Pastor Josh Combs
“And Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun Joshua.” Numbers 13:16
For 400 years, everyone in Hoshea’s family and the entire Hebrew nation has been in slavery. Ruthless and abusive, the Egyptians have forced the Hebrews to build store cities, attempted to slow their birth rates by aborting all the male children, and strictly limited their freedom to worship their God. Imagine four centuries of merciless, unending slavery. Hoshea’s name makes perfect sense for one born as the son of slaves. It means “desire for salvation.” Hoshea’s name was the embodiment of his parents’ and his people’s desire for freedom. God had promised Abraham, the father of the Israelites, a great nation and a promised land. However, those promises seemed far from reach. But God sent a deliverer.
Moses is used by God to bring the greatest nation on Earth to its knees. Pharaoh frees the people and Moses leads approximately two to three million Jews out of slavery to the base of Mount Sinai. Once there, God begins laying the groundwork and providing structure to a people who know nothing of civilization or government. They have known only slavery for generation after generation. As the nation prepares to leave Mount Sinai and journey to the long-promised land, a leader from each family group (tribe) is chosen to go and spy out the land. Among the tribal leaders chosen is Hoshea.
In Numbers chapter 13, the names of the twelve spies are given, along with their family group and their father’s name. Moses, the leader of God’s people and the author of the Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible, which includes Numbers), changes Hoshea’s name. Hoshea was not an orphan or Moses’ child, but Moses nonetheless makes a dramatic change to this spy’s name. The Scripture says, “Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun Joshua” (Numbers 13:16). In English and in Hebrew the pronunciation and spelling change may not be dramatic, but the meaning is a monumental change. The name Hoshea was undoubtedly given to reflect the state of Israel’s longing to be free: “desire for salvation.” Joshua, ironically, does the same. Joshua means, “The Lord is salvation.” The Hebrews had been set free by the power of almighty God. No Egyptian military might or mystical magician could match the spectacles with which God freed His people.
In Christ, Hoshea to Joshua is our story. We once longed to be free from sin, guilt, shame, and the eternal sentence of Hell. We were unable to free ourselves from slavery to sin, but God acted. He sent the deliverer, Jesus Christ, to free us from our sin and purchase us through His sacrificial work on the cross of Calvary. Whereas we once longed for salvation, we now praise the Lord Jesus, who is our salvation. If you have not believed on Jesus and repented of your sins, my prayer is that you would right now and experience the reality that the Lord is salvation.
Today’s Bible Reading: Exodus 17:8-16; 24:13; 33:7-11;
Numbers 11:28; Numbers chapter 13; Joshua chapter 1