Our children’s minister Jaime recently interviewed me for her “Thursday Update” on Facebook. One of her questions was something I have been asked several times in ministry. She inquired, “Other than Jesus, who is your favorite Biblical character?” There is this standard idea that everyone who reads the Bible is inspired or identifies with one person, and they become a sort of hero of the faith.
Through the years, my answer has varied a little. In the early years, I would have responded with Paul. A man who knew no limits in his service of the Lord. He preached and planted new Churches with an unwavering devotion to Jesus. Yes, Paul was my favorite.
In the middle years of my life, I would have told you, Peter. Peter was one of Jesus’ closest followers and spent three years learning from him. He also is known for his misstatements and cowardly maneuvers. He needed grace in abundance as he walked the way of his master.
Nowadays, my response is Joshua. If I could have two, it would be Caleb and Joshua. As young men, these two were joined by ten other spies as they went to explore the promised land. Both were full of faith and believed that God would deliver the people into their hands. They had witnessed the plagues in Egypt and the miracles in the wilderness and knew God would come through. Soon after that story, Caleb slips out of focus. He comes back a couple of times in the scripture but never in a significant way. Joshua becomes a central figure in the Old Testament.
Joshua is Moses’ successor, and it is a role with pressure I cannot imagine. How do you follow one of the greatest men of faith in the entire Bible? Well, you ask God for courage. Then you lead forward in faith to the best of your ability. He never waivers in his commitment to God. He was full of faith as they approached the land and equally convinced as they move in and take over. He is a one of a kind leader in the Bible. One person pointed out to me that there is never a negative word written about him in the entire scriptures. Maybe that is why the name was given to the man we call Jesus is a form of the name Joshua. He is the Jesus of the Old Testament. He is a great person of faith through every phase of his life and a model believer to every generation that follows.
One day I hope to meet him in heaven, and I have a few questions I would love to ask. Was Moses the same in front of people as he was in private? Would you tell me a funny Moses story? How many times did you pray for courage when you followed him? What did you feel when you went to cross the Jordan river? Was there ever a moment of doubt? And on and on it goes.
This is an excellent question for every believer. Not only is it a good practice to have a favorite Bible passage but also a beloved character. You need someone to inspire you to the life of faith God desires from you. Joshua inspires me, and I hope he can do the same for you.