Last week we looked at Joshua’s encounter with the commander of the Lord’s army, which we realised was none other than Jesus himself. This week I want to look at the man Joshua himself and consider how he shadowed Jesus.
The very name ‘Joshua’ connects him to Jesus. In Hebrew, Joshua is Yehoshua or Yeshua meaning “Yahweh is salvation”. It is the same name as Jesus. Joshua was actually the name given him by Moses.
These were the names of the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun Joshua. (Numbers 13:16)
Let’s look at some of the other similarities between Joshua and Jesus;
They both had the role of ‘leader of Israel’
Joshua – Even with me the Lord was angry on your account and said, ‘You also shall not go in there. Joshua the son of Nun, who stands before you, he shall enter. Encourage him, for he shall cause Israel to inherit it. (Deuteronomy 1:37-38)
Jesus – “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” (Matthew 2:6)
They both had the same mission of bringing peace
Joshua – So the men took some of their provisions, but did not ask counsel from the Lord. And Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them, to let them live, and the leaders of the congregation swore to them. (Joshua 9:14-15)
Jesus – For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
They both had 12 appointed men
Joshua – Then Joshua called the twelve men from the people of Israel, whom he had appointed, a man from each tribe. (Joshua 4:4)
Jesus – He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. (Mark 3:16-19)
Joshua mirrored Christ as a virtuous man. He was not sinless but there are no recorded major sins or unrighteous character flaws.
Joshua was a man of faith who gave a positive report as one of only two men out of the 12 who spied out the promised land.
And Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes and said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, “The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.” (Numbers 14:6-9)
Joshua thrived on fellowship with God. He delighted in God’s presence
Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses turned again into the camp, his assistant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent. (Exodus 33:11)
I had never seen this before but if you read the whole passage in Exodus 24 it appears that Joshua was with Moses for the whole 40 days he was up the mountain and would have been in God’s presence all that time. A life changing experience!
So Moses rose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God. (Exodus 24:15)
There are too many places to mention where Jesus enjoyed times in the father’s presence but here are just a few!
And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days (Luke 4:1-2)
And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. (Mark 1:35)
In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. (Luke 6:12)
Joshua succeeded Moses as Israel’s leader (Joshua 1:1). Moses symbolised the law (as the one who brought the law to the people) but the law could not lead the people to victory or bring peace to the Promised Land. A saviour had to come and do what the law could not do. Joshua was the one who led the people into the Promised Land but that was only a shadow of all that Jesus would achieve for us. He won the ultimate victory, cleansing our lives from sin and bringing salvation beyond the Promised Land and into the whole world.