God doesn’t have to do a background check on us like companies often do because He knows you and I so well, but our background can play an important role in the job He chooses for us. However, His credentials are usually in contrast to what we think they should be.
In fact, those He chooses for a specific work often appear to be unlikely candidates.
Why does God choose the unlikely one for His work (1 Corinthians 2:5)?
So, if you are weak, then you are perfect to carry out a kingdom work. If you tremble at the task God has put before you but still move forward with it, then you demonstrate God’s power more. If you think you’re not qualified, well, you really aren’t. But then again, this is exactly the ones He chooses.
He often puts before us a work we feel unqualified to handle. Why? Because our weakness demonstrates the Spirit’s power!
Throughout Scripture, we find unlikely candidates. The same is true for Joshua. Let’s look at a couple things that seemed to make him unlikely for God’s greater work.
Joshua was born into slavery!
Joshua was born in Egypt at the time when the Israelites were being mistreated. He was approximately twenty years old when they exited Egypt with Moses as their commander. Twenty years is a long time to become enmeshed in a place where harsh treatment was a way of life.
What do you think life was like for Joshua in Egypt?
When you think of slavery, what comes to your mind?
We don’t have to imagine what life was like for Joshua and his people in Egypt. The Bible tells us that “they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor… and worked them ruthlessly… and made their lives bitter with hard labor” (Exodus 1:11, 13-14). For the first twenty years of his life, this is what Joshua witnessed and what he experienced firsthand. He saw hatred in the eyes of his people. They were miserable. And where misery pervades, dissension, discord, and chaos usually rear their ugly heads.
Have you witnessed this kind of misery? What was the atmosphere like?
During those long dark days in Egypt, there may have been some that tried to keep the morale up – those with positive attitudes. But I imagine that around most dinner tables, the conversations were not very positive, perhaps awful.
We discussed earlier that the United States is under attack. Therefore, we could very well face a similar scenario as Joshua did in Egypt. In fact, we may just become slaves in our own country – ruled by people who have no regard for God.
Read Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:1-10. Write down how we should respond to harsh treatment.
What are the benefits of following Jesus’ ways (Matthew 5:11-12)?
Now, let’s cover the second piece to Joshua’s background…
Joshua was a servant!
What do you learn about Joshua from the following verses?
The Hebrew word for “aide” is sarat and means “to minister, serve or attend.”
Now, here’s the thing: the position that Joshua held as Moses’ servant may or may not have been the perfect credentials for successor. Let’s talk about why this job may have made Joshua an unlikely candidate for great kingdom work and leadership.
Joshua was in the background. Moses was the one who talked to the people, led them through the wilderness, and received the commandments. He was in charge. They respected their fearless leader. His were big shoes to fill.
People with a servant heart are often overlooked in the bigger picture. We notice the people on stage, the ones who are vocal, and the gregarious leaders. But the servants usually take a back seat and that’s just fine with them. Most servants I know do not want to be noticed. Perhaps this fits Joshua as well. He loved being with Moses. He loved serving him. Moses was the one who heard from God. Joshua was called to be his helper.
I think this title surely makes Joshua an unlikely candidate.
What do you think Joshua’s day was like – as Moses aide? What do you think he learned from his teacher?
What does Jesus teach His disciples about being a servant in John 13:12-17?
What does Jesus’ teaching mean to you? How will you apply it to your life?
One last question: Based on what you learned about Joshua and what Jesus said, why do you think God may have chosen Joshua for such a commanding job?
Remember, everything we’re learning about Joshua is to prepare him for his challenging work yet.
Until next time,