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As I was thinking about 2018, the Lord brought up Joshua in my heart. He is one of the most amazing persons in the Bible. Moreover, his name in Hebrew (Yehoshua) is very similar to the name Yeshua (or Jesus). The root of his name is the same as the root of the name Yeshua. And there are many connections between the two of them. However, I will not go into that for now.
No matter what we do or where we are at the moment, we need to start the New Year—2018— with God. Maybe right now you are facing health issues, financial or family problems, or you struggle with sin. And perhaps life and the future does not look very appealing to you right now. However, no matter where we are at this moment let us all look up again towards God and start our journey with Him.
Let us see what can we learn from Joshua as we start our journey in 2018:
1. Joshua was a man of war.
In Exodus 17 we are only months away after the Israelites did cross the Red Sea. However, their journey towards Canaan would not be without dangers. And one of the challenges they did face was a war with the Amalekites— a desert people.
The Amalekites were descendants of Amalek, a grandson of Esau. In Numbers 24:20 we read that Amalek was the first of nations— and that is in the sense that Amalek was the first nation who attacked Israel after they left Egypt.
And it is here, in this text from the Bible that we have our first encounter with Joshua. Here we see Moses asking him to lead the Israelites into the battle against their enemy. And from there we can understand that Joshua was a man of war and that he was used to doing battles. He was a man of battle experiences. We can say that because we cannot see Joshua complaining or trying to convince Moses that he is not fit for the job. Moreover, we see a Joshua ready for war.
I know 2017 was a hard year for many of us. And probably 2018 will not be more comfortable but maybe more difficult. However, I know one thing for sure, and I know that without being a prophet. I know we will have to fight. We will have to continue fighting against sin, unforgiveness, doubt, bitterness, murmuring, and idolatry, etc. I know we will have to continue to fight for our healing, for our finances and our families. I know we will have to keep fighting in prayer and fasting for our nations!
Guys, we need to be men and women of war in 2018. I can sense this in my spirit so clear. And if you will not fight, trust me that Amalek will want to fight you anyway. Let us be ready to face any battle. Let us spend time today and ask the Lord how can we prepare ourselves better for the year ahead of us. And let us pray for grace.
2. Joshua was a man who loved the Presence of God
In Exodus 24:12-13 we read how Moses did introduce Joshua to the Presence of God. And we read that Moses took only one man with him up on the mount Horeb to receive the Ten Commandments. And that man was Joshua. However, Joshua did not go with Moses on the peek of the mountain.
Nevertheless, Joshua was able to experience the Presence of God. And all of this while the rest of Israel was not even allowed to touch the mountain. And as you already know, when one experiences the glory of God, he or she is changed! However, that was not the end of the story.
We read in Exodus 33:7-11 that Joshua goes with Moses for the second time on the mountain. And again Joshua experienced the glory of God! And Joshua experienced the Presence of God so powerful that he became fascinated with God and then he just wants to spend time in God’s Presence, and we read that he did not leave the Tent.
These two things we had learned about Joshua are essential when we look at the big picture because Joshua would become the next leader of the children of Israel. And all of his journeys on the mountain with Moses and his time spent in the Tent in God’s Presence were part of his training to one day take over the leadership of Israel.
After God is telling Moses that he would not enter the promised land, God appoints Joshua to be the next leader of Israel. And that was not an easy task for Joshua. However, God did choose a man of war and a man of His Presence to be the next leader of Israel.
Joshua did act differently from the people of Israel. When they complained about Moses and God— for 40 years— Joshua spent time in God’s Presence. And I believe in 2018 the people around us will tempt us to complain and murmur. Or our flesh or the enemy will entice us to stay in self-pity and criticism. Therefore, let us learn to cultivate a spirit of spending time in God’s Presence. He is our refuge!
I believe these are a few distinct marks for anyone who wants to be a spiritual leader. And I know many of you are already some spiritual leaders in your communities or you wish you would become one. However, let us all learn from Joshua as we enter the year of 2018.
And let us pray and ask for wisdom to remain vigilant and watch over our lives. Let us ask for grace to pun on the whole armor of God, fix our eyes upon Jesus and walk into the new thing God wants to do in our lives in 2018.
How do you think we should prepare for 2018?