Joshua

Debrief

“And Joshua said to the people, ‘Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.’” Joshua 3:5

The main message Joshua wanted every person to know was that God keeps His promises and enables us to succeed if we simply trust and obey Him. Someone once said, "Our tomorrows can be exciting and wonderful if we are all God wants us to be." God still wants to reveal to His people that He is the God of wonders, all He asks is that we set ourselves apart and trust and obey Him. The same God who reigned in Joshua's day continues to reign today. The question today is, "Where are all the Joshua's?"

Serving the Lord

“But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

We have come to the end of Joshua’s conquest of faith. He is 110 years old and has faithfully served the Lord his entire adult life. He has seen the Lord do amazing things and has experienced His chastening. Now, as he stands before the entire nation, he declares, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!”

Joshua's Farewell Address

“Therefore take diligent heed to yourselves, that you love the Lord your God.” Joshua 23:11

Joshua lived a long and lively life. His life began in slavery and ended in a sanctuary in the Promised Land, and God used him greatly the whole time. He led the children of Israel into victory over their enemy, conquered the land and claimed the promises God had given them. In other words, Joshua fought the good fight, finished the course and kept the faith.

Loyal Soldiers

“You have not left your brethren these many days, up to this day, but have kept the charge of the commandment of the Lord your God.” Joshua 22:3

The soldiers from the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh must have been so happy to head home once their “conquest of faith” was completed. For seven years they were away from their families and friends, but now were free to go home.

Cities of Refuge

Then the Lord also spoke to Joshua, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Appoint for yourselves cities of refuge, of which I spoke to you through Moses, that the slayer who kills any person accidentally or unintentionally may flee there; and they shall be your refuge from the avenger of blood.’” Joshua 20:1-3

Now that all the tribes had received their territories, the Lord spoke to Joshua just as he spoke to Moses, instructing him to have six cities of refuge placed strategically in the land, three on each side of the Jordan River. The six cities of refuge were needed because they didn’t have police in those days to investigate crimes, so if you killed someone accidentally you could flee to one of these cities to be safe from the family of the victim taking revenge. In the ancient world, blood revenge was the norm. The moment a person was killed his nearest relative took responsibility for vengeance. This ancient rite of vendetta was handed down from generation to generation.

He's Not Done With You Yet!

“Now Joshua was old, advanced in years. And the Lord said to him: ‘You are old, advanced in years, and there remains very much land yet to be possessed.’” Joshua 13:1

God commissioned Joshua as a young man to conquer the land, but even as Joshua became an old man, God reassured him that He wasn’t done with him yet. Joshua was about a hundred years old when God commissioned him to divide the land. Joshua obeyed the Lord, and for the next ten years he divided the land so the children of Israel could enjoy what God had promised them.

Our Position in the Kingdom

“And the Lord also delivered… And the Lord delivered… The Lord God of Israel fought for Israel… I will deliver all of them… And the Lord delivered them.” Joshua 10:30, 32, 42; 11:6, 8

We have come to a section of the book of Joshua that summarizes Israel’s conquests of faith in the southern and northern cities of Palestine. As I was reading through this section this morning, the five verses above jumped off the page and into my heart as I was continually reminded, “The Lord delivered all of them.”

The God of Miracles

“Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel: ‘Sun, stand still over Gibeon; And Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.’ So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped…” Joshua 10:12

Are we listening now? In the wake of the massacre in Las Vegas I wonder if we are listening now? Floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, terror attacks, wars and rumors of wars have been coming at us furiously and frequently, but have they caused us to listen? We keep searching for solutions to the problems as though there are solutions to the problems. We talk about better gun control or climate control, not understanding that we are not in control. But, God is in control, and when we walk by faith and not by sight we will see the only solution to the problems is for Him to do a miracle. Do you believe in miracles?

God is God Even When We are Goobers

“Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions; but they did not ask the counsel of the Lord.” Joshua 9:14

After the conquest of Ai, Joshua and his leaders knew the kings of Canaan were not going to give up without a fight. So Joshua and the children of Israel prepared for battle. They sharpened their swords and checked their armor, but they didn’t seek the Lord and the Gibeonites took advantage of this.   

Turn Mistakes into Victories

“Then the Lord said to Joshua: ‘Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed; take all the people of war with you, and arise, go up to Ai. See, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land.’” Joshua 8:1

Have you ever made a huge mistake? In Joshua 6, the Lord told the children of Israel, “By all means keep yourself from the accursed things,” but in Joshua 7 we read, “But the children of Israel committed a trespass regarding the accursed things, for Achan took accursed things; so the anger of the Lord burned against the children of Israel.” It was a huge mistake for the children of Israel not to listen to the Word of the Lord, and they all suffered as a result, especially Achan and his family.

An Achan Heart

“Then they raised over him a great heap of stones, still there to this day. So the Lord turned from the fierceness of His anger. Therefore the name of that place has been called the Valley of Achor to this day.” Joshua 7:26

In this one verse we see the amazing love of our heavenly Father. It was in the Valley of Achor where Achan and his entire family were judged for disobeying God’s word. Although the word “Achor” means “trouble”, later in Hosea 2:15a we read, “I will give her vineyards from there, and the Valley of Achor as a door of hope.” What our heavenly Father is saying is that if we obey His word, He will deliver us from the valley of trouble by opening a door of hope.

Overcoming Conflict

“And the Lord said to Joshua: ‘See! I have already given you Jericho into your hand, its king, and the might men of valor.’” Joshua 6:2

John Chrysostom was a preacher in the third and fourth century that faced a lot of conflict on his conquest of faith. He once said, “You are but a poor soldier of Christ if you think you can overcome without fighting, and suppose you can have a crown without conflict.”

Preparing for Battle

"And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, ‘Are You for us or for our adversaries?’” Joshua 5:13

As Joshua surveyed the city of Jericho he must have been thinking, “How should I strike this city?” At that point Joshua was functioning as any good commander would, but then he saw a Man. Not just any man, but the Commander of the army of the Lord. Joshua was the human commander of the army of Israel, but he was now in the presence of the true Commander, Jesus Christ! This is what is called a “theophany” - a temporary appearance of God in human flesh. Joshua was so moved by being in the presence of the Commander of the Lord’s army that he fell on his face and worshipped Him.