The book of Joshua picks up where the book of Deuteronomy ended. Moses has died and now Joshua takes over to lead the Hebrew people into the promised land. God encourages Joshua, as does the rest of the nation, by saying “be strong and courages,” (Joshua 1:6, 18). Being on the east side of the Jordan river and after 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, Joshua sends two men to spy out the city of Jericho (Joshua 2). They are aided by Rahab the harlot, who hid them and was offered protection by Israel when they could come to conquer the land.
Identical to when the children of Israel left Egypt and God miraculously parting the Red Sea to deliver them from bondage, God parted the Jordan River so Israel may know the power of Jehovah. They crossed into the land of Canaan, the promised land (Joshua 3). They built a memorial for themselves so they could always remember God’s deliverance from bondage and giving them the land (Joshua 4). The children of Israel had camped at Gilgal and there they renewed themselves in keeping of the covenant—they reinstated circumcision and the passover—again, to remind them of God’s promises to
Abraham that to his descendants this land would be given to them, and to remind them of the safety which God provided for them as they departed Egypt.
The first city they captured was the city of Jericho (Joshua 6). They protected Rahab the harlot as the spies had promised. The walls which offered protection to Jericho came down by the power of God. However, Israel hastily went to the city of Ai, a much smaller city, and could not overpower it. Achan had sinned and taken of the spoils of Jericho, which God had commanded not to be done. After the sin was removed from the camp, Israel conquered Ai. The book of Joshua provides the details of the conquests and fighting for the land of Canaan. First, the southern portions of the land were taken; then the northern part of the land was taken. Joshua 13-21 gives the details of how the land was divided among the 12 tribes of Israel.
God was faithful to his covenant that He had made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God promised that He would give their descendants the land in which they wandered. God gave Israel “all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it,” (Joshua 21:43). To reiterate this statement, “not one of the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass,” (Joshua 21:45). God is faithful to fulfill His promises!
Nearing Joshua’s death, he pleaded with Israel to choose to serve God and cast away the idols from the land (Joshua 24:14-15). The nation affirmed their intent to obey God by casting the Canaanites out of the land and destroy the idols (Joshua 24:16-21). The book of Joshua ends with this challenge: be faithful to God. Would they be faithful and keep the covenant as they said they would?
by Sean P. Cavender