Expectation Breakers: Joshua

Throughout Scripture we find men and women who, in tandem with God, defied expectations. Sometimes the expectations they overcame had to do with where they lived, what they did, or even who they were. Yet, as God reminds us again and again, He does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called…

With God anyone can be an expectation breaker!

Join us as we answer the question, “Who was Joshua in the Bible?” and explore how God used Joshua to draw an entire people into a new era.

Who was Joshua in the Bible?

Moses, Abigail, Esther, Daniel, Gideon, Leah, Abraham, Ruth, and many others defied the expectations of man, becoming expectation breakers as they followed the will of God… and Joshua was no exception.

Believed by many to have been born into slavery—possibly sometime between when Moses first left Egypt and his return—Joshua, like Moses, would have been unlikely to have had high expectations placed upon him by those around him, be they Egyptian or Israelites. After all, born into slavery and poverty with no end to their suffering in sight, few Hebrews expected to rise above their circumstances. And even Joshua’s slight advantage over Moses in not facing potential drowning as an infant, was hardly what anyone would consider growing up as “privileged.”

That Joshua—or any of the Israelites—made it to adulthood in a land where living or dying was almost solely in the hands of their “owners” is impressive. Yet, surpassing such expectations as these hardly classifies Joshua as an expectation breaker. No, it is what began to happen when Moses reentered the scene that caused Joshua to eventually propel beyond what anyone would have assumed.

Moses returned to Egypt and, with his brother Aaron and God, he worked toward what would be the ultimate freeing of the Israelites from slavery. Joshua, likely at this time a young adult, witnessed the signs, wonders, and miracles God made manifest! 

Joshua would have witnessed all of the plagues. Experienced crossing the Red Sea on DRY ground. Seen an entire army wiped out as the waters returned. Observed the move of God on the mountain. Heard the Ten Commandments when they were still new. Tasted the manna the Lord provided. Witnessed God bring victory to the Israelites against Amalek and his people. And more!

Yes, all the other Israelites and the Egyptians who chose to leave Egypt likely were there for each of these amazing moves of God, but few took God’s actions or God Himself to heart. But Joshua did. Joshua was open to God. Open to God’s steadfastness. Full of expectation for every promise of God to be fulfilled. Ready to see the miraculous hand of God.

Joshua realized that “with God, all things are possible” (see Genesis 18:14, Numbers 23:19, Luke 1:37 and Matthew 19:26). And it was because of Joshua’s faith, his openness to God’s plans, that God chose to work through Joshua; to cause Joshua to overcome and even cause to fall down the expectations of man.

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Joshua. From Wandering to Promise!

Joshua may not have been qualified for what God had planned in the natural, but his open heart and God’s mighty power caused him to become more than qualified…

Despite only being a young man, Joshua was tasked by Moses to choose men to go out with him to fight Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up the mountain. And, because of God’s hand, they found victory; with Moses’ raised arm being supported by Aaron and Hur in obedience to God’s will. 

Of the many ways in which God chose to use Joshua to break expectations, this is the first of which we are privy… but certainly not the last.

For while still a young man, Joshua was one of twelve men given the task of spying out the land promised to the Israelites by God. And it is after Joshua returned from that expedition that we first see how truly great Joshua’s faith and trust in God were. For while ten of the spies were adamant that to take the land as God had told them to would not work, Joshua and another spy named Caleb chose to speak out in faith. To stand on God’s promises, knowing that just as God had done amazing things in the past… He would answer His promises in miraculous ways!

Because the lack of faith in the other spies and the general agreement of all who heard their bad report, many would not get to see the land promised by God. But thankfully, Joshua, Caleb, and the younger generation of Israelites would…

And of those who would get to enter the Promised Land, God chose Joshua to be the one to lead them. To answer the call set on Joshua’s life to bring God’s children into the land set aside for them—land that their descendants reside in today. And through them, make a way for so many of God’s amazing plans and promises!

Old painting of Joshua and the walls of Jericho.

But how did that happen? What did God have Joshua do as a leader that is remembered to this day?

We all know that God had Joshua guide the children of Israel in the crossing of the Jordan river. Yet, God did not stop using Joshua after this. No. God led Joshua and those he was given charge of through victory after victory. From the walls of Jericho to Ai and beyond, God used Joshua to not only break the expectations of the children of Israel, but all those they encountered. And because of Joshua’s faithfulness, not only did he, his family, and the children of Israel prosper, but so did many others!

God chose to work wonders through a man born into slavery. God led him through the desert, had him fight Amalek, took him covertly into the Promised Land to spy out their enemies, and gave him the mantle of leader to save His people and any who were willing. To lead God’s people to victory!

Through the faithfulness of Joshua and many like him, much of the land of Israel was set in place for generations to come. Without such steadfastness, without expectation breakers… the land of Israel, the Promised Land, would not even be in the hands of God’s children Israel and His grafted-in children today. Not because God is not well-able to accomplish all of this Himself, but because He loves us. Because He delights in bringing honor to Himself through raising up the unqualified.

Whenever God moves through us, His expectation breakers, the Kingdom of Heaven comes to earth!