When we think of Joshua and David, each has a distinguishing quality for which he is best known.
Joshua, Moses' brilliant military strategist who eventually led Israel into the Promised Land, is characterized as a deliverer. Of the twelve spies sent by Moses into Canaan to survey the territory, Joshua and Caleb alone showed complete confidence that God would help Israel conquer the land. Because of their willingness to obey God, Joshua and Caleb were the only two adults who experienced Egyptian slavery who lived to enter the Promised Land. God appointed Joshua to succeed Moses as Israel's leader and deliverer because he was faithful to ask God's direction in the challenges he faced.
David, a shepherd, poet, and soldier who became Israel's second and greatest king, is best known for the principle of forgiveness.
An ancestor of Jesus Christ, he is listed in the Hall of Faith in Hebrew 11 and was described by God Himself as "a man who will obey" (1 Samuel 13:14, TLB). Undoubtedly he was one of the most famous men of the Old Testament. But he had a dark side as well. He committed adultery with Bathsheba, arranged for the murder of her husband, Uriah, and directly disobeyed God in taking a census of the people.
In spite of his failures, David's unchangeable belief in the faithful and forgiving nature of God is a source of encouragement to us today. David was quick to confess his sins sincerely from his heart, and God never held back His forgiveness (Psalm 32:1-5).
The lesson we can learn from this example is that while God may allow us to suffer the consequences of our sins as He did David, we can count on God's loving forgiveness whenever we fail.
One quality that Joshua and David shared was their confidence in God. This characteristic brought them to the forefront of greatness.
David, more than any other king, was the connecting link between God and His people. It was to this king that God said, "Your family shall rule my kingdom forever" ((2 Samuel 7:16, TLB; see also (Psalm 89:3,4, 27-29; 132:11). This would be accomplished through the one Great King who would one day be born of the family of David. This King would Himself live forever and establish a kingdom of endless duration ((Isaiah 9:6,7; (Luke 1:30-33).
I urge you to study this lesson thoroughly, asking God to help you apply the principles you learn to your life.
Joshua's name give us some insight into the book. His name means "Jehovah is Salvation." It is carried over into the New Testament in the name of our Lord "Jesus."
Read Joshua 1:1-9 and list God's promises to Joshua. What was the condition on which these promises would be fulfilled? Which can you apply to your life? How?
In Joshua 7 why did God tell Joshua to stop praying? What does God say to you in Psalm 66:18? How can you apply Numbers 32:23 to this passage?
What happened after the sin was taken away? (Joshua 8:1)
What was Joshua's command to the people before he died? (Joshua 23:6)
How do the characteristics of Joshua as deliverer foreshadow Christ's work for us?
Read I Samuel 24 and II Samuel 5 & 12. As you read these chapters, list the verses that indicate the following characteristics of David: Submissiveness, Sincerity, Boldness, Trust in God, Leadership Nature, Sinful Passion, Sorrow for Sin.
The nobility of David's character is seen in many of the recorded instances from his career, including some of those you have just read. He is described as a "man after God's own heart," and as such, he occupies a high position among the heroes of the faith. Jesus' title as the ruler of God's people is "the Son of David." Many people, however, find the stories of David's terrible sins to be absolutely contradictory to this exalted position of spiritual leadership.
How can you hold up such a man as an outstanding example of "a man after God's own heart"?
If you can answer this question, you will have grasped the essence of biblical faith. Read II Samuel 12 again, and then Psalm 32 and 51, which David wrote at that time. (You might find help in Romans 4:1-8 or Luke 7:36-50; 18:9-14)
How did David's experience foreshadow the attitude of Jesus toward sinners? Be specific.
How does Christ's roles as King and High Priest relate to deliverance and forgiveness?
What sin, or problem, do you need deliverance from today?
Read Proverbs 28:13. How can you appropriate it for your problem?
Read Joshua 24. Notice all the things that God accomplished for the people of Israel. What do you need Him to accomplish for you?
Pray, asking in faith that God will work on your behalf in these areas.
How does your heart attitude compare with that of Joshua or David? How can you use their example to live a more godly life?
Adapted from The 10 Basic Steps Toward Christian Maturity, by Bill Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. © Cru. All rights reserved.
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