This month we will be reading the book of Joshua as a church for RBT (Reading the Bible Together). Before you get stuck in, here’s a helpful overview to get you started…
The book of Joshua is about the faithfulness of God. It’s a testament to how trustworthy he is and how his promises always come to pass, even to sinners! Many centuries and generations previously, back in Genesis 12, God made a promise to Abraham, the patriarch of the Israelites that his descendants would become a great nation and occupy a land that was a gift from God. The anticipation following their immediate emancipation from Egypt was that the Israelites, now a great nation, were finally on the cusp of inheriting those promises. Alas, their sin and unbelief prevented them from entering Canaan and the Pentateuch ends with the people still outside the promised land and with the death of their leader Moses.
So, Joshua opens with a new anticipation and a fresh exhortation from God to claim what He has promised them. And there’s a lot riding on this! Would the Israelites trust God and obey him in contrast to the previous generation. This was a people who needed a leader, someone who would trust God and lead the people into rest, and the author depicts Joshua as the new Moses, who leads the people through the waters and personally encounters the living and holy God. He is of course a ‘type’ of Christ who many years later would deliver sinners from the wrath of God and guarantee an eternal ‘rest’ for us in the very presence of God. Hebrews 4:8-11 confirms that God’s plan was never just about a piece of land in the Middle East, but about a far greater permanence achieved only through the sacrificial death of his beloved Son.
For the Christian reading Joshua today, this book is a wonderful reminder that God keeps his promises in spite of and despite us!
“Thus the Lord gave to Israel all the land that he swore to give to their fathers. And they took possession of it and settled there. And the Lord gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all the their enemies had withstood them, for the Lord had given all their enemies into their hands. Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all had come to pass.” (21:43-45)
The “Bible Project” guys have produced another very helpful summary overview of Joshua which you can view here. It provides a useful perspective also on some of the more challenging aspects of what happened during the conquest of Canaan. Check it out here:
As always, you would be most welcome to join us as we gather on May 25th at 8pm in the building to share how we have been encouraged and challenged in our bible reading.