For a while, Nehemiah was my favorite book of the Bible, but recently the story of Joshua has resonated more with me. Both are amazing stories of leadership, but each book and character deals with varying issues related to leadership.
The more that I read about Joshua, the more I wonder what it would be like to see his circumstances through his eyes. He has been selected by God and commissioned by Moses to take over the leadership of the nation of Israel and lead them over the Jordan into the promised land. I visualize Joshua as a Norman Schwarzkopf like character. He must have been a giant of a personality. Obviously, he is older than any of the other men in the mix (except for Caleb.) He has been to the school of the Tent and spent countless hours listening to God and being shaped by God into the leader that he needs to be.
I’m excited to read through this book again and mine the word for the message and takeaway that we are to gather by it.
I’m reading the Bible through in 90 days. Join me. Click here for more information on the ESV Bible in 90 day plan that I am doing.
First of all, we see now that God is talking to Joshua. We see the message. Go. Every place you step is given to you. No one can stand against you. Be strong and Courageous. Be strong and Courageous. Know the word and mediate on it. Mediate… Hmm. Joshua was at God’s teaching for so many years, and here, God tells him to mediate on the word. I guess that reinforces our need to meet up with God at the place that he gathers us so that we will listen to Him there. Then we should mediate on his message to us in other times.
The people (tired of wandering around the desert and ready to get into the promised land) tell Joshua that they are ready to follow and obey. They also remind Joshua to be strong and courageous. I bet t-shirts were made. They probably created the first hashtag with #BStrongBCourageous
Joshua sends spies in. Wow. He knows all too well that this didn’t turn out too great the first time around. Where do the spies go? The house of the prostitute, Rahab. That doesn’t seem too smart, but God uses the situation to save Rahab and family and also provides escape for the spies.
They’re united debriefing to Joshua: Truly, the Lord has given all the land into our hands.
As soon as the priests with the ark take the actual step toward the flood stage raging Jordan river, it parts. Amazing. Also, the ground is DRY. It isn’t like they had to work all that hard. When is the last time you walked through a river and didn’t sink into the silt and mud. God literally makes the ground prepared for them to walk through. Each of the 603,000+ men plus women and children experience this same dry ground.
They take 12 stones out of the river bed and create an alter and place for them to remember this moment. When their children later would look at the stones and ask what they were, they had a story to tell.
The symbolic (yet physical) ceremony of circumcision is done to second generation of men who are now on this side of the Jordan.
Joshua encounters the commander of the armies of the Lord (Jesus)
The walls of Jerico will be the first defense that the people have to scale/defeat/take down. Fortunately, God tells them that he has this one. He will reward their obedience with victory. His plan. His terms. They just have to obey.
One of the israelites, Achan, takes some devoted things and God gets angry. There is a moment of defeat where 3000 israelites are killed. Joshua goes to God in an accusatory fashion. God gets right to the point and tells Joshua to “GET UP. Why are you on your face?” God explains what happened and why they were defeated. They end up killing those involved and the Lord turns from his anger.
Ai is defeated. Again, not by might or numbers. God shows Joshua and israel that it isn’t by the might of your hand, but by the hornet of the Lord. The city is destroyed. Joshua seems to take a pause in the fighting and remind himself and the people that it is God’s mighty hand that leads them. He reads the word so that all can mediate on that message.
The gibeonites trick the israelites into a treaty. (remember that law about not making oaths) The gibeonites find salvation even though they did it through deception. By the way, in Nehemiah, they come back and aid the israelites in the wall building. I’ll have to be on the lookout for them in other areas of scripture.
The Amorites attach the gideonites. Israel comes to their defence. Sun stands still (amazing story) Graphic execution of the Amorite kings.
Other nations rise up to fight Israel. God + Israel prevails.
This chapter recounts all the kings that were defeated by Moses and Joshua. 31 total.
Joshua is described as OLD. He is to go ahead and divide up the land again. Make sure that everyone knows what their possession is.
The other old man, Caleb (out of the tribe of Judah), comes and reminds Joshua that this mountain is mine. Let me take it. I am still as strong today as I was in that day. Joshua blesses him. He does take the land.
The land has rest from war.