In the Book of Joshua, Joshua demonstrated his faith in God as he took up the challenge to lead the nation. The Israelites reaffirmed their commitment to God by obediently setting out across the Jordan River to possess the land. As we live the Christian life, we need to cross over from the old life to the new, put off our selfish desires, and press on to possess all God has planned for us. Like Joshua and Israel, we need courageous faith to live the new life.
Joshua and his army moved from city to city, cleansing the land of its wickedness by destroying every trace of idol worship. Conflict with evil is inevitable, and we should be as merciless as Israel in destroying sin in our lives.
Joshuaurged the Israelites to continue to follow the Lord and worship him alone. The people had seen God deliver them from many enemies and miraculously provide for all their needs, but they were prone to wandering from the Lord. Even though we may have experienced God at work in our lives, we too must continually renew our commitment to obey him above all other authority and to worship him alone.
For 40 years, Israel had journeyed a circuitous route through the dessert, but not because they were following their leader. Quite the opposite was true – with failing faith, they had refused to obey God and to conquer Canaan. So they wandered. Finally, the new generation was ready to cross the Jordan and possess the land. Having distinguished himself as a man of faith and courage (he and Caleb gave the minority spy report recorded in Numbers 13:30-14:9), Joshua was chosen to be Moses’ successor. This Book of Joshua records Joshua’s leadership of the people of God as they finish their march and conquer the promised land.
Joshua was committed to obeying God, and this book is about obedience. Whether conquering enemies or settling the land, God’s people were required to do it God’s way. In his final message to the people, Joshua underscored the importance of obeying God. “So be very careful to love the Lord your God” (23:11), and “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (24:15). Read Joshua and make a fresh commitment to obey God today. Decide to follow your Lord wherever He leads and whatever the costs.
Early Jewish tradition credited Joshua with writing this book; this is disputed by many modern scholars. But sections of the book strongly suggest that they were written by Joshua, and some of the battle narratives are written with such vivid description and minute detail that they suggest an author on the scene, Joshua himself (chapters 6-8). A commonly accepted date for the death of Joshua is about 1375 B.C., so the book must have been completed shortly after this date.
To give the history of Israel’s conquest of the Promised Land.
The Book of Joshua covers about 25 years in one of the most important periods of Israel’s history – their conquest and final settlement of the land which God had promised to Abraham and his descendants many centuries earlier. The specific years for this occupation must have been from about 1400 to 1375 B.C.
One important message of the Book of Joshua is that true and false religions do not mix. Again and again throughout their history, the Hebrew people departed from worship of the one true God. This tendency toward false worship was the main reason for Joshua’s moving forward speech. He warned the people against worshiping these false gods and challenged them to remain faithful to their great deliverer Jehovah.
Some people have difficulty with God commanding Joshua to destroy the Canaanites. But behind this commandment lay God’s concern for his covenant people. He wanted to remove the Canaanites’ idolatrous worship practices so they would not be a temptation to the Israelites. This command to Joshua also represented God’s judgment against sin and immorality. God used Israel as an instrument of His judgment against a pagan nation.
Click here to view or print a complete outline of the “Book of Joshua – Victory Over Our Enemies.”
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