Happy 14th birthday Joshua.
I love you very much.
I want to tell you about someone who has the same name as you. We learn about his story in the Bible. As the apprentice of Moses, Joshua was a major figure in the events of the Exodus. He went with Moses part of the way when he ascended Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments. Joshua was also one of the twelve spies of Israel sent by Moses to explore the land of Canaan. When the spies returned, Joshua and Caleb were the two believing spies who said the people should trust God and go into the land. The other ten spies said conquering the land was impossible. So God waited for 40 years for the unbelievers to die. Then he fulfilled his promises to the tribes of Israel. Joshua and Caleb were the only ones in that entire generation that would enter the Promised Land.
God appointed Joshua to succeed Moses as the leader of the Israelites and gave him a blessing of invincibility during his lifetime. After the death of Moses, Joshua led the Israelite tribes in the conquest of Canaan, and allocated the land to the tribes. Did you know that at the Jordan River parted for Joshua, like the Red Sea did for Moses? The first battle after the crossing Jordan was the Battle of Jericho. God told Joshua to march around the city once every day for six days with the seven priests carrying ram's horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day they were to march around the city seven times and the priests were to blow their ram's horns. Joshua ordered the people to shout. The walls of the city collapsed and the Israelites were able to charge into the city which they completely destroyed by God's command.
Joshua formed an alliance of Amorite kings for future battles. Did you know that at Gibeon Joshua asked God to cause the sun and moon to stand still, so that he could finish the battle in day-light? God also helped Joshua in this battle by hurling huge hailstones from the sky. From there, Joshua led the Israelites to several victories, securing much of the land of Canaan.
Now you are turning 14, the same age Joseph Smith was when he had the first vision. When Joseph had questions, he went to God for his answers. I hope you will pray when you have questions. I know God loves you. As you apprentice under your father like Joshua did with Moses, may you be humble so that you can learn all God requires of you. I know that you too will be victorious in the battles that life sends your way. God will be with you and will part the rivers of self-doubt to help you be victorious in your private battles.
Like Joshua of old, you have a companion in faith with your brother Caleb. All the other Israelites trusted God to bring them out of bondage in Egypt, but they did not have the faith to follow Him into the Promised Land. When you are faced with something that looks impossible, remember your name Biblical namesake and know that with God nothing is impossible. Also remember that Christ beckons us to join him in the Promised Land. Joshua, receive the gift of the Atonement with a grateful heart. Allow the love of God to transform you into a new being who lives the abundant life that Christ promises all true disciples.
I love you Joshua. I know that you will be a valiant soldier in God’s army and that you will never be alone as you face the battles of life. You are strong and true and God can trust you.