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The Book of Joshua Teaching

Background

A new generation rose up...

Deuteronomy 8:1-5

Deuteronomy 34:10-12 - Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, who did all those miraculous signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt–to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.

Themes

God is fulfilling his promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the Israelites. He is setting aside land for them to live and grow their nation.
The conquest of Canaan and the division of land among the 12 tribes
The ways of God in taking new ground
Lessons in spiritual leadership

But first...

The Ethics of War in Joshua

Genesis 15:16 - In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.”

See the patience of God with the Canaanites for over 400 years.

The removal of the Canaanites was not an ethnic cleansing or an imperialistic take-over.

Joshua can in no way be a justification for a modern day holy war.

God was carving out a place for his people to set up a holy nation, so that the rest of the world could see the glory of God.

Deuteronomy 7:23-26

This is God’s war. He is wiping out idolatry from the land. He is dismantling authority structures (focus on the defeat of enemy kings).

The Israelites are to utterly abhor sin (idolatry), not the peoples.

Deuteronomy 9:5

The wickedness of the Canaanites is prompting their removal from the land. God is also fulfilling his promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob from hundreds of years before.

See Judges 1:7 - a Canaanite king acknowledges God’s righteous judgement, saying, “As I have done, so God has repaid me.”

God’s end purpose: His glory revealed to all nations

Genesis 12:1-3 - all nations will be blessed through Abraham (and Israel)

Exodus 8:1, 20; 9:1, 13; 10:13 - “Let me my people go that they may worship me.

Numbers 14:20-21 - So the Lord said, “I have pardoned them according to your word; but indeed, as I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord.

What can we learn? What are the ways of God?

  • God’s glory being revealed to ALL people is important to God.
  • Purity of worship is important to God.
  • God takes idolatry very seriously. It will be judged.
  • God is patient.
  • God is a surgeon, not a murderer.
Joshua 1:3 - Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses.

Ways of God #1 - God partners with his man, with his nation.

Can you think of any other examples where God partners with people to accomplish his purposes?

What Joshua does and where he goes matters.

Joshua 1:6-9 - God speaks to Joshua, “Be strong and courageous….” three times.

• Leadership Lesson #1 - Courage is commanded. It is a step of obedience, not a feeling of bravery, not a macho display or a reckless dare.

What is the foundation for the step of courage? God’s presence and the book of the law.

  • How are we to treat God’s Words? Memorise it, speak it, meditate on it.
  • Success is guaranteed if we follow God’s ways.
Joshua 1:15

• Leadership Lesson #2 - Call for unity. Always fight together.

Joshua 2 - Rahab and the spies

Rahab acknowledges that the whole city knows the greatness of God. But only Rahab submits herself to God and comes under his protection. Joshua 2:8-14

Rahab is acknowledged as one who walked by faith (as Abraham did). James 2:25; Hebrews 11:31

Joshua 3 - Israel crosses the Jordan River

Remember, this is God’s battle. Remember the big picture of what he is doing here.

How do we participate with God in his battle?

Ways of God #2 - Consecration - Joshua 3:5

Ways of God #3 - Faith - Joshua 3:15

Ways of God #4 - Remind the generations of who God is and what he has done - Joshua 4:6

Joshua 4:13 - 40,000 Israelite soldiers

God raised up a nation of nomads into a nation of warriors. Remember the 40 years of “wasted time” in the wilderness? Nothing is wasted with God. He was disciplining them as a father disciplines a son. Deuteronomy 8:5

The Israelites crossed over “before the Lord.” This was his battle. He was to get the glory from this.

Joshua 4:14 - God elevated Joshua in the sight of the people.

Leadership Lesson #3 - Do not elevate yourself. Let God raise you up. 1 Peter 5:6

Joshua 4:24 - God repeats his overall purpose in his miracles and the conquest of Canaan… that ALL peoples of the earth may know him.

Joshua 5:1-9 - further consecration (circumcision)

Joshua 5:10-12 - Manna stops.

Ways of God #5 - God doesn’t do what he gives us the power to do (it’s a real partnership). The manna stopped, because the Israelites were able to gather produce from the land.

Joshua 5:13-15 - God is above all.

Leadership Lesson #4 - Real authority in leadership only comes in submission to God

God is allied with himself and his purposes. He is the God of holiness and the God of love always.

Joshua 6 - Jericho

This is God’s battle. The ark of God is in the midst of the strategy. Why?

Joshua 6:20 - significance of the shout?

Joshua 7 - Achan’s sin

Notice the loss of courage at the gates of Ai. Remember Joshua 1:8-9.

Joshua intercedes for his people, much like Moses had done.

Joshua 7:19 - “Give glory to God” in your confession of sin.

God deals with the idolatry of the Israelites in the same way that Jericho was dealt with. He is a just God.

Are there any connections to idolatry in your life?

Ways of God #5 - Purity of worship is more important than victory.

Joshua 8 - The Battle at Ai

Compare Joshua 7:1 and Joshua 8:3

Leadership Lesson #5 - Assumption in the battle plan will always lead to disaster.

Joshua 8:30-35 - the covenant renewed at Mt. Ebal

See Deuteronomy 11:29

Joshua 8:35 - There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded that Joshua did not read to the whole assembly of Israel, including the women and children, and the aliens who lived among them.

The men, women, children and aliens were all treated the same. They all received the law, the Word of the Lord. The Word of the Lord brings equality to all, as all bow in submission to him.

Leadership Lesson #6 - Let the Word of God be your foundation and authority for leadership.

Joshua 9 - the Gibeonite Deception (OR the Israelite Assumption)

Joshua 9:14 - The men of Israel sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord.

Joshua asked the Gibeonites, "Why did you do this?"

Joshua 9:24 - They answered Joshua, “Your servants were clearly told how the Lord your God had commanded his servant Moses to give you the whole land and to wipe out all its inhabitants from before you. So we feared for our lives because of you, and that is why we did this."

Leadership Lesson #7 - Do not walk in assumption. Always seek the Lord before acting.

Think of an example of walking in assumption, getting caught and the aftermath.

Joshua 10 - the Battle to Defend Gibeon

Joshua 10:8 - God is still working with Israel and giving them victory. He hasn’t' abandoned them in their sin of assumption.

Joshua 10:14 - There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a man. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel!

Leadership Lesson #7 - Pass on the ways of God. Give the people that follow you opportunity for their own victories.

Joshua 10:25

Joshua 10-11 - The Defeat of the Kings

Joshua 11:12 - Joshua took all these royal cities and their kings and put them to the sword. He totally destroyed them, as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded.

Joshua 11:15 - As the Lord commanded his servant Moses, so Moses commanded Joshua, and Joshua did it; he left nothing undone of all that the Lord commanded Moses.

Joshua 11:23 - Then the land had rest from war.

Complete obedience?

Read Joshua 13:13; 15:63; 16:10; 17:13

Joshua 21:45 - Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.

Joshua 24:14 - “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord."

Joshua 24:19-21 - Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the Lord. He is a holy God; he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after he has been good to you.”

But the people said to Joshua, “No! We will serve the Lord.”

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