104-102-Joshua Chapter 1
GOD’S COMMISSION TO JOSHUA
Let us continue to look back at the Biblical history leading up to the conquest of the Promised Land of Canaan. These are historical events but they are also more than that. God speaks through history today to give us the example of His deliverance to His people from the bondage of sin. Paul makes this clear in his letter to the Corinthian Church. “Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” (1 Corinthians 10:6 1 Corinthians 10:11) The act of redemption in the Old Testament was God’s deliverance of Israel from their bondage in Egypt. By comparison the act of redemption in the New Testament is the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
Moses led the Israelite nation out of Egypt by the mighty hand of God and they began their journey to the Promised Land which had been promised by God to their father’s Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. During that time Israel witnessed supernatural providence from God. God supplied manna from heaven to eat while they sojourned in the wilderness. God gave them water to drink which flowed from the rock. God led them with a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night just to mention the most notable. During that time they received Divine revelation with the gift of the Mosaic Law which was God’s holy standard that they were to live by.
Canaan is the Promised Land promised and given to Abraham. God lives in the future tense and therefore the land of Canaan belonged to the Israelite nation ever since God’s Covenant between He and Abraham. Now the Israelites are free from the bondage of the Egyptians and journeying to the Promised Land. Today the Church Hymns suggest that the land of Canaan represents the Promised Land of Heaven.
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
I looked over Jordan, and what did I see
Coming to carry me home?
A band of angels, coming after me
Coming for to carry me home.
Biblically speaking the land across the Jordan, the Promised Land, does not speak of Heaven. In the book of Hebrews Canaan is described as a place of rest, a place of victory that every believer will enjoy. (Hebrews 3:1-19 Hebrews 4:1-16)
- B. Meyer makes a connection between the Book of Joshua and Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Both are a description of a spiritual walk of promise, wealth and victory that are the believers in Jesus Christ.
Israel’s deliverance from Egypt was a preparation for the enjoyment of the Promised Land in Canaan. This is also the example for us, the Christian believer that we are brought out from the bondage of sin so that we can have the abundant life. The wilderness is never our permanent home, we are just sojourners there traveling to the Promised Land. As a whole generation of Israelites died in the wilderness because of unbelief, so many Christians live today in a dry spiritual experience. They fail to walk in the fullness of a spirit filled life and miss the peace and joy that God has for them now.
It is interesting that the Greek name for Jesus translates to the Hebrew name Joshua. They both carry the same identical name. What the Israelites received in the Promised Land they received by the hand of Joshua. Today whatever the Christian receives from God is received through Jesus Christ, our Joshua.
Moses has now died and a new leader must be appointed for the Israelite nation. Moses because of short comings was not allowed to lead the people into the Promised Land. Joshua, who we first see in Exodus being chosen by Moses to lead in the fight against Amalek. (Exodus 17:8-16) At the time of Moses’ death Joshua is not a young man and had spent his entire career as Moses’ servant. Now by God’s call it is time for Joshua to lead the Israelite nation. As Moses’ assistant Joshua was faithful in the small things. This is a great asset for many a great man or woman. They are most prepared by being faithful to the small things.
Entrance into the Promised Land was entrusted to Joshua. He was the trustee of the land for the people of Israel. In the same way Jesus Christ goes before us and what we will inherit from God we have through Jesus. The whole of the land was given to them but they could only possess what they claimed. The whole would have to be fought for as the Canaanites were a determined enemy. With a thought God could have defeated the enemy for the Israelite people but it was a partnership between God and His people that they must see His will done. This effort was not for the faint in heart. Taking control of the Promised Land would take effort on the part of the people. Even as the victory was assured by the promises of God the nation would have to display their faith by following His command. Like the Church today it is not for those who are content with the world but for those who desire to press on to what God has called them to be.
We see here a geographical description of the Promised Land, the land that belongs to the Israelites as ordained by God. These borders were true then and are just as true today. Israel today does not hold this territory but will someday soon. The borders were from the Great Sea, the Mediterranean to the Euphrates River west to east. From Lebanon to the wilderness over the Nile River in Egypt north to south.
The victory of conquest is not assured because Joshua is the great leader that he was, or because Israel is a great nation, the victory is assured because God is a Great God, and He say to Joshua, I will be with you. This promise is enough for any man seeking to do God’s will.
Several times in Scripture Joshua is commanded to be Bold and courageous. This may expose a weakness in Joshua and therefore a need for this command. Even a great leader needs such a command. All of us may have a willing spirit but our flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41) The bold courage that Joshua needed would not be in himself but would come from God. We can be full of self-confidence that will take us to our own ruin, we should be full rather of the genuine confidence that comes from God.
Joshua, as we, must take great care to observe God’s law. God’s Word and Joshua’s commitment to obeying it would be the pillar of strength to support his success. Joshua not only needed to read God’s Word day and night but to have His word on his lips and on his mind and he had to obey what God’s Word told him to do. This was not only true for Joshua but for each one of us. God’s Word so intertwined into our life is a guarantee to a successful Christian life. This does not promise us a life without problems but assures the Christian a life able to deal with life’s problems. This is because that through God’s Word we have the full advantage of God’s presence and promises in our lives.
A Christian’s success is not measure by the same standard of the world. Even if we are counted by the world as sheep for the slaughter, we are actually conquerors through Him who loves us. (Romans 8:36-38) The final encouragement from God is a repeated one for Joshua 1:5. Here we are reminded that the success of Joshua depended upon Joshua keeping God’s Word. Even more it depended on God’s presence with him.
Sometimes the most difficult thing is to wait. The Israelites had been waiting now for forty years for the time to come to cross the Jordan River and possess the Promised Land. But now the command had been given that in three days they would cross and they must make provision. When those of us who are involved in God’s kingdom work should not waste our time, we must always be preparing the provision for the task ahead.
The tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh had already settled on the east side of the Jordan River. They were in the lands given to them by Moses but had promised to help the other tribes of Israel to conquer the lands on the west side of the Jordan River. (Numbers 32:16-32)
Joshua has reminded them that they are to aid there brother tribes in taking possession of the lands on the west side of the Jordan River. This principle applies to the body of Christ. When a Christian brother has a need it becomes the common need of the whole body of believers. (1 Corinthians 12:25-26)
We see here a unity within the tribes of Israel that was necessary for the conquest of the Promised Land. They overcame the temptation to see themselves as separate from the tribes that had not yet received their land. God had promised that He would reveal to the people that Joshua was the chosen leader to replace Moses. Here we see that the nation of Israel had accepted Joshua as their leader.
The tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh now repeated the same message that the Lord had given Joshua in Joshua 1:6, to be strong and of good courage. This is a confirmation of God’s Word to Joshua. God loves to confirm His word to us.
The People of the Promised Land
- Amalekites: the descendants of Amalek, the grandson of Esau, (Genesis 36:12) who dwelt South of Palestine in the Negev.
- Ammonites: The descendants of Ammon, the grandson of Lot by his youngest daughter, (Genesis 19:38) who lived East of the Jordan River and North of Moab.
- Amorites: A general term for the inhabitants of the land, but especially for the descendants of Canaan who inhabited the hill country on both sides of the Jordan.
- Canaanites: Broadly speaking, these are the descendants of Canaan, son of Ham, son of Noah, (Genesis 10:15-18) and included many of the other groups named here.
- Edomites: the descendants of Esau who settled Southeast of Palestine (Genesis 25:30) in the land of Seir.
- Gebalites: People of the ancient seaport later known as Byblos, about 20 miles north of modern Beirut. (Joshua 13:5)
- Geshurites: The inhabitants of Geshur, East of the Jordan and to the South of Syria. (Joshua 12:5
- Gibeinites: The inhabitants of Gibeon and surrounding area. (Joshua 9::17)
- Girgashites: A tribe descended from Canaan, which was included among the general population of the land without specific geographical identity.
- Girzites: An obscure group which lived in the Northwest part of the Negev, before they were destroyed by David. (1 Samuel 27:8-9
- Hittites: Immigrants from the Hittite empire (in the region of Syria) to the central region of the land. (Genesis 23:10 2 Samuel 11:3)
- Hivites: Descendants of Cannon who lived in the Northern reaches of the Land.
- Jebusites: Descendants of Canaan who dwelt in the hill country around Jerusalem. (Genesis 15:21 Exodus 3:8)
- Kenites: A Midianite tribe that originally dwelt in the Gulf of Aqabah region. (1 Samuel 27:10)
- Horites: Ancient residents of Edom from an unknown origin who were destroyed by Esau’s descendants. (Deuteronomy 2:22)
- Moabites: The Descendants of Moab, the grandson of Lot by his eldest daughter, (Genesis 19:37) Who Lived East of the Dead Sea.
- Perizzites: People included among the general population of the land who do not trace their lineage to Canaan. Their exact identity is uncertain.