Wholly follow the Lord

Imagine hearing Joshua’s game plan for overtaking Jericho…which went as follows:

March once every day for six days around the city of Jericho and on the seventh day, we will march seven times and blow our trumpets.

Your average person would be confused and think that Joshua had just lost his mind. Remarkably, just as God had promised, the walls of Jericho fell, and the Israelites easily overtook the city.

This was a unique way of conquering the enemies to say the least, but to Joshua, this was how God worked.  If you really think about it, that is mostly how God works in your life and my life, in unexpected ways.

We are first introduced to Joshua, Moses’ successor, in Exodus 17 at the battle against the Amalekites. It was an intense battle with ups and downs that ended with a victory for the people of God. However, even in this battle, the outcome was not determined by the stronger or smarter army but rather by how long Moses could keep his arms stretched out (in prayer).

This battle was the beginning of Joshua’s rise to become one of the greatest leaders of Israel. Let us pause here and ask ourselves the following questions.

Why was Joshua chosen to lead God’s people? Why did he become such a significant character in the Bible?

Perhaps the answer is simpler than what you’d expect. It was that he WHOLLY FOLLOWED THE LORD.

Surely none of the men who came up from Egypt, from twenty years old and above, shall see the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, because they have not wholly followed Me, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh, the Kenizzite, and Joshua the son of Nun, for they have wholly followed the Lord.’ (Numbers 32:11-12)

Putting an exact definition to biblical manhood may be difficult because of the unique men we see in the Bible, but a quality that we see across the board is wholly following God. Joshua embodied that quality.

This quality is also seen in mayn chosen men of God: Moses, Elijah, Job, Samuel, John the Baptist, Paul, the list goes on. They may have had different characteristics of manhood but one quality they all embodied was wholly following God.

Throughout the journey to the Promised Land, the Bible gives us glimpses into Joshua’s heart and mind. When the Israelites were on the edge of the Promised Land in Numbers 13, God commanded Moses to send out twelve people to spy on the land. Joshua and Caleb were the only two who urged the people to take the land. The other ten feared the enemies, even though victory was promised; they didn’t wholly follow God.

Joshua on the other hand was confident that God would be on their side. “If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which flows with milk and honey.’ Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them.” (Numbers 14:8-9)

Fear did not exist in Joshua’s vocabulary because he wholly followed God; he fully trusted that God’s word would come to pass and that the people of Israel would take the promised land.

Even in his final days, nothing mattered to him other than God and how he could faithfully serve him. For all he cared, it could just be him against the world.  We see this ring true in his words the verse:

“And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)

Now we can clearly answer the questions that were asked earlier.

Why was Joshua chosen to lead God’s people? 

Regardless of outside pressure, he decided that ‘today I will serve the Lord’.

Why did he become such a significant character in the Bible?

Regardless of others, he decided that ‘today I wholly follow the Lord’.

‘But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord’.  Wholly following the Lord and serving Him is truly the first step to starting the journey of real, godly, unwavering manhood.