Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss:

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You may be right where God wants you. The desperate situation that you are facing may be what it was for Israel—and that is one of your greatest opportunities to witness and to display the great power of God.

 Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, August 1, 2014.

We’d all like to see God do big, dramatic things, but we don’t want to be in the stressful situation that God tends to work in. One character from the Bible dramatically shows us the stress of life and the power of God. Life wasn’t easy for him, which is why we consider him a hero. We’re going to be studying the life of Joshua here in the summer and fall.

Nancy: We’re starting into a series on Revive Our Hearts today. I can’t even tell you at this point how long the series will be because I haven’t finished developing it. But as is so often the case, the material I teach on Revive Our Hearts is usually something that starts in my own personal quiet time, my own study that I’m doing.

For the last several months, I’ve been studying the life of Joshua. It's been so rich to me, so encouraging, and I want to share that with you. Let me tell you how I started into that study and how this series actually began.

It was several months ago that my pastor preached through the book of Joshua. I was there for one of his last messages where he was preaching on Joshua chapters 23 and 24, as Joshua gave his farewell speeches to the nation of Israel. It was just before Joshua died at the age of 110.

As I was reading those passages as the pastor was preaching, I thought, 110. That's old. Scripture says he was old. Yet he was still full of fire in his heart, devotion to God, a desire to serve God. It was like his relationship with God was still fresh and young and vibrant.

I was struck by this example of a servant of the Lord who finished well. So many don’t finish well, and I wanted to know how Joshua got to the end of his life and still had this kind of heart. He was still being faithful, still going on with God. He wasn’t disillusioned; he was still strong in his faith. How did he get to the end of his race, at 110 years of age, and be in that position?

I think probably the reason this question struck me, as I looked at Joshua’s life, was that it hadn’t been very long since our ministry board had made the decision that Revive Our Hearts should go from a quarter-hour program—which it had been for the first five years—to a twenty-five-minute program. That’s nearly a half hour daily.

At that point, I was feeling very overwhelmed. I agreed that it was the right decision. We’d gotten good counsel, and I’d prayed about it. But I was struggling in the battle of how I was going to keep up with the changes that were involved—more study, more recording, more teaching time, more coming up with new content. I was, at that point, really not wanting to keep going.

Now, I didn’t want to end my life! But I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep going in this longer-format program, and I didn’t know if I could keep going. I felt like the stress and the strain of this change was taking me under. You’ve been there, perhaps, at different seasons and situations in your life. Maybe you just had that third child, and your oldest is only four, and you think, I don’t think I can live until this oldest child is five. It’s going to take me under.

I found I wasn’t experiencing the peace, the joy and the rest that I’ve had at times in the past. As I looked at Joshua’s end, at the last chapters about his life, I felt impressed to embark on a study of the life and battles of this famous warrior, this champion, this faithful servant. I wanted to look not just at the book of Joshua, but at the life of Joshua. So actually, I spent the first several months in Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy before I even got to the book of Joshua. We will get to the book of Joshua, but we will start in Exodus where we first read about Joshaus.

As I started studying, I went online and found an online concordance and printed out a list of all the references of Joshua in the Bible, and I just started at the first one and went one by one. I said, "I want to know how this man did it." The reason I want to know is that I want the Lord to show me how I can be faithful in my calling all the way to the finish line.

Through this series we're just going to look at snapshots out of the life of Joshua. I hope this study will be encouraging to you.

You may say, “Well, I’m not a warrior; I’m not in Christian ministry. I don’t have a radio program like you do. Why would I need to study the life of this man?” But God has given you a race to run. God has given you a calling in life. You may be married, you may have children, you may be married without children, you may be single, you may be divorced or widowed, you may be out in the marketplace, you may be serving the Lord in various capacities, but God has given you some race to run. You may be young, and you’re saying, “I have no idea what the race is that I’m supposed to run.” Or you may be middle-aged or late middle-aged, thinking, I’m tired of running this race.

Regardless of where you are, I believe that you, like me, want to be faithful all the way to the finish line in doing and being whatever God has called you to do and to be. I found in the life of this servant of the Lord some really helpful insights that I think will help keep me faithful in the battle all the way to the finish line.

First Corinthians 10 talks about some Old Testament illustrations, incidences in the lives of the Israelites, and it says that these things took place as examples for us; they were written down for our instruction (v. 11). So when you read the story of the life of Joshua—in Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and the book of Joshua, and then the New Testament references to him—remember that this is not just a biography you’re reading that’s just there for history’s sake.

It is important history, but it was written for our instruction. His life was given to us as an example. There are things for each of us, in whatever season of life we find ourselves, that we can learn from the life of Joshua.

Today, I’d like to start this series by giving a bit of an overview. I want to talk about what are some of the key takeaways from this study. Because the study is going to go on for a number of weeks, I want to give you the big picture of where we’re headed.

First of all, we’re going to learn from Joshua’s life some insights in relation to various seasons of life. We’ll start with Joshua when he’s a young man, and we’ll walk with him until he is an old man. There are differences between the different seasons of life, and we’ll get insights into those differences. Let me just overview some of the chapters and seasons of Joshua’s life that we find in the Scripture.

When we start with Joshua, when we first meet him in the book of Exodus, we find him in his early years. In his early years, if I had to use one word to summarize what was happening during those years, it’s that he was learning. He was a follower; he wasn’t a leader. For the most part, at that point, he was a follower. In that period of his life:

  • He was learning to worship.
  • He was learning to wait.
  • He was learning to have a private life of integrity that would stand him in good stead when he became a public figure.
  • He was laying a foundation for the rest of his life and service.

These early years were not throwaway years. They were not frivolously spent. They were invested. They were intentional. Younger women, let me encourage you to be intentional in your pursuit of God as young women. You’re laying a foundation now for later years of your life.

Now that I am . . . I don’t know that I’ve ever actually called myself middle-aged before, but I certainly am. And I’m realizing how many things in my life today are the fruit of decisions and choices I made as a younger woman.

Now, by God’s grace, I made some good choices, and I’m reaping some great benefits and blessings from those choices, from laying that foundation. But I also made some foolish choices, and I was not as intentional as I should have been in certain areas of my life. Those are areas that plague me to this day—areas that are so much more difficult to deal with today than had I learned what God wanted to teach me in those areas when I was a younger woman.

So Joshua, in his early years, was being prepared for his life’s work. He was putting down roots. He was developing a servant’s heart. He wasn’t taking shortcuts. There are no shortcuts to spiritual maturity and victory—none. We’ll see that in this man’s life. He was becoming a faithful man. He paid the price for the achievements that he was able to accomplish later in his life. Those are his early years. He was learning. He was a learner.

Then we come to the point where Moses passed the baton to Joshua. Moses was the leader before Joshua; we’ll see that in the different passages we’ll look at. When it was Moses’ time to be taken to be with the Lord, when it was his time to die, Moses passed the baton to this younger man. And not only did Moses pass it, but Joshua picked it up.

There’s a hand-off in a relay race. Somebody carries the baton, and then they put it into the hand of the next person. The next person has to make sure they have it securely in their hand before they run the next lap of the race. We’ll look at the passing and the receiving of that baton from Moses.

Then we’ll see Joshua in his later years. In his later years, we see him as a leader. In his early years learning; in his later years leading. In his later years, we see him as a warrior. We see him understanding warfare and being a faithful follower of the Lord as he had been as a young man, but also being a gifted leader of God’s people.

We see him in his later years having faith, having perseverance. We see a public man. We get glimpses into his private life—and he made some very important choices as a young man about his private life, but those are choices that actually were manifest in his public life when he became an older man.

So we’ll see him in his later years as a leader. Then there’s another passing of the baton. This time Joshua has the baton, and he is passing it on to the next generation before he dies. He wants to make sure that the truth is passed on intact from his generation to the next. We’ll look at that.

Then we’ll see Joshua in old age, and what’s he doing in old age? He’s leaving a legacy. In his early years learning; in his mature years leading; and then in his old age, not useless, but leaving a legacy. These are the years of wisdom, the years of increased fruitfulness, the years of reward for his faithful service. In fact, if there could be a one-phrase epitaph on Joshua’s tombstone, I think it might be “Servant of the Lord,” as had been his predecessor, Moses.

So we’re going to get insights into different seasons of life. That’s an overview of the seasons of Joshua’s life, which will give us insights into the seasons of our Christian life and our spiritual growth. We’re going to learn from the life of Joshua about spiritual warfare, about victory over our spiritual enemies, about the process of spiritual growth and maturity.

We’ll learn about the importance of transferring faith from one generation to the next, and we’ll learn insights about how to do that well. We’ll learn what it takes to finish well. I was talking with one of our staff recently and we were commenting on the fact that so few in the Christian race finish well. Some start gangbusters and are up like a rocket, but they are down like a rock. We've seen it happen; you've seen it happen. Our team as a leadership team, we pray, "Lord, let us finish well." We don’t want to just run well now. We want to run well all the way to the finish line.

Through the study, we’re going to see some wonderful pictures of the Lord Jesus, pictures of Christ. Joshua’s name means “Jehovah saves” or “the LORD is salvation,” and his name corresponds to the New Testament name of Jesus. Jesus is the Greek version of Joshua in the Hebrew: “The LORD is salvation.” We’re going to see that Christ is our Joshua. We’re going to see that He is our Savior, and Joshua is a picture, in some respects, of Christ Himself.

Joshua was raised up to be a part of God’s great plan of redemption and the deliverance for his people. And his life’s work would always serve to remind people that Jehovah saves, that the Lord is salvation. There is no other means of deliverance apart from Him.

Joshua is a type of Jesus Christ, our great Deliverer. As Jehovah delivered His people from their enemies under the leadership of His servant Joshua, so Jehovah delivers us from our enemies under the leadership of our Joshua, the Lord Jesus.

Let me ask you to turn in your Bibles to Exodus chapter 17. We want to take a brief look at the first mention of Joshua’s name in the Bible. That principle of first mention is important. When you see a word in the Scripture, and it’s the first mention of that word in the Scripture, that’s often an important thing to notice. It gets you started on an understanding of how that word will be used in the Scripture.

If you go to the first three chapters of Genesis, you’ll find a lot of concepts being mentioned for the first time. But in Exodus 17, we find the first mention of Joshua, the servant of the Lord. To give you some context, so that we’re not just jumping into this chapter, let me give you a very quick overview of the first 16 chapters of Exodus. Joshua was born—where? In Egypt. He grew up in Egypt. He was a slave under Pharaoh. In Exodus 1 we read about how Joshua and the Children of Israel experienced the cruelty of the Egyptian taskmasters.

Then in chapters 4 through 7 of Exodus, Joshua was there. He knew when Moses came back to Egypt, saying to Pharaoh, “Let my people go.” Joshua would have heard about the signs and the miracles that Moses performed in the name of “I Am,” Jehovah God.

Then, in chapters 7 through 11 of Exodus, Joshua would have been there, though his name is not mentioned, when God sent the plagues of judgment against the gods of Egypt. He saw the power of God, the judgment of God against all false gods.

In Exodus chapter 12, Joshua would have been there. At God’s instruction, his family—along with the other Jewish families—would have killed a lamb. They took some of the blood and put it on the lintel and the two doorposts of their house, and then they roasted and ate the sacrificial lamb.

He would have been aware, in the middle of the night, when the angel of death went through Egypt that night. Joshua would have heard the wails and the sobs coming from Egyptian homes where the angel of death had killed all of the firstborn sons of those who didn’t have the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts. He would have been very aware that the angel of death had passed over not only his own home, but all the other homes that had blood on the doorposts. Joshua experienced that.

He experienced also, in Exodus chapter 12, escaping with two to three million other Jews from Egypt in the middle of the night. Pharaoh said, “Go, go, go.” The Egyptians said, “Get out of here.” And Joshua went with Moses and the Children of Israel out of Egypt.

Then in Exodus 13, Joshua would have been there and would have seen firsthand the presence of God in the pillar of cloud by day and in the pillar of fire by night, leading His people. Now remember, Joshua was going to become a leader, but how could he ever forget who the real leader was? He had seen God lead His people with His very presence. He was there.

In Exodus chapter 14, Joshua saw Moses lift his rod over the waters of the Red Sea when they were hopelessly trapped there. The Egyptian army was breathing down their necks, coming after them in hot pursuit—mountains on one side, mountains on the other side, and the Red Sea in front of them.

Joshua would have seen Moses lift his rod and put it over the waters. He saw how God miraculously pushed back the waters of the Red Sea. Joshua was one who was there. He experienced it along with the other Israelites. Then he stood on the other side and watched as Moses lifted up his rod again, and those waters came crashing in to destroy God’s enemies, the Egyptian army.

In Exodus chapter 15, they’re on the other side of the Red Sea. Joshua saw God turn bitter waters into sweet waters. He saw God provide miraculously. He saw God send bread from heaven, manna, when the people had nothing to eat.

When Joshua took the people into the Promised Land, do you think he could have forgotten how God led His people, God provided for His people and God protected His people? He could say, “I was there; I saw it with my own eyes.” He was remembering. He was noticing. He was observing. He was learning about the ways of God as a young man.

Then, in Exodus 17, in the first seven verses, the Israelites came to a place where there was no water. Water is one of life’s most basic necessities, and the congregation got upset with Moses and upset with God. They questioned God’s presence: “Is the Lord among us or not?” Joshua saw that God miraculously met their need, and He demonstrated His presence and His power by giving water from a rock. Moses, at God’s command, struck that rock with his rod, and the water came pouring forth.

In the next paragraph, beginning at verse 8, we find the first mention of Joshua’s name. At this point, by the way, his name is actually Hosea or Hoshea, depending on the translation, which means “salvation.” In this passage it calls him Joshua, but we learn later in Numbers 13 that his name was actually changed to Joshua by Moses later on. So his name started out as “salvation,” and then it was changed to Joshua, which means “Jehovah is salvation,” or “God saves.”

Now, let me read verses 8 and 9 as we start into this passage:

Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim. So Moses said to Joshua [the first mention of Joshua’s name] "Choose for us men, and go out and fight with Amalek.”

We’re going to spend several days on this passage, but let me just introduce it very briefly here. Verse 8: “Then Amalek came and fought with Israel.” When was that? Well, following all that we just rehearsed, and immediately following verses 1 through 7, where God sent the water from the rock to quench the thirst of these Jews.

The Israelites had witnessed one demonstration after another of the awesome power and provision and presence of God, but they’d also experienced one trial after another. You can imagine that by this point—“Then Amalek came and fought with Israel”—the Israelites may have been thinking, I thought when we left Egypt we were being rescued from trouble. It looks like we’ve gone from the frying pan into the fire. It’s one trouble, one trial, one problem, after another.

Do you ever think that about your life or the Christian life? When I became a Christian, or when I surrendered my life to Christ, I thought my life would get better, but look at all my problems now.

How many of you have more problems now, in some ways—or bigger problems—than you had before you became a Christian? You have one significant problem less, and that is that you’ve got your eternal salvation established. But in terms of temporal issues, you may be feeling, I’ve got bigger problems now, whether it’s your health, family issues, financial issues or relational challenges.

“Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim.” The Children of Israel needed to remember, and we need to remember, how they got to Rephidim. How did they get there? Well, in verse 1, which we didn’t look at, when they first went to Rephidim, it says they went “according to the commandment of the LORD.” Why were they there in this place where the enemy could come and attack them? Because God had led them there. They were in a place of obedience.

Now, there were other times when they disobeyed God, and they got in big trouble for that, but in this case, the trial, the enemy, the opposition, did not catch God off-guard. It did not catch God by surprise. God led them there. God knew they would face these trials. This was part of the process—a necessary part of the process of their getting to know God. God wanted to use this battle and other difficulties and trials to prepare His people to enter the Promised Land.

So when you face opposition—when you face enemies that catch you off-guard and come up against you; when you face trials, problems, frustrations, and struggles—don’t assume you did something wrong, and don’t assume negatively on God. You may be right where God wants you.

The desperate situation that you are facing may be what it was for Israel, and that is one of your greatest opportunities to witness and to display the great power of God. If that’s the case, you will look back, and you will say, “Lord, I couldn’t see it then, but I see it now, and I thank You.”

Father, I know there are those listening right now who are facing major enemies, some major trials, some major opposition. I pray that if they are there according to Your leading, according to Your appointment and in obedience to You, that You would strengthen their hearts.

May they just know that to be a great, great opportunity to see You at work, to see You in the battle—one that they will be able to thank You for and will be able to tell their children, "Here's how God moved in this way in my life."

Help us Lord to honor You in the midst of the opposition and to trust You. In Jesus' name, amen.

Leslie: Great perspective from Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Whatever your crisis, don’t give up. God is working in ways you might not be able to see right now.

That message is the first of many that will be so helpful to so many women over the next couple of months. Nancy is going to tell you more about it.

Nancy: You’ve joined us for the first part of an extended series on the life of Joshua. I actually started this study on the life of Joshua because I was in the midst of some battles myself. We were going through some changes in our ministry, and I was battling discouragement at points. I just wanted to see how Joshua managed to survive and thrive in the midst of those battles.

At the time we recorded this series, I didn’t realize how many difficulties would be ahead for a lot of those in our listening audience. In the months after recording this series, the economic crisis unfolded, and with it a lot of other challenges and difficulties for many of our listeners. Many of you have expressed that you truly feel that you are in a battle on one front or another.

The life of Joshua tells us, no matter what we’re facing, to be strong, be courageous. Over the coming days on Revive Our Hearts, I hope you’ll take a careful look at the life of Joshua with me. His example is going to help you deal with troubled finances, with family stress, and with anything else that may be causing you to be fearful.

Leslie: Thanks Nancy. One way to deal with fear is to dwell on God's Word. Nancy's written a book that will help you do that. The book, A Place of Quiet Rest will show you why a personal devotional life is so important. As you read it, I think your hunger to know God through prayer and His Word will grow. And you'll also get practical advise on developing those habits.
We’ll send you A Place of Quiet Rest when you donate any amount to help Revive Our Hearts continue coming to you each weekday. You can donate by phone and ask for A Place of Quiet Rest. The number is 1–800–569–5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com. We’ll be making this offer—one book per household for your donation—through August 11.
Would you like to be delivered from your battle? Find out what the life of Joshua tells you about deliverance from frightening situations. That’s next time on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

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