Have you ever considered how many voices you hear every day? I was thinking about that this morning and started to add them up… Let’s see, there’s the voices of the singers of the Christian music we listen to throughout the day, the voice of the announcers on the Classical station we listen to in the evening, the various voices of the different folks I talk to on the phone, my neighbors, my kids, all the hospice workers, the employees of the stores we frequent, the Pastors and all the others that speak during the weekly church services… and the list goes on and on! Then of course… there are the different voices in my head!
This subject jumped out at me this morning as I continued to study Joshua 1:9. The Good News Bible declares: “Remember that I have commanded you to be determined and confident! Do not be afraid or discouraged, for I, the Lord your God, am with you wherever you go.” Right after I asked the Lord to direct my study this morning and I read this verse, the word “YOUR” started to flash in my mind’s eye! As I began to meditate on that word I realized that the Lord was making a specific point to Joshua. He made it clear to the new leader that He, the Lord was his God! This was a very personal point that He was making to Joshua.
Then I considered the first part of the verse where the Lord reminds Joshua that He had already spoken to him concerning the subject of being strong, determined and confident. And it hit me… Joshua KNEW the voice of the Lord! Out of all the voices in the camp of the Israelites that were in all probably “helping” the new leader with their own suggestions and words of wisdom, he was able to discern the voice of the Lord!
That caused me to pause and think about how I can be in a crowded, noisy room (which I have been on many occasions working with the youth and children in the church) and immediately be able to recognize my wife’s sweet voice. And then suddenly, it is like no one else is in the room as my full attention is on her! For it is a voice I trust… and love to hear! (And I’d give just about anything right now to hear it again!) Her voice is one that I have come to intimately know… and would recognize anywhere!
I believe that the same thing could be said about Joshua. The voice of the Lord his God was one that he had come to intimately know and trust. It is a relationship that he had developed through the years as Moses’ assistant. Moses was unique in his time as he had such a close and personal relationship with The Lord that would speak face to face with him… and as his personal assistant you know that Joshua wasn’t far behind him! Exodus 33:11 tells us that “The LORD would speak to Moses personally, as a man speaks to his friend. Then Moses would come back to the camp, but his assistant, Joshua, son of Nun, stayed inside the tent.” (God’s Word ©) The Easy to Read version says that “Joshua son of Nun, always stayed in the tent.”
It’s pretty easy to see that Joshua had a heart that was extremely hungry for the things of God. It seems that he always made it a point to hang around the residual anointing that lingered after Moses’ times with God in the tent or “Tabernacle of the congregation.” (Exodus 33:7 KJV) I can attest to that sensation as I also enjoyed staying behind in our church after experiencing a strong presence of the Spirit of God in some of the church services during the late 1990’s and early 2000’s!
It could have been a move in the adult service or even one that we experienced in a children’s or youth service or even during a Family Fun Night. I can remember many nights as I stood near the door with my finger poised over the alarm system keypad in the Children’s and Youth building not wanting to press the keys for I desired to stay a little bit longer as the anointing from the evening’s activities faded away!
Joshua was well prepared for the job that lay ahead for him as he diligently sought to become familiar with the voice and leading of the Lord during his apprenticeship under Moses. Then when Moses left the scene, Joshua already KNEW the voice of the Lord when He began to converse directly with him as the Children of Israel’s new leader. As I read the first chapter of the book of Joshua, I don’t see one place when Joshua questioned or doubted the identity of the voice that was speaking to him… do you?
It looks to me that Joshua barely batted an eyelash after receiving the command of the Lord, and immediately turned to his commanders, told them the plan and directed the leaders under him to get the people ready for action! (See: Joshua 1:11-18) Joshua KNEW the voice of his Lord, was confident in it and moved accordingly without any fear or temptation of discouragement!
I have to say that when Piper and I began this journey with her health difficulties, we immediately went to the Lord in prayer and quickly recognized that voice that had spoken to us on many other occasions. When He said move… we set our feet to walking. And you know… it really didn’t matter what other “advice” and/or complaints we have received along the way as we KNEW the voice we had heard and stepped out with heartfelt determination and confidence… in Him!
I also believe that Papa God KNEW exactly what we would be facing in the years that followed. One of the first courses of action He told me was to “saturate” Piper and I in the Word. He KNEW that His Word would be the Spirit and life that would carry through the ordeal we faced. (See: John 6:63) And we have and IT has as well! This practice has also helped to keep us clearly in tune to His voice. Like the voice of my wife… it is an unmistakable voice to me that I trust and obey without question!
What about you today? Is the voice of the Lord one that you can clearly identify? Is it a voice that brings immediate comfort to you? Is it a voice that you trust enough to listen to and obey?
Think about it… Remember, we strengthen and familiarize ourselves to His voice through the diligent study of His Word and through prayer.
Have a great week, and as you do keep asking yourself… “How clearly am I expecting to recognize the voice of the Lord today?”