After wandering through the wilderness for 40 years, Joshua leads the Israelites into the Promised Land. As they move into the land, they are to remove any trace of idolatry from within Canaan or within their hearts.
- Entering the Land (1:1-5:15)
- Taking the Land (6:1-12:24)
- Dividing the Land (13:1-21:45)
- Occupying the Land (22:1-24:33)
ENTERING THE LAND
- Joshua is charged with the huge task of succeeding Moses’ leadership (Josh. 1:1-2).
- Repeatedly, God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous for the battles that were coming (Josh. 1:6, 7, 9).
- While Moses was a spiritual leader, Joshua served as Israel’s military leader and the timing was right to put him as the primary voice in Israel.
- God reminded him not to allow the Book of the Law to depart from his mouth (Josh. 1:8).
- In light of the immense task, God affirms Joshua by a simple promise: “I will be with you” (Josh. 1:5, 9).
- The promise that God is with us is one of the most repeated phrases in the Bible (Gen 3:8; 39:2; Ex. 3:12; Josh. 1:5; Ps. 23:4; 46:1, 7; 73:23; Matt. 1:23; 28:20; John 14:16; Rev. 21:3; 22:21; etc.).
- No matter the obstacle, the Bible teaches that there is no greater assurance than to know God is with an individual.
TAKING THE LAND
- Based on the help gained by the spies from Rahab the prostitute (Joshua 2), Israel sets out to take Jericho.
- Rahab is spared from the invasion as promised (Josh. 6:25).
- This further shows that God was allowing people – even people with sinful pasts – to become part of spiritual Israel even if they were not of ethnic Israel.
- Rahab has an even greater role to play as she is included in the genealogy of Jesus (Matt. 1:5).
- Joshua encounters a commander in the angelic army reminding him that he is joining in what God is doing and not vice versa (Josh. 5:13-15).
- God gives Jericho into the hands of the Israelites before the battle even begins (Josh. 6:2).
- They are to march around the city walls for 6 days. The men of war will march as well as seven priests holding the ark (Josh. 6:3).
- On the seventh day, they marched around the city seven times, the priests were to blow the trumpets and the ram’s horn, all the people were to shout, and the walls would come down (Josh. 6:4-5).
- Once they enter the city, they were to devote everything to destruction (Josh. 6:17).
- Through many battles over many years, the land eventually belongs to the Israelites (Josh. 13:6).
DIVIDING THE LAND
- Joshua divides the land by the 12 tribes of Israel (or the 12 sons of Jacob).
- While the major wars have been won, there were still battles by tribes after this time.
- While there were 12 sons of Jacob, those 12 sons are not the ones who received the land.
- Since Joseph had land allowed to him in Egypt, his father Jacob viewed Joseph’s sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, as his own and gave them an allotment for land.
- Levi and his family are assigned as the worship leaders and ministers of Israel. Instead of receiving land, their portion is none other than the Lord himself (Num. 18:20; Josh. 18:7).
OCCUPYING THE LAND
- When the battles conclude, Joshua addresses the nation as a whole one last time, but he does so as a pastor rather than a commander.
- He cannot choose the direction for each family as they begin to settle into the new normal, but he decides that as for him and his house, they will serve the LORD (Josh. 24:15).
- The Israelites intend on doing the same as they begin this next phase of Israel’s history, but time would reveal that these intentions were not carried out for long.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Distinctive Discipleship. He is married to Amanda and the father of two sons and one daughter. Travis graduated from North Greenville University with a B.A. in Christian Studies and earned his M.Div. and D.Min. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, with his doctoral focus on family discipleship.