The Book of Joshua
Key Word: Possession; Key Verses (1:6; 21:45).
Moses was God’s great servant; David was God’s great shepherd; Isaiah was God’s great statesman, but Joshua was God’s great soldier. The author of the Book which bears his name takes an unchallenged place among the great military leaders the world has known. No book is more full of encouragement, wisdom and invigoration for the spiritual soldier. Its counterpart in the New Testament are the Books of Acts and Ephesians. These two books demonstrate the presence, power and possessions of the Christian in the living Lord. The Book of Joshua throbs with the same divine truth and typifies the warfare of the spirit in the conquering of the land. Over and over again it points out the secret of the life that overcomes.
The Book of Joshua teems with action and aggression under the able leadership of Moses’ successor. The Land of Promise is to be possessed, the deadly enemies defeated, conditions developed for successful operations, the Jordan crossing, conflicts in the land, division of the land; these all are of vital interest and instruction to the mind of the Christian. It is full of thrilling sights and sounds; cries and challenges; clash of arms and confusion of tongues; the din and desolation of war; the sobs of the vanquished, and the songs of the victors. Throughout each chapter one finds the manifestation of God’s Presence and His wonder-working power.
Destructive critics have sought to discredit the Book on the basis of its long and bloody trail in the slaughter of people. On the other hand some link it with the Pentateuch. The Canaanites were notorious idolaters, worshipping the sun god, Baal; for this reason Israel was commissioned to exterminate them (Gen. 15:16). God gave them 400 years of mercy to repent before the land was entered. Few acted as Rahab (2:9-11). As to linking the Book with the Pentateuch, no convincing evidence has been submitted to alter the conservative position, and the truth of the words, “And Joshua wrote these words” (Josh. 24:26).
The Fourfold Message of the Book:
1. The Book is a divine classic on the faithfulness of God (Josh. 23:14).
2. The Book designs the possessing the land. Contrast and compare it with what the Epistle of Ephesians teaches. What this Epistle is to the Church the book of Joshua was to Israel. To enjoy God’s gifts we must appropriate them (1 Cor. 10:11).
3. The Book records the delivering power of God over all enemies through Joshua, and illustrates the deliverance we have through Jesus, the Captain of our Salvation.
4. The Book re-affirms the holiness of God and His hatred of sin. While the indiscriminate slaughter of women and children is repulsive to us, yet we must remember conditions. Read Leviticus — awful immorality — worship of Molech — degrading cult of Ashtoreth — religious life — divine justice unsheathed the sword in Joshua. So today.
1. THE CHALLENGE OF THE LAND (1-2)
1. The Preparation of the People (1-2)
(1) The Summons (inner)
(a) The Lord to Joshua (1-9)
(b) Joshua to the People (10-15)
(c) The People to Joshua (16-18)
(2) The Spies (outer)
(a) The Mission of the Spies (1-7)
(b) The Covenant of the Spies (8-21)
(c) The Report of the Spies (22-24)
2. The Passage of the People (3-4)
(a) The Ark Crossing Jordan iii. 1-13
(b) The Memorial in Jordan iv. 1-18
(c) The Encampment over Jordan iv. 19-24
(3) The Purification of the People (5)
(a) New Start (1-10) Consternation of Enemy
(b) New Food (11-12) Circumcision (b) New Vision (1.3-15) Cessation of Manna, Captain of the Lord.
II. THE CONQUEST OF THE LAND (6 to 12)
(a) Campaign in the Central Section (6-9) — Jericho and Ai
(b) Campaign in the South (10)— Gibeon and Beth-Horon
(c) Campaign in the North (11)— Merom
(d) Campaign Conquests (12) (1) East of Jordon 1-6 (2) West of Jordon 7-24 Covered seven years
seven nations conquered — and also 31 kings.
III. THE CLASSIFICATION OF THE LAND (13-22)
(a) Possession of two and a half tribes (13-21)
(b) Possession of Caleb (14)
(c) Possession of nine and a half tribes (15-19)
(d) The Cities of Refuge (20)
(e) The Cities of the Levites (21)
(f) The Conflict of an altar on the border (22)
IV. THE CHARGE AND CLIMAX OF JOSHUA (23-24)
(a) The First Address — Separation 23
(b) The Second Address — Service 24:1-28
(c) The Adieu — Sepulchres 24:2933