Reflections on the use of the expression in the
Book of Joshua


In the previous weekly, we saw how Joshua was accorded the title, “the
servant of the LORD” at the end of his life. The same was also true of
Moses. While Moses may have been called the Lord’s servant several
times in his earthly service of the Lord (see for example Exo. 14:31; Num.
12:7-8), he was only accorded the title of, “the servant of the LORD” in
Deuteronomy 34:5 at the event of his death. The principle we need to
learn is this – while every Christian is called to be a servant of the Lord, it
is his duty to live a life of service worthy of that title. When the Lord
gives His assessment at the end of our journey on this earth, we pray that
He will judge us to have walked worthy of the title, “the servant of the

The Scripture also teaches us that when the Lord calls us to serve Him, He
will not leave us destitute of help, to aid us in the cause. For Joshua, this
help involves the training and preparation given to him before he
undertook the task of leading the children of Israel to conquer the
Promised Land. As the minister of Moses (i.e. the right-hand man or
assistant), he allowed him to gain invaluable experiences and lessons on
what it takes to lead the children of Israel.

What are some of these experiences?
1. The Murmuring of the People. Joshua saw how Moses was patient
when dealing with the children of Israel. Moses will do his best to
give God the glory, reminding the children of Israel, “Your
murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD.” (Exo.
16:8) Moses did not complain against the Lord, but executed all that
the Lord had asked him. The one time when Moses failed to give
God the glory was by striking the rock twice instead of speaking,
and it resulted in Moses not entering the Promised Land. The
servant of the Lord must thus be patient and remember to do all
things for the glory of the Lord.

2. The Golden Calf Incident. Joshua learnt the terrible consequences
of sin, as well as the importance of showing righteous anger (see
Exo. 32). God is holy, and thus the leader of the children of Israel
must be serious about holiness. Nevertheless, after his display of
righteous anger, Moses still interceded for the children of Israel
(Exo. 33), because he loved the Lord, and he loved God’s people.
He was of a merciful spirit.

3. The Twelve Spies. Joshua saw firsthand the insidious effect of
unbelief. He also understood how the majority is not always right,
and that one must stand firm with the Lord, even if it meant loss or
danger. To be alone with the Lord is majority.

4. The Attempted Usurpations of Moses. Joshua saw how Moses
dealt with the attempted usurpations of the sons of Korah (Num.
16), as well as that of Miriam and Aaron (Num. 12). In both
incidences, Moses displayed meekness and trusted in the Lord to
vindicate. The servant of the Lord must have such a meek spirit too.
And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto
all men, apt to teach, patient,In meekness instructing those that
oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance
to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover
themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by
him at his will.” (2 Tim. 2:24-26)

5. The Construction of the Tabernacle. Joshua learnt how every
thing must be done according to the Lord’s specifications, and how
the Lord will equip his servants to handle the task.

6. The Prophesying in the Camp. This incident occurred in Numbers
11:24-30. There were two men (Eldad and Medad) who remained in
the camp and prophesied. Joshua advised Moses to forbid them.
However, Moses replied, “Enviest thou for my sake? would God
that all the LORD’S people were prophets, and that the LORD
would put his spirit upon them!” (Num. 11:29) Through this,
Joshua learnt to set aside self in ministry. Christ must increase, and
the servant of the Lord must decrease (c.f. John 3:30)

Similarly, the various experiences and godly examples which the Lord
has placed in our lives are there to mould and prepare us for greater tasks
which may lay ahead of us. Firstly, there may be some young men who
may complain that their schooling experience is irrelevant for the future.
However, this schooling experience is vital in helping them to mature in
the faith, so that they may be prepared for further challenges that lie
ahead in adulthood. On the other hand, there may be some who are
murmuring about the trials they face at work. But all these experiences
serve as the school of Christ, so that we may grow in our faith.

Let us rest in the good hand of the Lord as He leads us through the
changing scenes of life. Christ is preparing His servants for further labour
to the praise of His name.

… to be continued

Yours affectionately
Pastor Clement Chew

The Most Unsatisfying of Possessions

“Money, in truth, is one of the most unsatisfying of possessions. It takes
away some cares, no doubt; but it brings with it quite as many cares as it
takes away. There is trouble getting of it. There is anxiety in the keeping
of it. There are temptations in the use of it. There is guilt in the abuse of
it. There is sorrow in the losing of it. There is perplexity in the disposing
of it. Two-thirds of all the strifes, quarrels, and lawsuits in the world arise
from one simple cause – money!

J.C. Ryle

“It is very difficult for a man to have much money running through his
hands without some of it sticking. It is very sticky stuff; and when it once
sticks to the hands, they are not clean in the sight of the Lord. Unless a
man is able to use money without abusing it, accepting it as a talent lent to
him, and not as treasure given to him, it will very soon happen that, the
more money he has, the more troubles he will have.”

C. H. Spurgeon