Lesson Five | Devotion #1: Joshua
Joshua Combs | Lead Pastor
“And Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes.” Numbers 14:6
For obvious reasons (I was named after him), Joshua has always been one of my favorite Bible characters. His story starts with birth into slavery in Egypt and ends with a victorious “retirement” in the Promise Land. He was a son, national leader, Moses’ assistant and successor, and a spy.
From within the twelve families of Israel, a leader was chosen to go and spy out the Promised Land. After 40 days, those twelve men returned with stunning reports about the land and the natural wonders they found there. Ten of those men quickly told of giants, walls, and insurmountable obstacles that would keep the people of God from success. Two of those spies attempted to rise above the fear and anxiety that was quickly getting out of hand. Joshua and Caleb were those two spies. But the people refused to listen, and the judgment of God would soon fall upon them. Within this national moment of tragedy, a unique and powerful partnership was born. Over the next 50 plus years, Caleb and Joshua would be living reminders to the people of the horrors of Egypt, the glory of God at Mt. Sinai, and the reality of the Promised Land that was before them. Their partnership and faithfulness to the Lord would inspire the people of God to cross over the Jordan and into God’s promise. Caleb, even as an old man, never seemed to lose his desire to fight for the Lord (Joshua 14:10-12), while Joshua, surely reminded of his time on the mountain near the glory of God (Exodus 24:13), kept drawing the people back to the Lord (Joshua 24:14-15). These two men were undoubtedly world changers, but the key is that they did not do it alone. A partnership is a key to changing the world.
In a book I read several years ago by Michael Eisner called “Working Together: Why Great Partnerships Succeed,” I began to realize what the Scripture was saying. While Eisner says, “Working together is much better than working alone…” the Scripture simply says, “Two are better than one” (Ecclesiastes 4:9). Lone Rangers never change the world. A single individual may get the credit, but they never accomplished their goals alone (other than Christ on the cross).
I am extremely grateful for some amazing partnerships in my life, such as my wife, fellow staff and Pastors, and others. But this story in Numbers always brings me back to my brother Caleb. As teenage boys, we ran a lawn business together, and now years later we get the privilege of serving the Lord together. We do not always agree, but our partnership and friendship, ironically in the same way as our biblical namesakes, seeks to point folks to horrors of sin, the glory of God at Mt. Calvary, and the reality of the Promised Land that is before us.