Suggestions on How to Read
As you read:
– Look at the different provision and help that God gave to Joshua and the Israelites.
– Look at the conversations between God and Joshua.
– Take it as Joshua and the Israelites’ journey with God.
Part I : Chapter 1 – 5
Final Preparation before entering the Promised Land
Part II : Chapter 6 – 12
Conquest of the Promised Land
Part III : Chapter 13 – 24
Forming of a Great Nation
The Israelites are just a step away from the Promised Land. But that one step seems so big and frightening. It requires them to battle with enemies larger than them, nations that are greater than them. However, they had Joshua, their leader and Yahweh, the God of Israel. The book of Joshua gives us a picture of the relationship that the Israelites and in particular, Joshua, had with God.
Joshua was dependent on God. Throughout the conquest for the Promised Land, Joshua was in constant conversation with God, getting guidance and ‘tips’ for everything. Even with his vast experience as a military commander during the time of Moses, Joshua did not depend on his own abilities but rather listening to every detail that God gives. Joshua listened to God even when the Israelites were defeated the first time in Ai. After the defeat, Joshua came to God with a posture of repentance, facedown to the ground and dust on his forehead. Notice that Joshua first turned to God, and not his military commanders. The only time Joshua failed to seek God was when the Gibeonites came to deceive Joshua and the elders into a peace treaty.
Joshua had faith in God. The Israelites that Joshua was leading into the Promised Land was ‘fresh’ out from the 40 years in wilderness. They had never experience slavery in Egypt nor did they have any experience in battle. To lead such a crowd of people into a conquest, Joshua knew his faith needs to be deeply rooted in God. Joshua was even faithful to the strange idea that God gave him to take down the city of Jericho. Such was the faith Joshua had in God to bring them into the Promised Land.
Joshua was obedient to God. When Joshua was Moses’ aide, Joshua saw how Moses was obedient to God’s instructions. Joshua was then obedient to the Moses’ instructions and was also obedient to God as he leads the Israelites to conquer the Promised Land. Joshua also made sure that all the Israelites followed God truly and whoever disobeys will not be spared. This was clearly seen in the case of Achan who kept some of the plunder that was to be devoted to God. Achan and the whole family were later sentenced to death because of his disobedience to God. In chapter 5, Joshua made sure the Israelites observed the Law; Israelites were circumcised and later celebrated the Passover as a people of God.
Claiming the Promised Land was not only to have a place of rest for the Israelites but also a sign that God was faithful in His promise. From the day the Israelites were redeemed from Egypt, God led His people with instructions, lessons and experiences, to treasure and to remember. Now is the time for another adventure, to form the great nation of Israel. From slavery to freedom, from a nomad to the beginning of great nation; this was Joshua’s journey with God. How is your journey?
- In this journey of life, are we dependent on God like Joshua did? Do we come in arrogance, demanding this and that, or are we listening to what God has to say to us?
- Joshua had such great faith in God that he entrusted the fate of Israel onto God’s hands alone. Where does our faith lie, even in the midst of treacherous waves?
- Joshua made it look easy to obey God in every circumstance in his journey. Has the standards of the world hampered us so badly that obeying God seems to get harder and harder?