Joshua (Josh)

The sixth book of the OT, having 24 chapters. Joshua is considered to be the author except for the last few verses. This historical book records the conquest of the Promised Land, which occurred about 1406 BC. Time to read: 2 hrs 10 mins.

Key people include: Joshua, Rahab, Achan, Caleb.

Outline.  Joshua, the new leader of the Israelites, was encouraged when God told him, “I will give you every place you set your feet strong and what I say and you will prosper” (Josh 1:3,6,8).  The Israelites crossed the Jordan and entered the Promised Land, which was considered west of the Jordan River although even the east side was part of the land God had declared was to be theirs. The nation reaffirmed its commitment to God and the covenant by submitting to circumcision. The army began taking and conquering the land city by city.  Jericho was an astounding victory but they were humiliated at Ai.  It was later discovered one man had violated God’s command to destroy all the personal possessions along with all the inhabitants of Jericho (only Rahab and her family were spared because she had protected the Israeli spies). This sin of disobedience was purged when Achan, the offender, along with his whole family was destroyed. God told the Israelites to completely destroy many of the heathen races who were occupying the Promised Land of Canaan (Deut 20:16, Josh 11:14,20). Even after several years of warfare, the job was not complete, however the Promised Land was divided up and the tribes received their inheritance. 

Main lesson. God is faithful to His Word and brought Abraham's descendants into their promised inheritance (Gen 17:8). As with us there will be battles in our spiritual walk to gain and retain what is our rightful possession as children of God. This requires us to walk obediently in close fellowship with the Lord besides dealing drastically and decisively with the enemy, not making a compromise or else this will be the cause of us being snared and trapped later (Josh 23:12,13).

Key verses or thoughts: * Be courageous, speak, think about and do God’s Word then you will be successful (Josh 1:7,8). Attitudes, thoughts, words and actions, coupled with faith, determine the outcome of our lives. The world’s definition of success is power and wealth but in God’s eyes success is based on obedience to His Word – both the written (Bible) and the prompting of the Holy Spirit, enabling us to carry out His purposes and receive His “Well done” (Lk 19:17). To what degree do the Scriptures influence my lifestyle? Do I consider my life to be successful by divine standards?

* Prior to entering into all God had purposed for them the new generation of males had to be circumcised (Josh 5:2-9). As a nation, they had to fully obey all the past directives (which may have been conveniently forgotten). What has God spoken to me that I have failed to carry out? It is probably a block preventing me moving on ‘in God’. Be determined that nothing will be too costly to give up for spiritual enlargement and long-term gain.

* The conquest of Canaan took a long time. Even several years after the entry into Canaan and the battles began, there was still much land to be brought under divine control (Josh 11:18, 13:1). Sometimes the gaining of victories in our lives seems to be a never-ending exercise with some battles needing to be fought time after time in order to see change. Our journey with God is a lifelong process but provided we are still moving forward with new areas of our lives coming under the Lordship of Christ and past ‘conquered land’ being held we are making progress. He will complete that which He has started (Ex 23:30; Phil 1:6).

See also: Caleb, circumcision, conquer, Joshua, obedience, Promised Land, Rahab.