The Book of Joshua Overview – So You Think Just Because You’ve Had Pain That You Are Exempt from Future Pain?

Posted: May 10, 2017 in 06-Joshua
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Personal Reflection as We Begin Joshua

Have you ever been through some of the roughest times in your life only to find that you have more rough times ahead? When I think of the overarching view of the Book of Joshua, I think of my friends, Randy and Missy. Their marriage several years ago seemed OK to the outside world. They had the nice house. They had the nice cars. They had the good jobs. They had a beautiful daughter who is a pageant-worthy beauty of young lady (who is way too fond of the word, “like”) and handsome son who has a heart of gold. They seemingly had the perfect life on the outside. However, even though it seemed to blow up one day, there were marital secrets brewing for years and lack of communication about things that mattered. All the things not dealt with in the marriage over the years caused it to blow up one day. They separated. Friends were shocked and did not know what to do. We all loved them both and thought they had this perfect life and were stunned as what to do. We did the smart thing. Not shut either one out of our lives.  We loved them both.


There were many dark days in their separation. There was talk of divorce. They were lawyers. It was an heart wrenching thing to watch the tears, the anger, the bewilderment of how it all came to this. It could have gotten real ugly as some separations that lead to divorce can become. I know from experience how ugly separation and divorce can be. It can leave permanent scars on you, your former spouse and your children. The pain of the dissolving of a long-term marriage can lead to pain and anger that is so raw and real and it dominates your life and your every thought. Somehow, by the grace of God and His working through our circle of friends around Missy and Randy, they decided to go to marital counseling. Through many months of counseling, pain and heartache, they finally got back together. My experiences with getting back together with your spouse after a separation were ultimately failed adventures both times so I was not hopeful. But they stuck it out, continued counseling even after they got back together, and today we find that they are stronger than ever. Closer to the Lord than ever.


The saving of their marriage was a miraculous work of God but that’s not the end of the story. Not long after they had gotten to a good place in their reconstructed marriage, wham! They get hit with the news. Missy has breast cancer. Now, they had been the wilderness already in reclaiming their marriage. It was a long hard road. They have fought to save their marriage. It was the right thing to do. It was tough work. It was blood, sweat and tears. But they did it! Guess what though, Randy and Missy? You’ve got more work to do as a couple. You’ve got to survive cancer. You have got to love your wife, Randy, through the roughest road there is, chemotherapy, constant doctor’s appointments, the pain, the nights without sleep, the fear of leaving this life too soon, the anger of saving their marriage and now this! But, wow, through it all, what was once a weak marriage with all the right appearances was now this solid rock of a marriage that was fighting hand in hand in love against the ugly, vicious enemy of cancer. Missy said recently that if they had not gone through the wilderness of their marital troubles that their marriage would not have been strong enough to survive the journey they have been on for the last 18 months or so with the cancer diagnosis.


They had survived the wilderness of near-divorce and it made them appreciate each other. They had learned not to sweat the small stuff. They had learned that love can forgive and move on. They had become strong in their belief in each other. They had learned to communicate. Without the wilderness wandering they would not have been up to the challenge that the Big C, cancer, can bring to a marriage. Just because they had been through the wilderness and the pain and suffering caused by it did not mean that there were not going to be new challenges ahead.

That’s the thing that came to mind when I was researching the various summaries of the Book of Joshua as we begin it today. That idea that there will always be constant challenges to us as Christ followers. Just because we have pain and suffering once does not mean that we will not have it again. We do not get a “skate through the rest of life without pain” card. They are always challenges. There will always be challenges to our faith. There will be defeats and victories. There will be times when we think we can’t take anymore but yet more gets piled on top of us. Be strong and courageous, my friends. God did not promise that our lives would be pain free when we became Christ followers. There may well be one set of strife-ridden days followed by another set of strife-ridden days that come at us from different directions and for different reasons.


Be strong and courageous. No matter that one set of challenges are followed immediately by another set, we must remember that God is with us in the storms and challenges of life. He will never forsake us. God never moves. It is often that we move away from Him and wonder what happened to Him. We must remember that God is the Creator of the Universe. He can handle our problems. He can carry us through the rough patch that is followed by the rougher patch that is followed by the roughest patch. God will deliver those who are faithful to Him. From our trials, we learn dependence on the Lord. As we depend on God in greater and greater faith, we trust that He will see us through even the toughest times. He is God. He is Creator. He’s got this. He will see you through. Depend on our Abba Father.


Amen and Amen.


Now, let’s take a look at a high level about what we are going to see develop as we walk through the book of Joshua. The following summary is courtesy of


Overview of the Book of Joshua

Author: The Book of Joshua does not explicitly name its author. More than likely Joshua, the son of Nun, the successor of Moses as leader over Israel, penned much of this book. The latter part of the book was written by at least one other person after the death of Joshua. It is also possible that several sections were edited / compiled following Joshua’s death.


Date of Writing: The Book of Joshua was likely written between 1400 and 1370 B.C.


Purpose of Writing: The Book of Joshua provides an overview of the military campaigns to conquer the land area that God had promised. Following the exodus from Egypt and the subsequent forty years of the wilderness wanderings, the newly-formed nation is now poised to enter the Promised Land, conquer the inhabitants, and occupy the territory. The overview that we have here gives abbreviated and selective details of many of the battles and the manner in which the land was not only conquered, but how it was divided into tribal areas.


Key Verses: Joshua 1:6-9, “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”


Joshua 24:14-15, “Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”


Brief Summary: The Book of Joshua continues the story of the Israelites after the exodus from Egypt. The book chronicles the approximately 20 years of Joshua’s leadership of the people after Moses anointed him at the end of Deuteronomy. The twenty-four chapter divisions of the Book of Joshua can be summarized as follows:


Chapters 1-12: Entering and conquering the Promised Land.

Chapters 13-22: Instructions for distributing the portions of the Promised Land.

Chapters 23-24: Joshua’s farewell address


Themes & Foreshadowing: The story of Rahab the harlot and her great faith in the God of the Israelites gives her a place with those honored for their faith in Hebrews 11:31. Hers is a story of God’s grace to sinners and salvation by faith alone. Most importantly, by God’s grace she was in the Messianic line (Matthew 1:5).


One of the ceremonial rituals of Joshua 5 finds its perfect fulfillment in the New Testament. Verses 1-9 describe God’s commandment that those who were born in the wilderness were to be circumcised when they came into the Promised Land. By so doing, God “rolled away the reproach of Egypt” from them, meaning that He cleansed them from the sins of their former life. Colossians 2:10-12 describes believers as having been circumcised in their hearts by Christ Himself, by whom we have put off the sinful nature of our former lives without Christ.


God established cities of refuge so that those who accidentally killed someone could live there without fear of retribution. Christ is our refuge to whom we “have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us” (Hebrews 6:18).


The Book of Joshua has an overriding theological theme of rest. The Israelites, after wandering in the wilderness for 40 years, finally entered the rest God had prepared for them in the land of Canaan. The writer of Hebrews uses this incident as a warning to us not to let unbelief keep us from entering into God’s rest in Christ (Hebrews 3:7-12).


Practical Application: One of the key verses of the Book of Joshua is 1:8 “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.” The Old Testament is replete with stories of how the people “forgot” God and His Word and suffered terrible consequences. For the Christian, the Word of God is our lifeblood. If we neglect it, our lives will suffer accordingly. But if we take to heart the principle of verse 1:8, we will be complete and able to be of use in God’s kingdom (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and we will find that God’s promises in Joshua 1:8-9 will be ours as well.


Joshua is a prime example of the benefits of a worthy mentor. For years, he remained close to Moses. He watched Moses as he followed God in an almost flawless manner. He learned to pray in a personal way from Moses. He learned how to obey through the example of Moses. Joshua apparently also learned from the negative example that cost Moses the joy of actually entering the Promised Land. If you are alive, you are a mentor. Someone, somewhere, is watching you. Some younger person or someone that you are influencing is seeing how you live and how you react. Someone is learning from you. Someone will follow your example. Mentoring is far more than the words that are spoken by the mentor. His or her entire life is on display.


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