leader. However, the Israelites soon grew weak because they began to quarrel with one another. Foreign nations exploited those divisions, invaded, and reconquered part of the land. After Joshua died, “a later generation arose that did not know the Lord or the work he had done for Israel” (Judges 2:8-10).
Young people today are hungry for hope and insight. But they also are growing up at risk of not knowing God, to the extent we do not invest in them. We invite you to consider sharing your faith with the next generation. Help with our new Sunday children’s curriculum this fall, serve as a catechist for youngsters, or walk with teens as they move into adult discipleship. It doesn’t take a Ph.D. in theology, just an open heart and a love for sharing the faith with youngsters.
Learn more about our faith formation ministries on our website.
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