Joshua ‘born to be a warrior’

Israelites’ leader guided army in conquest of the Promised Land

Living in the 13th Century B.C., Joshua proved a worthy successor to Moses by leading the Israelites in their long, difficult campaign to take possession of the land of Canaan.

The Bible’s most memorable stories about Joshua may be in the Old Testament book named for him, including the one about his army making the walls of Jericho fall by circling it seven times and blowing trumpets in the sixth chapter and another in the 10th chapter about Joshua’s commanding the sun to stand still so his army would have time to defeat the six kings who had attacked his ally Gibeon.

The Revs. Andy Hill and Chris Hagger say it was Joshua’s faith that enabled him to perform such incredible deeds. “He has always been one of my heroes,” said the Rev. Hill, pastor of West Texas Cowboy Church.

“If I had had a boy, that would have been his name because Joshua’s courage and dedication make him stand out.”

Primarily remembered as a military leader, Joshua is exemplary of the type of man who is born to be a warrior, Hill said. “I’ve always been of the opinion that God calls warriors the same as he calls preachers or anybody else and that the time I spent in the Marine Corps and law enforcement was God’s plan at that time in my life,” he said.

“Joshua had that faith and courage to go where God sent and do what God asked of him, standing up for God’s word, God’s way and God’s will.”

Hill said the first impressive story about Joshua is in Numbers 13:1-33, where Caleb and he are the only ones of 12 spies who are not discouraged upon returning from Canaan and seeing that the Canaanites were formidable. The other spies are afraid because “there were giants in the land,” he said, and Joshua and Caleb were the only ones who were allowed to enter the Promised Land 40 years later.

“He knew that anything is possible if God calls you to do it,” Hill said. “If he sends you to do it, he will bring you the victory. It’s courage born of absolute faith that God is faithful and he will accomplish his purposes through you. It’s another example that something that doesn’t make sense to us makes perfect sense to God.”

He said being a warrior “does call for a certain temperament.

“I have spent most of my adult life in the company of warriors,” Hill said. “The conversation is different.”

The Rev. Hagger, pastor of Mount Olive Baptist Church in Andrews, said Joshua’s achievements were based on his staying within his AOR or “area of responsibility. God told him, ‘Moses my servant is dead,’” Hagger said.

“‘Don’t ever be afraid and don’t ever give up. As I promised to Moses, I make the same promises to you. I will never leave you or forsake you.’

“We all have a designated area of responsibility and if we stay in it, we receive God’s blessings.”

For another example, Hagger cited Abraham’s obedience when God told him to leave the land of Ur and go to Canaan. “You have to be in the right place with the right people, praying the right prayers,” he said.

“It’s like playing basketball. Put some skin in the game. Many times, we have qualities that God is going to use and when we get into our AOR, those qualities are waiting for us there. An acorn will be a beautiful oak tree when it is planted in the right place and can get a lot of fresh water.

“God told the prophet Jeremiah, ‘Before you were born, I knew you.’ He had been ordained to be a prophet and he needed to be what God wanted him to be. Joshua was ordained to be a leader and a man of war and he did that by faith. It makes you a lot stronger when you have faith, but you have to develop that faith. It is an elusive power that we have to be careful not to lose by becoming afraid. God is not part of what I believe if I don’t put my faith into action. I’ve got to believe in God’s character to see me through this.”