1 – The one-word theme of Joshua is CONQUEST. The book is a history of God’s work in bringing Israel fully into its Promised Land, and typologically portrays the Believer’s conquest of the remnants of indwelling sin.
2 – Joshua 2:10 (ESV) 10 For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction.
RAF: It is interesting to note that Rahab uses a uniquely Hebrew phrase in her accounting – “devoted to destruction.” This is a phrase used by the Jews to convey the idea that their victories were not mere successful military operations, but actions carried out in fulfilling God’s will and giving their spoils over to Him. She knew the difference between their conquest and those of others, and she knew how the Jews themselves understood them. Does the world know as clearly what the Church is about in our day? Or have we lost that identity?
3 – Joshua 3:10-11 (ESV) 10 And Joshua said, “Here is how you shall know that the living God is among you and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Perizzites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, and the Jebusites. 11 Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is passing over before you into the Jordan.
RAF: How do we know that God is with us, and that we will not fail to have the victory over sin in our lives? Because Christ has already gone through before us. He traversed Jordan on our behalf. He led the way. He conquered all temptation Himself. And we are His. Ours, is to set up a memorial, an everlasting reminder that Christ, The Lord’s Ark, has passed over before us. He is our guarantee.
4 – Joshua 6:2-5 (ESV) 2 And the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor. 3 You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days. 4 Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. 5 And when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people shall go up, everyone straight before him.”
RAF: Here is a vital principle in our sanctification revealed. While God is the one who does the conquering, we are still responsible to enter into the battle. We are to engage in the fight. Every battle following this one will require the men to raise their swords, and actually combat the enemy with human action. And yet, each and every victory, from start to finish will be the Lord’s. We are not to be passive about our sins, just hoping and praying that one day we will be free of them. We are to go after them, but in the Lord’s strength and not our own. We must take the proper measures, while all the while depending absolutely and fully upon the Lord’s hand. He promises the victory. He goes before us to drive out the inhabitants. He wins the battle for us. But He nevertheless commands us to march into battle, to raise the sword, the confront the enemy face to face, and to exert ourselves in true combat.
5 – Joshua 7:10-12 (ESV) 10 The Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why have you fallen on your face? 11 Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I commanded them; they have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings. 12 Therefore the people of Israel cannot stand before their enemies. They turn their backs before their enemies, because they have become devoted for destruction. I will be with you no more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you.
RAF: It is a principle that sin tolerated or indulged in in one area of our lives, will prevent us from conquering it in other areas. Often, when we find ourselves suffering defeat in one area, it is due to the fact we have continued to disobey in another, perhaps smaller area of our thought life, habits or actions. It is the little foxes which spoil the vines. If you are suffering ongoing defeat in a specific area of sin, let me counsel you to consider if there are smaller, unrelated areas where you have a controversy with God, where lack of submission to holy habits or neglect of holy duties, or a little sweet “something” of sin that seems so much less than the big sin you are struggling with, remains. Deal with that “little” matter, and see how great victories are attached to it.
6 – Joshua 7:14-15 (ESV) 14 In the morning therefore you shall be brought near by your tribes. And the tribe that the Lord takes by lot shall come near by clans. And the clan that the Lord takes shall come near by households. And the household that the Lord takes shall come near man by man. 15 And he who is taken with the devoted things shall be burned with fire, he and all that he has, because he has transgressed the covenant of the Lord, and because he has done an outrageous thing in Israel.’ ”
RAF: Look at how long a process is set in motion, giving Achan so much time and opportunity to come and make his confession long before his sin is exposed publicly and thus without mercy. When we will not confess our sins to Him and deal with them first, eventually they will find us out. And then, we shall suffer loss beyond anything we imagined. Deal with sin now!
7 – Joshua 10:12-14 (ESV) 12 At that time Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel,
“Sun, stand still at Gibeon,
and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.”
13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped,
until the nation took vengeance on their enemies.
Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day. 14 There has been no day like it before or since, when the Lord heeded the voice of a man, for the Lord fought for Israel.
RAF: When God’s people are earnestly engaged in doing God’s will, even after serious failure – He will literally move heaven and earth on our behalf. No doubt, this passage undergirds Jesus’ own reminders that we can say to mountains “be removed and cast into the sea”, when we know we are about His business. He will stop at nothing to give us victory – if only we will be engaged in fighting the battles He has set before us, and not trying to get Him to accomplish our goals.
8 – Joshua 14:10 (ESV) 10 And now, behold, the Lord has kept me alive, just as he said, these forty-five years since the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, while Israel walked in the wilderness. And now, behold, I am this day eighty-five years old.
RAF: There is no age at which we cease to battle sin. The identity of the various enemies may change, but the battle remains. A man too old to act upon his lust, may still have his thoughts to wrestle with. There are sins more peculiar to those of age than the young. Temptation to relax in service to the Lord. Self-pity. Loss of identity because it has too long been invested in a career rather then who one is in Christ. Impatience. Fearfulness. Constant complaint. But we do not lay down the sword. Not all of the land has been conquered. Inhabitants still remain. May we all be possessed of Caleb’s spirit when our own day comes.