Be Strong & Of A Good Courage: Why Study the Book of Joshua
Despite so much talk about ‘leadership’ today, there is a curious absence of the most important character quality: courage. Without courage, you cannot go forward, overcome obstacles, suppress fear, and make it safely to your destination. In short, without courage, you cannot lead. Remember that courage is not bravado, bullying, biceps, or bluster. Courage is the mastery of fear, a steeling determination to go forward, to take one’s focus off the obstacles and aim it clearly at the prize. No turning back.
To live as a Bible-believing Christian in an increasingly hostile world takes courage, conviction, and consecration, while willing to turn one’s back on comfort, convenience, and cowardice. In order to become ‘strong and courageous,’ one needs to learn the Bible, God’s Holy Word.
A great inspiration for this is the Book of Joshua. It is the first of a series of historical books in the Bible. The Book of Joshua has a victorious theme: After centuries of exile in Egypt, the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob finally inherit the land promised to their fathers. The exodus is finished, the land is possessed, and the covenant with God renewed in the land.
Here are some points to get you started in your study of Joshua.
He came from the tribe of Ephraim and his original name was Hoshea, the son of Nun. Hoshea means ‘salvation.’ In Numbers 13:16, Moses changes his name to Yehoshua or Joshua, which means ‘Yahweh is salvation.’ The diminutive form of Yehoshua is Yeshua, the Hebrew name for Jesus.
While so many Bible books have anonymous authors, this one does not. It says in that Joshua wrote these words in the Book of the Law (Joshua 24:26). So he is the author of the book that bears his name.
Possess your possession.
Portrait of Christ in Joshua
1. Scarlet cord: Rahab the harlot and her city of Jericho were scheduled for invasion and destruction. The only thing that would save her and her family was hanging a scarlet coloured cord on the window of their home. Whoever dwelt in the house where the scarlet cord hung when the invasion occurred would be spared (2:18-19). This is similar to an event which happened 40 years earlier in Egypt: The Passoer. The death angel passed over any (Israelite) house in the land of Egypt that had the shed blood of the passover lamb on the window or door. What a powerful metaphor of the blood of Christ cleansing us from all sin (I John 1:7) and delivering us from death.
2. Commander of the LORD’s Army (5:14): On the eve of the invasion of Jericho, the Commander stood before Joshua, who asked him if he was on Israel’s side or their enemies. He answered ‘Neither: I am Commander of the Lord’s army.’ This Commander had to be the Lord Himself because a) Joshua fell on his face and worshipped him and b) He said that the ground was holy.
Jesus Christ is coming back again, not to take sides, but to take over.
Joshua 1:8-9 (NKJV): This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Joshua 11:23 (KJV): So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD said unto Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. And the land rested from war.
• Fulfilled covenant: The Book of Joshua shows the proof that God fulfilled His covenant to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give their descendants the land of Canaan. God is faithful to His word (21:43, 45).
• Joshua: A forerunner of Jesus, Who leads His people out of sin and into their promised inheritance;
• Jordan River: Boundary to the promised land. It represents a line of consecration which needs to be crossed.
• Canaan: Represents our inheritance before God.
• Gilgal: Israel’s first camp in Canaan. It represents a place of covenant, where the ‘reproach of Egypt’ was rolled away.
• Conquest of Canaan: We have a glorious inheritance in Christ but we must ‘fight the good fight of faith’ (I Timothy 6:12) in order to receive it;
• Holy and Herem: The land was the holy inheritance of God but there were parts that were ‘herem,’ the accursed thing assigned for destruction. Jericho was one of those places. Failure to completely destroy the accursed brought judgment on Israel (Joshua 7:10-13).
• Supernatural intervention: In the battle of the south and the 5 kings, Joshua prayed that the sun would stand still in Gibeon and the moon over the Valley of Aijalon (10:12). The Scripture goes on to say that there was not a day before or sine, when the Lord obeyed a man, for He fought for Israel. God will move heaven and earth to intervene on behalf of His servants who are doing His will.
• Rest: After the battle, and fighting the good fight of faith, there is rest (Joshua 11:23; 14:15; 21:44; 22:4; 23:1).
Outline of Joshua
Crossing Jordan and Preparation to Invade Jericho 1-5
Conquest of Jericho 6
Sin of Achan 7
Conquest of Ai 8
Treaty with the Gibeonites 9
Conquest of the South 10
Conquest of the North, Kings slain 11-12
Land divided among the tribes; city of refuge 13-21
Reuben, Gad, Manasseh go to Transjordan; Altar of Witness at Jordan 22
Farewell speech, Covenant at Shechem, Death of Joshua 23-24
Joshua is a courageous, overcoming, victorious book. May it help you to become ‘strong and courageous’ in the coming days.