We conclude our study in the book of Joshua with Bible record of the last days of his life. And what a full, exciting life it was!
1. Born into slavery in E __ __ __ __, Joshua experienced first hand oppression and injustice most people cannot even imagine.
a. He was there when M __ __ __ __ returned from exile, now ordained by God as the leader of His people, Israel.
b. Surely he was aware of the taut and drawn-out confrontations between Moses and P __ __ __ __ __ __.
c. He witnessed then ten great and terrible p __ __ __ __ __ __ God brought upon the land of Eqypt, including the night of the P __ __ __ __ __ __ __.
2. Joshua was among the estimated two million people who participated in the e __ __ __ __ __ from Egypt.
a. He crossed the R __ __ S __ __ on dry land after God Himself had parted the waters.
b. He looked back to see the destruction of the pursuing Egyptian army as God released those same waters.
3. He was with Moses on Mount S __ __ __ __ when God gave His l __ __ to His people.
a. He was there when, as they descended from the mountaintop, they stumbled onto the rebellious revelry of the people around the altar of the g __ __ __ __ __ c __ __ __.
b. He saw the tribe of L __ __ __ respond to Moses' call, "Who is on the Lord's side?!" and watched as they executed God's swift and terrible justice on thousands of the disobedient Israelis.
4. As a leader of the tribe of E __ __ __ __ __ __ Joshua had been one of twelve men selected by Moses to spy out the Promised Land some 60 years before the events recorded in this morning's text passage.
a. Ten of the spies were frightened by what they saw there and reported back that it would be impossible for Israel to possess the land.
b. Only Joshua and C __ __ __ __ trusted God and believed that the land was ready to be possessed at that time. The people, however, chose to receive the report of the other ten, so they did not claim the promise of God.
5. Joshua, of course, became part of the nomadic nation in the wilderness for the next forty years.
a. He watched every adult ( except for C __ __ __ __ and M __ __ __ ) who had left Egypt with him die during that time of wandering.
b. He saw with his own eyes the presence of God going before His people in the form of a pillar of c __ __ __ __ by day and a pillar of f __ __ __ by night.
c. He lived on nothing but m __ __ __ __ for many years.
d. During this time he watched many nights as Moses, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote down the "b __ __ __ of the l __ __."
6. As one of Israel's "mighty men of v __ __ __ __" Joshua took part in battle after battle wherein he saw the power of God vanquish the enemies of Israel.
a. He led the army in the first great battle with the Amalekites, which was finally won on the basis of the outstretched hands of Moses. Victory came at last when Moses's weary arms were physically lifted by A __ __ __ __ and H __ __.
b. He marched around the city-fortress of J __ __ __ __ __ __ for seven consecutive days and finally saw the walls come tumbling down.
c. After Israel's stinging defeat at Ai, Joshua took part in the l __ __, which fell on the greedy A __ __ __ __. He heard his c __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ and then orchestrated the ministration of God's judgment on that man and his entire family.
d. In his 90's he led an incredibly successful seven-year campaign against the coalition armies of Canaan in the south and then in the north. At the end of the southern campaign Joshua personally dispatched the s __ __ __ __ enemy kings.
7. Per God's instructions Joshua divided the land among the twelve tribes, including the forty-eight cities of the L __ __ __ __ __ __ , including the six Cities of R __ __ __ __ __.
8. Finally he "retired" to the portion of the land given to his own tribe, E __ __ __ __ __ __, first having (we assume) to "clean out" remaining pockets of indigenous enemies there. Now, at the age of _____, Joshua is "stricken with a __ __" and knows he has come at last to death's door. He assembles the nation together one last time, and we are certain that a huge crowd has gathered to hear the "farewell address" of a man whose life had been successful by anyone's standards. He has come to the end of his life under ideal circumstances. Unlike most people, Joshua was allowed to die in peace; he was able to die at peace; and he was privileged to bequeath to his people a final, clearly-stated message of wisdom and truth given credence and substance by the record of his long years of experience, accomplishment and unswerving faith in God. As we shall see this morning, Joshua's testimony -- as well as the challenge he attaches to it -- is pointed, profound, and passionate.