The book of Joshua is fairly straightforward. The first half Joshua leads people into the Promised Land to conquer the peoples. And the second half is about dividing up the land for the 12 tribes of Israel to settle and build their lives.
But in this there are really rich lessons. Some of which come only at the end of the book.
1) We need strength and courage to face the obstacles before us.
What Joshua was facing was impossible. The people regularly banned together against the Israelites. If the mission failed, Israel would be completely wipes off the face of the earth. They needed inner fortitute, courage and faith in the Lord. And dont’ we all?
2) The Word of God is central.
Joshua was charged to meditate on the Word of God and recite it “day and night” so that they would careful to obey it all. A few years ago I surveyed 600 people who were in ministry. It really was 600! And yet it was shocking, and very much generational, how disengaged people were in the Word. With each younger decade, the number of people who had read the Bible was less and less. Down to the 20’s generation where only 10% of those in ministry had ever read the Word. This needs to change.
3) Faith if what Matters
We see that Rahab had faith in God, even to the point of risking her life (Heb 11:31). She rejected the gods of the people and worshiped the living God. Because of that to this day she is spoken of as a hero of the faith and a model for us all.
4) When God is working Mightily, Holiness becomes No Small Matter
I have experienced this myself on a couple of occasions. When God is on the move in an extraordinary way, the smallest sin is a big issue. Huge. And we see this here. Achan’s sin cost the lives of 36 men as well as the defeat of the Israel army. Sin cannot be tolerated.
5) We Must Never Assume But Always Get the Wisdom of the Lord
Joshua was one of the most extraordinary men of God in Scripture. He obeyed and trusted the Lord fully. Except for that one time with the Gibeonites. He neglected to seek the Lord and ended up making a treaty with a deceiving people (Jos 9:14). How often have we done this? We must seek the Lord and go where he is leading.
6) God can do amazing miracles to help his people.
The Israelites needed great courage to do what they were doing, but at the same time, it was God who was fighting for them. Even bringing hail stones. Miracles abound in the life of faith because God helps his people.
7) Those in Ministry are to be Cared for by the People of God.
he Levites and those who served at the altar were completely dependent on the offerings given by the people. The same is true today of pastors and missionaries. We must never stop making provision for those who minister full-time before the Lord.
8) Giving up on Obedience Just Because it is hard and long is not Acceptable.
The Lord told the people to completely drive out the peoples of the land. But Israel became intimidated by their iron chariots (Jos 17:16-18). Joshua called them on their excuse and told them to get it done. They didn’t and it would prove fatal for Israel.
9) Covenant is not to be made lightly (Jos 24)
I have seen some evangelism videos online that are disturbing. They give a gospel of “accept Jesus as he has a wonderful plan for your life” and without anything else, they “give their lives to Christ.” My question is how many people stay committed when life’s difficulties come?
We shouldn’t make it hard to receive the gospel or make it sound bad, but they should also know the whole picture. There’s great blessing but also a cost. God does have a wonderful plan for your lives but the message of salvation is not this. Salvation is about being saved from sin and we must repent and walk with Him.
10) What matters most is obedience to the Lord (Jos 22:5)
This comes through over and over in the Pentateuch. Love and obey the Lord. When they did that, they were blessed. When they didn’t, problems abound. That is our life goal today. Let’s love and obey him fully.