Exploring the Bible : Joshua
Joshua is the beginning of what is known as The Books of History: 12 books in the Old that outline the history of Israel after the Exodus. The timeline begins with Joshua in 1405 B.C. and extends to Nehemiah in 424 B.C.—almost 1,000 years.
The author is widely believed to have been Joshua—Moses’ successor and leader on the Israelites as they took the Promised Land.
Joshua was born in Egypt under slavery and one of only two people who entered Canaan. He was mentored by Moses and loved God fiercely—even remaining near the tent where God was even after Moses had left (Exodus 33:11). There’s much to be said about his character but simply, he believed God and was faithful. Joshua led the nation for 20 years—being 90 when he took the position and dying at the age of 110.
The book of Joshua largely focuses on entering the Promised Land and conquering the land for possession. Let’s take a look.
ISRAEL ENTERS THE PROMISED LAND (CH. 1-5)
The first several chapters in Joshua recount many infamous and powerful passages that we often go to. God’s call to Joshua be strong and courageous; Rahab hiding the spies; crossing the Jordan. Woven throughout them all is faith—a firm belief in God’s care, goodness, and provision. Let’s dig a bit deeper.
Be strong and courageous.
Chapter 1 shows us God’s commission of Joshua—his official stepping into the new role. Why it’s often quoted is because of the widely cited “be strong and courageous” three times in nine verses. Many often take comfort in its reminder that God will not leave nor forsake them. That He is with you wherever you go.
Rahab hides the spies.
She was a prostitute and lived in Jericho—the city that Israel first conquered. She didn’t come from a godly lineage nor would she have been picked for heroism, yet, she believed God is who He says He is and acted on that faith. As a result of protecting the spies she was saved and she was grafted int he family of God. Even being woven into the lineage of Christ.
ISRAEL CONQUERS THE PROMISED LAND (CH. 6-12)
These chapter hold a series of campaigns to possess the Promised Land and it all starts with Jericho. A city with a fortress of a wall.
The Conquest of Jericho
Seven—it’s a divine number. Often used in Scripture to signify perfection. Chapter 6 is full of sevens. The marched around the city for 7 days. And on the 7th day, they marched around the city 7 times. The procession was led by 7 priests and 7 trumpets. And although this isn’t the case in every translation, in the one I use (CSB), the word “shout” is used 7 times.
Shout being a powerful word in this passage, regardless of the exact number of times it’s used. If you’re facing an obstacle—waiting for victory—perhaps it’s time to shout! Call out for victory to the God of all authority.
DISTRIBUTING THE PROMISED LAND (CH. 13-22)
In all, Israel took 35 cities. Cities that were distributed among the tribes. Cities set aside as refuge cities and for the Levites. What does this mean exactly? Well, refuge cities (6 were named) were places where someone who had inadvertently killed another could flee for protection until a trial could be carried out. It was a form of law and order in the land. And towns set aside for the Levities (48 total) were for the priests to reside; being dispersed throughout the land for easy access to those who sought spiritual guidance.
RETAINING THE PROMISED LAND (CH. 23-24)
The last two chapters of Joshua contain Joshua’s farewell speech, a brief history of their journey, and the death of the noble leader.
WHAT WE CAN LEARN
Trust in the Lord with all your heart. God is with and for you. And He goes with those who commit their ways to Him.
“As for me and my family, we will worship the Lord.” Joshua 24:15b