- You see, they understood that Life could not be
accounted for by something less than the life of God, no matter how impressive
and mysterious their experience was. It didn’t matter whether it was an eclipse
of the sun, or spots on the liver of a goat, or the hiss of steam from a
fissure in the earth.
- They knew that God could not be reduced to some
physiological, geological, or psychological phenomena; God was alive, and was everywhere
working his will and challenging people with his call! God was constantly at
work evoking faith and obedience, thereby shaping a worshiping community into
his image that would show and display his love and compassion to a hurting
- I say all this to help you understand this next
set of books we are going to study. In these books, we will discover how God’s
story is being displayed through our history in specific places, and specific named
- The scripture shows us and proves to us that God
is alive. Not just an idea for philosophers to discuss or a force for priests
to manipulate. Nor is God part of creation that can be studied and observed and
managed. God is person! Someone to be worshiped or defied, to be believed or
rejected, to be loved or hated, by real people in real places on specified
- That is why these books immerse us in dates and
events, specific people and circumstances, because in history, from the Jewish perspective,
God meets us in the ordinary and extraordinary occurrences that make up the
stuff of our daily lives.
- Some people like to say
that History is the medium in which God works salvation, just as paint and
canvas is the medium in which Rembrandt made created works of art.
- So, it is with this deep sense of reverence of
history, and the dignity of their place in history and the presence of God in
history, that helps us understand the way in which the Hebrew people talked and
- They did not, like the rest of the ancient
world, make up and embellish fanciful stories. Their writings did not seek to
entertain or explain everything that happen. Instead, they strived simply to reveal
the ways of God with men and women and the world.
- They wrote about actual people and circumstances,
and their dealings with God, and in God’s dealings with them.
- So, for the Hebrews, there was no such thing as secular
history! Everything that happened, happened in a world engaged by God.
- And one other noteworthy thing to consider
before we get into the specific books, since the Jewish people didn’t talk a
lot about God in their storytelling, it is easy to forget that God is always
the invisible and mostly silent presence in everything that is taking place.
- In other words, they don’t overtly talk a lot about
God, but assume he is involved with everything that goes on. This is important
to know, because if we forget that they see God in every circumstance, we will miss
out on what they are trying to communicate to us. We will neither understand
what is written nor the way it was written.
- Point being, God is never absent from these
narratives. As far as these writers were concerned, the only reason for paying
attention to people and events was to stay alert to God!
- Now I understand that this is a difficult
mindset for some of us to acquire, since we are used to getting our history
from so-called historians, scholars, and journalists who approach history as
something that is void of God.
- And because of this, we have been trained by our
schools, daily newspapers, and telecasts to read history solely in terms of
human endeavors like politics and economics, or environmental conditions.
- But these historical books, Joshua through
Esther, are radically and refreshingly different. They pull us into a way of
reading history that involves us and everyone around us in all the operations
A. Joshua…entering, conquering and possessing the Promise Land!
General Background stuff…
- We Must start by finding Joshua, Moses’ successor as
leader of Israel, poised at the River Jordan to enter and take possession of
Canaan. Canaan was a unremarkable
stretch of territory sandwiched between massive and already ancient civilizations.
- First it is important to note, that it would
have been unimaginable to anyone at the time that anything of significance could
take place on that land. This narrow patch had never
been significant economically or culturally, but only as a land bridge between
the two great cultures and economies of Egypt and Mesopotamia.
- But it was about to become important in the
religious consciousness of humankind. In significant ways, this land would come
to dwarf everything that had gone on before and around it.
- The second important thing to note, is that what
is about to happen is because of the promise that God gave Abraham 500 years
earlier, was about to come to pass. If you remember, the People of Israel had
been landless for nearly five hundred years. The “Patriarch fathers” — Abraham,
Isaac, Jacob and his twelve sons—had been nomads in the land of Canaan.
- That was followed by a long period of slavery in
Egypt (over 400 years!), then a miraculous deliverance into freedom led by
Moses, and then forty years of testing and training for living as a free people
under God’s guidance and blessing. Now at the very beginning of Joshua, we find
the nation of Israel camped at the river of Jordan, finally ready to enter the
- A third thing to note, is how from the worlds
point of view, they would have been dumbfounded at the transformation Israel
had gone through. In the beginning, Israel was nothing
but this ragtag crew of slaves, who knew nothing of the art of war, yet somehow
became a military threat beyond belief!
- They had been farmers
and herders and builders of many of the great cities of Egypt! And even more
importantly, were slaves! So, this transformation from slaves to
warriors was mind blowing!
- Joshua had a threefold
task when it came to leading God's people:
- To lead God's people
into the land
To defeat their enemies
To possess the land
- The book of Joshua covers about 25 years from
the crossing of Jordan to the death of Joshua.
- One last thing I would like to point out, is
that for most modem readers of Joshua, the toughest barrier to embracing this
story as sacred, is the military strategy of the “holy war,” which is better
translated as the “holy curse.” Where the mandate was to kill everyone in the
conquered cities, and to destroy all the plunder, both animals and goods.
- We look back from
our time in history and think, “How horrible.” But if we were able to put ourselves
back in the thirteenth century B.C., we might see it differently, for that
Canaanite culture was a snake pit of child sacrifice and religious prostitution!
- They were known for being
devoted to using the most innocent and vulnerable members of their community
(babies and virgins) to manipulate God or gods for gain.
- Furthermore, we need to remember that God had
warned them back in Genesis 15 that judgment would come unless they repented of
their wicked ways! So, 600 years have come and gone, giving them plenty of time
to change their ways if they had any inclination to do so. Obviously, they didn’t!
- So now was the time to set things right,
allowing the justice of God to flow through Israel who was the instrument of
God's wrath upon a very wicked people! Thus, making the book of Joshua a journal of faith; an account of victory; a
record of triumph!
OUTLINE: As you can see, this book breaks down
into three specific parts!
Joshua’s Commission (Ch. 1)
ENTERING THE LAND (Ch. 2-5)
crossing of the Jordan: A crisis that brings us into rest (the Jordan) as real
as the crisis that brought us into redemption (the Red Sea).
CONQUERING THE LAND (Chas. 6-12) —as a “whole” (11:23)
Against the center (Ch. 6-9).
As a wedge between N and S
Against the south (Ch.
Against the north (Ch. 11)
Appendix of conquered
kings (Ch. 12)
POSSESSING THE LAND (Ch.
13-11) —in particular (13:1)
chapters are the “title-deeds” of the inheritances of the Tribes)
Allocations of the
tribes (Ch. 13-19)
The East bank Tribes -
Judah (& Caleb) - Ch. 14,15
Joseph - Ch. 16.17
The Seven Remaining
Tribes - Ch.
The cities of refuge Ch.
The cities of the
Levites Ch. 21
The altar of witness - Ch. 22
Lessons we as New Testament believers need to learn:
1. What is Canaan symbolic of from the New Testament point of
view? The promise land is describes over and over again as being a land
flowing with milk and honey, wine, oil and fruit. It also was said to be a
place where peace and safety reigns because they would be free of their enemies
there! All these things represent the best that life has to offer us on this
side of heaven! A land of satisfaction, security, fulfillment, plenty and
abundance that would give them rest and peace.
- Rom 14:17-18 For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or
drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
- This imagery was meant to be in contrast with
Egyptian bondage or though wildernesses leanness.
- This imagery also harkens back to the beginning
of Genesis when God’s people were living in Eden, the Garden of Paradise. This
implies that the land of Canaan represented the same kind of life that Adam and
Eve experience before sin entered the world! A life that God is determined to
- In other words, Canaan represents the kind of
life that God wants us to experience internally. Our lives should be ruled by
peace and joy and righteousness! Our lives should be so full of life and
vitality that we would declare the same thing that King David declared about
his life in Ps
23:5-6 my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all
the days of my life…
- By the way, 23rd Psalm gives us yet another picture
of the kind of abundant life that is meant to be ours as seen in both the picture
of Eden and now in Canaan!
- Another way to say all this… as one author put
it; The vision of life we are given from studying Canaan
is one where we are free from every form of bondage and in a constant state of rest
because we have ceased from striving from our own works to prove ourselves to
- In other words, this is the life that God
promises you and me, the kind of life God originally created us for! And according to the New Testament, it’s part of our inheritance! But before we can
experience it, we need to go in first and possess it! Now, this might seem like
a daunting task, but in reality, our success is guaranteed because God has said...
for I the Lord am
- Now, that is not to say this is going to be
easy. Unfortunately, the land is filled with enemies that will do everything
they can to stop and defeat you.
- Once again, we are being given a symbolic
picture of what the New Testament Christina faces every day! Eph 6:10-13 Finally,
be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God
so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle
is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the
authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual
forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
- But not only do we battle spiritual powers in
high places and against the influence that the world tries to impose on us, but
we are also battling our old nature.
- Gal 5:16-24 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will
not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires
what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful
nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you
want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
- (19-21) The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual
immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord,
jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy;
drunkenness, orgies, and the like.
- (22-24) I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like
this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love,
joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and
self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ
Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
- Verses 19-21 are the enemies of the land that
need to be overcome! As you rid your own land of the enemies, you will discover
the fruits of the land (22-23).
- You see, you don’t have to work hard to produce
fruit! It is a byproduct of taking the promise land!
- Deut 6:10-11
"The Lord your God will soon bring you
into the land he swore to give you when he made a vow to your ancestors
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It is a land with large, prosperous cities that you
did not build. The houses will be richly stocked with goods you did not
produce. You will draw water from cisterns you did not dig, and you will eat
from vineyards and olive trees you did not plant.
- In other words, once you have rid the land of the
enemies, you'll discover your land is full of fruit!
Moses (who represents the
law) could not bring us into the promised land, only Joshua (who is a picture
or type of Jesus) will lead us into our inheritance by his Grace!
- Joshua’s name in Hebrew is yeshua and means “the
Lord saves.” When the New Testament was written in the Greek language the name
Joshua was pronounced “Jesus.” Jesus’ name, therefore, also means “the Lord
saves:’ Of course the question then becomes, saves us from what?
- The angel who announced the coming of Jesus’
birth to Mary, gave us the answer: “He will save
people from their sins” (Mt 1:21).
- But as with any fulfillment of ancient prophesy,
there is always more to it that one originally thought. For example, where the first Joshua led one nation out of the world and
into the land, Jesus would lead that one nation out of the land and into the
- Another picture that Joshua gives us of the
coming Christ and the impact he would have, is the act of Joshua leading Israel
through the river of Jordan, which is a symbolic picture of baptism.
- The Hebrew word Jordan is “Yarad” which
literally means going down and is used frequently of "dying." One "goes down" to his grave. So, when
Joshua (a picture of Christ) led Israel down into the Jordan, we are being
given a picture of how through Christ death we would be reconciled to God.
- And then when Joshua leads Israel out of the
Jordan into the promise land, we are being shown how Jesus will save us by bringing
us into promise land, a picture of the resurrection life he has for us!
- Rom 5:9-10 For if, when we were God's enemies, we were
reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled,
shall we be saved through his life!
3. Here in the book of Joshua they experienced physical
blessings. In the New Testament, through Jesus, we have spiritual blessings:
- Eph 1:3 Praise be to the God
and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms
with every spiritual blessing in Christ...
- Blessings like peace, redemption, forgiveness of sin. Also, he has adopted us
into his family, he has given us authority
over demonic powers and has sealed us with the presence of the Holy Spirit!
4. The book of Joshua is a testament to God's grace
because once again it becomes clear that Israel didn't earn or deserve the Promised
Land, but it was theirs by God's choosing and grace!
5. The Key to both entering and conquering the land is faith! It’s believing in God's promises, to which he gives us no explanations, but
only in invitation to trust in him to always give us what we need for the next
this book is a testimony to the reality that there
are very real consequence’s to obeying or disobeying God!
- Deut 4:25-31 After
you have had children and grandchildren and have lived in the land a long time
— if you then become corrupt and make any kind of idol, doing evil in the eyes
of the Lord your God and provoking him to anger, I call heaven and earth as
witnesses against you this day that you will quickly perish from the land that
you are crossing the Jordan to possess. You will not live there long but will
certainly be destroyed.
- The Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and only a few
of you will survive among the nations to which the Lord will drive you. There
you will worship man-made gods of wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or
eat or smell.
- But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find
him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you
are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days
you will return to the Lord your God and obey him. For the Lord your God is a
merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with
your forefathers, which he confirmed to them by oath.
this verse, and many others, the curse of disobedience is clearly seen. There
are consequences to our choices! If we continue to choose to trust God and live
in such a way that we reflect him, then there is much blessing! Safety, health,
and victory over our enemies.
if begin putting our trust in idols, and allow our lives to reflect that, there
will be negative consequences. Ultimately, God says he will allow Israel’s enemies
to conquer them and scatter them to the ends of the earth!
as you can see in the last verse, God’s discipline is always redemptive, never
punitive! God’s hope and goal in using discipline, is to draw us back to
Lastly, many have felt that the book of Joshua gives us a picture of how God wants to use his people
to extend his kingdom throughout the whole world, thus fulfilling
one of the original Genesis mandates, of filling the whole world with his
- Joshua (a picture of Jesus) led God's people in possessing
their inheritance. Jesus talks about this in his sermon on the mount! The meek
(God’s People) will inherit the earth.
- From that, some scholars say we are being given
the picture of how Jesus wants to lead us in expanding his kingdom throughout
the whole world.
other words, there is a war going on over the souls of humanity. Jesus has
bound the strongman, so we could pillage his goods. Matt 12:28-30 "But
if it's by God's power that I am sending the evil spirits packing, then God's
kingdom is here for sure. How in the world do you think it's possible in broad
daylight to enter the house of an awake, able-bodied man and walk off with his
possessions unless you tie him up first? Tie him up, though, and you can clean
- "This is war, and there is no neutral ground. If you're
not on my side, you're the enemy; if you're not helping, you're making things
worse. THE MESSAGE:
- Until Jesus returns, the time his kingdom is restored
fully, we are called to slowly advance God’s cause by preaching the gospel to every
nation. Matt 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole
world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Now that we have all this background, we are now ready to begin exploring all the stories and their
insights into apprehending the life God has promised us! Let me
remind you this is not meant to be an exhaustive study, but only a overview. Meaning,
if something strikes you, I want to encourage you to do more study on your own!
The Calling of Joshua
- Josh 1:1After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD
said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' aide:
- Key idea: Mentoring
- The relationship between Moses and Joshua is a
great example of the power of discipleship. It was through this relationship
that Moses was able to pass down his ministry, his faith, his confidence to
- From a New Testament perspective, personal one
on one discipleship is God's most effective way to help someone grow into all
the things God has for them. We see this over and over again modeled by Jesus, John
the Baptist, the apostle Paul and Peter!
God sends Joshua
- Josh 1:2-3 "Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these
people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to
them-to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as
I promised Moses.
- Key Idea: Faith and
- The land was theirs by covenant promise, but the
enjoyment of the land came through their obedience to God's word! Wherever they
put their foot, that land became theirs! The opposite of this is true as well. Wherever
they didn’t put their foot, that land never became theirs!
- The New Testament makes the same case, it is
only by our following Jesus and applying his word to our lives, that we can
experience the fullness of his life, security, strength, and personal direction.
- The strongest evidence of knowing and loving God
is seen in that we are following his Commandments. (It should be noted that we
are not talking about your initial salvation, but rather the kingdom
The story of Rahab:
- Josh 2:17-20 The men said to her, "This oath you
made us swear will not be binding on us unless, when we enter the land, you
have tied this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and
unless you have brought your father and mother, your brothers and all your
family into your house. If anyone goes outside your house into the street, his
blood will be on his own head; we will not be responsible. As for anyone who is
in the house with you, his will be on our head if a hand is laid on him.
- Key Idea: Redemption
- She was a harlot, a prostitute who we discover
in the book of Matthew found her way into the genealogy of Christ. God’s
redemption was so complete, that irregardless of her sordid past, God wove her
into the very genealogy of Christ!
- Heb 11:31 By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she
welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.
- An interesting note here, is that the word “scarlet”
used to describe the cord put out of her window as the evidence of her faith, was
used over 70 times concerning the building of the Tabernacle of Moses. It became
a symbolic picture of God's red blood needing to be spilled for our salvation.
- This principal was introduced to us in the
Exodus story, where Israel was instructed to put the blood of the Passover lamb
over their door so that the Angel of death would bypass them. This picture of
course found it’s fulfillment in Christ sheading his blood for us on the cross,
so that we might have eternal life!
Crossing the Jordan
- Judges 3:13-16 And as soon as the priests who carry the ark
of the LORD-the Lord of all the earth-set foot in the Jordan, its
waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap." So when
the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the
covenant went ahead of them. Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during
harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and
their feet touched the water's edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing.
It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam
- Key Idea: New beginning
- Can you imagine what those first priest must
have felt as they stuck out their foot over the raging river?
- This is no different than when you first cried
out to God and surrendered your life completely to him.
- Joshua led Israel
across the Jordan River while it was at flood
stage, when the crossing looked impossible. Here we again see the power of God
to save his people against impossible odds.
- The Ark of covenant is another picture of Christ
who goes before us. Notice if you would, that the Jordan stopped all the way
back to a town called Adam! In other words, the redemptive work of Christ undoes
all the brokenness that flows into our life because of the fall of Adam and
- Rom 5:12-13 When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam's sin
brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.
- 1 Cor 15:22-23 Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam,
everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life.
Meeting the Commander of the Lords Army
- Josh 5:13-15 Now when Joshua was
he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his
hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, "Are you for us or for our enemies?"
"Neither," he replied, "but as commander of the army of the LORD
I have now come."
- Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and
asked him, "What message does my Lord have for his servant?" The
commander of the LORD's army replied, "Take off your sandals, for the
place where you are standing is holy." And Joshua did so.
- Key Idea: God has a holy
purpose for each of us!
- What other story does that last phrase remind
you of? Moses calling! Ex 3:6 "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are
standing is holy ground."
- Meaning that this was Joshua’s burning bush
experience, where God set him apart for his holy purpose! Only this time God
manifests himself as the commander of the army instead of a burning bush.
- The difference being purely circumstantial! The lesson
of the burning bush is covered in our study on Exodus. God showed Moses what he
needed through the lesson of the burning bus. Here, for Joshua to do what he
was about to do, conquering enemies far more superior, he needed a confidence that
only a general of an vast army could give him!
- Apart from that, the next question we must ask
concerning both Joshua’s and with Moses experience, is why was that ground pronounced to be holy? The
answer is twofold. First it was made holy because of God’s presence. Secondly,
it was made holy by what was occurring! Both Moses and Joshua were being set
aside for God’s holy purpose!
- Joshua then asked him a critical question; was he
for Israel or against Israel. The angel’s answer is pivotal for understanding
the storyline of the Bible. One would assume that this angelic messenger, or
God himself, would have been “against” the enemies of Israel and “for” God’s
people. What a surprise it was to hear the angel say; “Neither!”
- This was not what one would expect! But for
those who have been following the storyline closely, it would have made
complete sense. You see, God’s heart has always been for all people! Every
nation, every tribe and every tongue!
- The reason why God chose Israel was not to
annihilate the people of the earth, but rather to use Israel as his messenger
of love, in hopes of drawing all people back to Himself. In other words… Israel as God’s ambassador to offer the rest
of the world his gift of salvation!
The victory at Jericho
- Josh 6:2-5 Then the LORD said to Joshua, "See, I
have delivered Jericho
into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the
city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests
carry trumpets of rams' horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march
around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you
hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud
shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every
man straight in."
- Key Idea: Faith and obedience
releases God’s power
- The way they destroyed Jericho was amazing! They
simply walked around Jericho for seven days following the Ark of covenant (a
picture of Jesus) and worshiped! On the seventh day they walked about Jericho seven
more time, the blew their trumpets and shouted! God’s power was released destroying
their enemies stronghold!
- Of course, the act of walking around the city a
certain number of times and blasting their trumpets and yelling has no inherent
power within themselves. In other words, if they were to go to another city and
do the exact same thing, nothing would happen!
- This is not a formula for success, but rather an
example of how God’s power is released through faith filled obedience.
- One last interesting insight
from archaeology. Archaeologist discovered Jericho around 1908 and found that
the construction of the wall was unique in that there were two walls. An inner
wall that was 18 feet thick and an outer wall that was 6 feet thick! Both walls
being somewhere between 25 and 30 feet high.
- but what is even more
fascinating, that that the evidence shows that the walls blew apart causing the
outer wall to fall outward while the inner wall fell inwards, thus confirming
the biblical story of the falling of Jericho.
The Defeat at Ai
- Josh 7:3-6 When they returned to Joshua, they said,
"Not all the people will have to go up against Ai. Send two or three
thousand men to take it and do not weary all the people, for only a few men are
there." So about three thousand men went up; but they were routed by the
men of Ai, who killed about thirty-six of them. They chased the Israelites from
the city gate as far as the stone quarries and struck them down on the slopes.
At this the hearts of the people melted and became like water. Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell facedown
to the ground before the ark of the LORD, remaining there till evening.
- Key Idea: Sin and it’s
- The story of Achan and the battle with Ai, gives
us clear illustration of how one person's sin can affect the whole nation. And
that regardless of how small the enemy is, if God is not with us, they cannot
- While the victory at Jericho was the pattern for doing it right,
the defeat at Ai, the second city they encountered, serves as the pattern for doing
- God’s anger “burned” against Israel because one
of the Israelites, named Achan, had kept some of the spoil from Jericho, which
was supposed to be destroyed. At this point, we need to remember that God’s
covenant had been with a corporate people, so that when Achan sinned, the whole
nation was affected. God’s judgment came when he allowed the Israelites to suffer
defeat against Ai.
- God’s covenantal justice, however, is not
punitive but corrective. He allowed these mistakes to be rectified through
repentance. After Achan’s sin was found out and the proper justice meted out, “the
Lord turned from his fierce anger” and led them to victory against Al.
Joshua’s last admonishment
- Josh 24:14-15 "Now fear the LORD and serve him with all
faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River
and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to
you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods
your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose
land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the
- Key Idea: Who will you
- This question becomes the pivot point!
Everything that happens after this, depends upon how they would answer this
- As we have just read, God had accomplished much
through Joshua! He had led his people into the land, conquered the land, and
for the most part had possessed the land. By taking Jericho first, Joshua had
broken the main power of Canaan. So Joshua was able to attack one city at a
time till he defeated them all!
- In other words, he divided them and then conquered
them! Yet, there still remained pockets of resistance! How Israel responded to
these seemingly inconsequential pockets of resistance, would set the tone of
what was to come for the next 300 years.
- Joshua’s question of whom would they serve, was
meant to galvanize Israel’s troops into action! Joshua’s last command was for
Israel to go in and completely rid the land of all it’s enemies. And by
choosing to serve God, they would carry out these orders.
- But unfortunately, Israel did not choose to
serve God with all their hearts, which resulted in them not completely
destroying their enemies. These enemies then grew up to oppress Israel for the
next 300 years.
- Now some may wonder why God didn’t make them do
this to save Israel from years of grief? But God understood the important of
freedom. He understood, love comes from freedom. God wanted his people to love
him in the same way he loved them.
- God understood the if he took away that freedom,
he would be taking away Israel’s ability to love. And God would never do that,
even if that meant Israel had to suffer the consequences of their choices.
- You know the rest of the story, Israel did not
heed Joshua’s last command, resulting in Israel never fully occupying the
promise land. That would now have to wait 300 years till God raised up King
- All because Israel refused to deal with those little
pockets of resistance, which they could have easily defeated in the beginning.
Maybe Israel in their pride, didn’t consider them a threat because they were so
- But God knew if they were to be free of their
enemies, they needed to completely destroy them now while they had the chance. But
Israel didn’t, and those few enemies grew to be many, and then rose up and
became a constant thorn in Israel’s side. This set the scene for the time of Judges!