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The Theological Message of Joshua

Theme: God Fulfills His Promises of Victory to Those Who Trust and Obey (OTI/BJMBI)








An Emphasis

| !!!! Promise

  | Fulfillment |

1) 1)  
2) 2)  
3) 3)  
4) 4)  
5) 5)  
6) 6)  
7) 7)  

I.       God’s faithfulness to His promises


A.    God calls and empowers a leader to bring Israel into the land (Josh. 1:1-18).

B.      God brings Israel over the Jordan River.

C.     God sends a great fear upon the inhabitants of Canaan.

1.       The story of Rahab the harlot (2:9-10, 22-24)

2.       The “hornet” (24:12; see Exodus 23:27-28)

D.    God fights for His people.

1.       The appearance of the Captain of the Lord’s hosts (Josh. 5:13-15)

2.       The battle of Jericho (6:16, 20)

3.       Joshua’s “long day” (10:8, 10, 11, 14, 19, 25, 30, 32, 42)

E.     God miraculously dispossesses the Canaanites.

F.      God distributes the conquered land to His people (chs. 13-22).



·         Spiritual warfare is not accomplishing your will, but simply leaning upon God to accomplish His promises.  Spiritual warfare is not taking territory you want, but claiming territory God has promised.

·         All work done for God is based upon God’s promises.  Ministry must be doing what we see God is doing (on the basis of His Word and the leadership of His Spirit).

·         God fights for those who work according to His promises.



II.    | ·         God’s faithfulness to His promises does not negate the imperative of obedience to God’s specific instructions. ·         God’s faithfulness to His promises does not negate the necessity of leaning upon Him through prayer. ·         God’s faithfulness to His promises does not negate our responsibility to step out in faith. |

Israel’s responsibility to trust and obey

A.    Specific responsibilities

1.       To destroy utterly the Canaanites (chs. 1-12)

2.       To occupy the land (chs. 13-22)

a.        Both a responsibility and a blessing

b.       The importance of unity

(1)     Transjordan tribes (ch. 22)

(2)     The cities of refuge (ch. 20)

(3)     The Levitical cities scattered throughout (ch. 21)

3.       To remain faithful to Yahweh (23-24)

a.        Despite the continued presence of the Canaanites (ch. 23)

b.      Because of all that God had done for them (ch. 24)

One of the methods used to encourage faithfulness was the erection of memorials—reminders of what God had done (stones in the Jordan—4:4-9) and of what they had promised to do (24:26-27).

B.      Necessity of trust and obedience

1.      Importance of obedience—following the divinely given strategy (Josh. 6-8)

Too often, we ignore minor setbacks or defeats in our spiritual welfare and continue heedlessly through life.  We seem to think we can live victorious Christian lives without the presence of God.  Instead, we should respond to defeat like Joshua (7:6-9):  Get on our faces before God until we find out why His blessing has departed from us.

2.      Importance of God-dependence


Positive example:    








Negative example: 

“Here, then, is the lesson of the chapter.  There are those times in Christian experience when the best human effort to make the right decision will fail.  Our observation and wisdom are finite, subject to deceit and error.  We absolutely must pray about every decision, asking the Lord for insight and discernment in order that His will be done” (Rude, Biblical Viewpoint, 44).






“The Israelites could easily have taken such portions of the land as were still unconquered, and could have exterminated all the Canaanites who remained, without any severe or wearisome conflicts; if they had but persevered in fidelity to their God and in the fulfilment of His commandments.  If, therefore, the complete conquest of the whole land was not secured in the next few years, but, on the contrary, the Canaanites repeatedly gained the upper hand over the Israelites; we must seek for the explanation, not in the fact that Joshua had not completely taken and conquered the land, but simply in the fact that the Lord had withdrawn His help from His people because of their apostasy from Him, and had given them up to the power of their enemies to chastise them for their sins” (C. F. Keil & F. Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, II:126).

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