The wayyyyyy too brief overview of Joshua
Joshua is yet another action-packed book in the Old Testament following the battles of one of history’s greatest warriors!
No, not Conan the Barbarian and his chiseled abs. Not King Leonidas from, “This is Sparta!”And definitely not Aragorn for all of our Lord of the Rings geeks out there. It was none other than…Joshua!
What sets Joshua aside from all those other warriors, fictional or not, is that he had the only real, powerful God besides him. And with that one factor alone, Joshua and the Lord’s people would not go defeated.
Let’s jump into a brief overview:
Joshua’s Never-ending Faith
Joshua cradled the strength of an entire army’s fierceness in his heart knowing he could always rely on God to keep him victorious. We can see in the Bible that he was one of the only ones able to keep faith from the Exodus out of Egypt to enter the gates of the promised land at the end of Deuteronomy.
Due to Joshua’s tremendous faith, miracles overflowed in his favor.
The Jordan River parted for Joshua’s army to cross. The walls of Jericho in Canaan came tumbling down. And many enemies of Israel were too cowardly to even put up a fight knowing God was the commander-in-chief of their army.
Principles of Holy War
Even though God had placed Joshua in charge of the Israelite army, it was through His will and promises to Abraham that they were victorious in battle. Because God was the commander-in-chief in power, He commanded the Israelites to follow strict principles:
-The Israelites were not to make agreements with the people of Canaan (they did anyway).
-The cities conquered were to be destroyed and the treasures only placed in the House of the Lord. The riches could not be kept by anyone else (whoops, someone did that too).
As long as those 2 main principles were followed, the Lord was happy to give the Israelites the perfect plan to defeat their enemies. When the Holy War was disrespected, Joshua and his army faced troubles.
Final Salute to a Warrior of the Lord
Joshua dies in his own book!
But not after living for a little over a hundred years and finally seeing the fruits of his labor and devotion to God complete. His victories in battle have allowed the 12 tribes of Israel to each have their own little section of Canaan to thrive in. Before he passes on, he gives God the ultimate glory He deserves and reminds the people why He is worthy.
And there’s a quick gist of Joshua! Some pretty defining moments happen in this book, so if you’d like to read more about them check out Overview Bible, which has summaries of the entire Bible.
Now let’s get into how the tales of Joshua relate to our everyday lives in today’s world!
Big Takeaway #1 – Be strong and courageous.
Joshua 1:9 – “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Sometime after Moses’s death, God pulls the new leader Joshua aside to comfort him. At the dawn of a new day, Joshua is thrust into a golden chariot of power reigned with mighty stallions and a fearsome army under his control. God had chosen him to lead the Israelites into Canaan.
For us, a situation like this would be as terrifying and incredible as becoming the president of a country overnight in the beginnings of World War 3.
Still, Joshua didn’t stagger at the mountain of presidency before him. He listened to His Lord’s words. And God reassured him, like a caring father does their child going off to college for the first time, that everything would be alright. Because He would be there every step of the way.
The big takeaway for us young adults from Joshua 1:9
When you walk with the Lord and follow His footsteps, there is no need to be fearful or afraid. The Lord does not give us a spirit of fear. As you cruise across the highways of life, you may look out your front windshields and see fires (peer pressure) and earthquakes (heartaches) and hailstorms (loss of purpose) and be tempted to stop the car.
But God has not called us to live at pit stops.
Once you turn off your GPS and follow his divine map, He promises to be your seat belt and engine. Even when you feel yourself begin to falter and your feet become glued to the gas pedal, He can place you in a Bugatti with renewed strength and the speed to go soaring.
Big Takeaway #2 – It’s only crazy faith until you say it or show it.
Joshua 6:20 “When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave the large shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in and they took the city.”
Soooo, here is a really strange war tactic God demanded the Israelites to follow.
Basically, they were to march around the city of Jericho one time for 6 days in silence. On the seventh day, they were to march 7 total times around the city. After that, the high priests were to blow trumpets and Joshua’s army was to shout as loud as they could in honor of the Lord.
Weird. But it worked!
If you were one of the Canaanites living in the city of Jericho watching this, you’d probably think the Israelites were insane. Or drunk on something. Or probably both. That just goes to show how God works for those who have faith in Him. What you believe in may seem crazy and confuse the enemy. But if you stand firm in faith and the commands He gives you, victory is surely near.
The big takeaway for us young adults from Joshua 6:20
It’s not faith or crazy faith until other people know about it. Faith without works is dead. We can’t prance around singing Jesus Loves Me on the rooftops but be the first ones running to the doomsday bunker when a pebble bounces off our shoulders. We must model our faith in God, no matter how crazy the circumstance.
Faith can’t be crazy real in our journals or collecting dust in our minds. When we truly show what we believe in and let out the faith we have (like the shouts of the army), only then is God able to perform His works!
Big Takeaway #3 – Be the change you want to see in this world. Set the example.
Joshua 24:15 “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose yourself the Gods you will serve… But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
After decades of being God’s faithful servant, it is now time for Joshua to say goodbye. He gathers all of the Israelites together at a place called Shechem and leaves some final words of wisdom. His going away party is pretty similar to Moses’s as he recalls the promises God has fulfilled and the laws to obey.
Yet again, this central topic of ‘choice’ comes into play here. Joshua warns the people that it’s up to them who they choose to worship. At this very moment, we still have this ‘choice’ to choose who we serve. Our wordly gods may not look like golden cows or little, ugly statues. But they’re everywhere in many forms (cellphones, Hennessy bottles, cash, etc.) and we have all the freedom in the world to pursue them or pursue God.
During his honorable discharge from the Lord’s army, Joshua makes it clear he’ll stand by God no matter what.
The big takeaway for us young adults from Joshua 24:15
You can’t change others. No matter how right we believe we are, every single person has to make the choice to come to God for themselves. God’s grace and love was never meant to be a dictatorship! (You can read through history to see how well those went.)
Instead, focus on changing yourself and being an example in Christ. Only your actions can inspire others and make them want to change. Just like how Joshua’s courageous spirit changed the Israelites. Or how Martin Luther King Jr.’s loving heart changed the civil rights movement. Or how Abraham Lincoln’s leadership skills uplifted a nation.
As a Christian, it’s never enough to just say or claim to live a certain way (in queue: hypocrites). There must be action put behind it. Be the man or woman you want to see in this world.
Up Next – Judges
Now, you’re fully caught up on the book of victory. Hopefully, you feel encouraged to stay strong with God. Follow along as we move forward to the book of Judges!