Bible Survey Main Page            Printable Web Version            Acrobat PDF Version


 

 

JOSHUA - BIBLE SURVEY

“Go in and posses the land, which your God is giving you to possess” Joshua 1:11

 

Theme of the Book: Go in and possess the land (Joshua 1:11). Joshua was to bring the people of Israel into the land God had promised (Genesis 17:8; 26:3; 28:13). What’s interesting, though the land had been given, it still needed to be possessed. They had to go in and fight for it. It took seven years of fighting to take the land of Canaan. See Joshua (14:7-10).

Caleb was 40 years old when sent out to explore the land, 38 more years passed from Kadesh Barnea to the crossing of the Jordan, and 7 more years fighting for the land of Canaan. Note: Forty years) the time between their departure from Egypt to the crossing of the Jordan River; only 38 years had passed since they turned back at Kadesh (Deuteronomy 2:14).

Background on the Book of Joshua: The book of Joshua might be called “the book of conquest and divide”, because Israel conquered the land of Canaan and divided up the land among the tribes. The book covers a period of about 25 years (1406-1380 B.C.)

Background on Joshua: Joshua was born in Egypt a clave. Joshua was an assistant to Moses for about 40 years. (Exodus 24:13; 33:11). In Exodus, (17:9-16) Joshua leads Israel’s army into battle. Joshua’s military experiences would help him out when he would conquer Canaan 40 years later. He was one of the twelve spies sent into the land of Canaan (Numbers 13:8).

Key Term: “conquest” This is a book of victory and conquest. It shows how God’s people marched throughout Canaan, subdividing then enemies and claiming their Promised Land.

When did the events of the Book Happened: From Israel’s entry into Canaan, until Joshua’s death (1406 – 1380 B.C.

The Book of Joshua for Today: God also wants us to possess “our spiritual land”. The problem is that many of us are quite content to be brought into salvation, brought out of a sinful lifestyle and now going to church. But we don’t want “to fight” for our “land of Canaan”. Many Christians are in the land, but not possessing the land.

Beware, just because you are born again, and going to church, does not mean you will possess the land. It is possible to still live in the land (or go to church) and not possess it. Remember Lot, he lived in the land, but still did not possess it. Instead of possessing the land, he ended up living in a cave. Possessing the land requires you to do something.

We need to take out our “Spiritual Sword” and fight for our land of Canaan. You and I need to take an active part of going in and taking possession of our land. The book of Joshua is a good picture for us in the natural, what God wants to do for us spiritually.

Summary: God fulfilled His promised to Israel to give them a land through the conquest of Canaan and through the allocation of the land among the tribes, all under the leadership of Joshua.

Outline of Joshua:

Part One:  The conquest of Canaan (Chapters 1-12).  They cover a period of about seven years (1405-1398 B.C.)

Part Two: The settlement of the land of Canaan (Chapters 13-24).  It covers a period of about eight years (1398-1390 B.C.)

Book Chapters:

Joshua 1: In Joshua the people are on the plains of Moab (Deuteronomy 1:5).  Moses is now dead ad Joshua has become the new Leader.  Joshua takes over and prepares his army for battle against the armies of Canaan.  Nations that God was judging for their great wickedness (Genesis 15:16)

1:2) the land I am giving you: the land had been promised to Abraham back in Genesis 12:7, 17:8).  Though the land had been given, it still needed to be possessed.  They had to go in and fight for it.

Note: It took seven years of fighting to take the land of Canaan.

1:8) Meditate:  the word meditate in the Hebrew (Strong’s #1897) means to: ponder (to think deeply about) to consider carefully, to study, speak, talk or utter.  (See Psalm 1:2)

Joshua 2: Spies were sent to scout out the city of Jericho.  They were helped by the woman Rahab a prostitute. 

Note: One of the spies (Salmon) later married Rahab the former prostitute of Jericho. (See Matthew 1:5)

Joshua 3-4: the crossing of the Jordan River/the memorial stone

Joshua 5: The Promised Land

God raised up another generation to replace the one He had judged to die in the wilderness (Numbers 14:29-34). You are a “type” of that new or second generation (Numbers 26:1-4). In the past, only a few people “like” Joshua and Caleb have gone into their promised land and received their inheritance. Now God is raising up a new generation of Christians who will go into the land and fight, and possess the land. Not just a few, but an army.

Circumcision: Before you can go into “your promised land”, your flesh must be cut off.  In Chapter 4 of Joshua the children of Israel had just crossed over the Jordan River (after 40 years of wandering in the wilderness).  Now they were all standing on the Promised Land in Gilgal.  It was their first camp after they had crossed the Jordan River to claim the Promised Land.  But what’s interesting, before they could do any fighting, the men all had to be circumcised (verses 2-7).  The second or new generation born in the wilderness all had to be circumcised.  The first circumcision was in Exodus (12:44, 48).  Circumcision is for both men and women. 

Circumcision is the cutting away of our flesh.  For us to be most productive for God, our flesh needs to be “cut off.”  I don’t mean physically cutting or circumcision in the natural, but in the Spirit.  It can be very painful, but necessary for us in the “spirit.”

Theophany: a theophany (5:13-15) is a manifestation of God in a visible form to a human being. God said the exact same thing to Moses in Exodus 3:5.  “And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.”  This reinforces the theme of the Book of Joshua; Joshua filling Moses role as the leader for Israel. Joshua is stepping into “Moses shoes”.

Joshua 6: the fall of Jericho

6:1) Orders had been given to close all the gates. No one was permitted in or out of Jericho. The residents of Jericho were filled with terror because of the advancing Israelites. (Joshua 2:11; 5:1)

6:2) I have given: the [verb] (have given) describing a future action as if it were already accomplished. Since God had declared it, the victory was assured.

6:3-5) The battle plan Joshua was to use was most unusual. Ordinary weapons of war, such as battering rams and scaling ladders were not to be employed. Number Seven: Seven priests, blowing seven trumpets, seventh day, circle Jericho seven times. In the Bible the number seven symbolizes completeness or perfection.

Note: Evidence indicated that the walls of Jericho fell as a result of an earthquake.

Joshua 7-8: the fall of Ai and Bethel (the central campaign) conquered Jericho, Ai and Bethel.

Joshua 9: the Gibeonite deception: (v. 14) they did not inquire of the Lord.  It was a mistake.  They moved in the flesh (by what they saw and tasted).   In verses 3-22, Joshua and the leaders rushed into an important decision without consulting the Lord.  For whatever reason, maybe they were in a hurry, maybe they forgot, maybe they thought they did not need to inquire of God (because they were just successful in the last two battles).  Whatever the reason, they “overlooked” inquiring of the Lord about it.  Many Christians today do the same thing.  They rushed into important decisions without first consulting the Lord.  Many have found themselves in difficult and disastrous circumstances because they rushed to a decision without properly consulting the Lord or the word of God.  Have you “forgotten” to inquire of the Lord about your business, job, or ministry, or what you should be doing next?  Lesson learned: Don’t go by what you can see, smell, hear or taste.  When you need advice on important matters, ask and seek the Lord yourself.

Joshua 10: the sun stands still “about a whole day.”  The Southern cities are defeated.

Joshua 11: the northern cities are defeated.

Joshua 12: List of defeated kings.

Joshua 13-22: Division of the land.

13:1; 18:1-3) The Lord says, “There remains very much land yet to be possessed” (13:1). “How long will you neglect to go and possess the land, which the Lord your God has given you” (18:3). You have taken some of the land, but much of the land that I have allotted to you is still not occupied or conquered.

Many of you are not of doing anything wrong, you’re not in gross sin, breaking the law, or living a life of immortality and wickedness. “But” neither are you moving forward with God! You are just content to settle and stay where you are with God right now. God says, you need to arise, and move forward, and take your land, your inheritance “spiritually”. Your in the land, but have not possessed the land. Many of you are like nomads wandering around the Promised Land, without land. God has given you your inheritance, now it’s your part to go out and possess it, says God!

Joshua 23-24: Joshua’s farewell and his death.  Joshua dies at 110 years old.

Time line for Joshua:

1446-1406 B.C.  40 years of wandering end.

1405 B.C.  Joshua succeeds Moses.  The Israelites cross the Jordan River into Canaan.

1405-1398 B.C.  Seven years of fighting for the land of Canaan.

1398-1390 B.C.  Settlement of the land.

1380 B.C.  Joshua dies.

Parable: Possess Little of Much

There were two Christian farmers.  Both received 160 acres of land from the government.  They both had the same land, side by side.  Both pieces of land had trees and stones that needed to be cleared.  One farmer started to clear the land of trees and stones.  The first year he cleared and planted 40 acres of land.  The second year, another 40 acres.  The third year another 40 acres, and the fourth year another 40 acres, on till he had all 160 acres cleared and planted.  The other farmer started to clear the land also.  But he found the work hard.  So he decided to only clear the land, where it would be easy.  He wanted to live the “easy life” like the California style, “don’t sweat it.”  In a few years he only cleared about 40 acres of land.  He thought, “That’s enough.  I can live off 40 acres of land and still have a little money to spend.  Not much money to spend, just enough to live off of.  One Christian farmer goes on and possesses the land.  The other Christian farmer only received a little or small part of what he could have received.  God also wants us to possess “our land.”  The land He has for us.  The problem is that many of us are quite content to be brought out of Egypt (the world), but we don’t want to fight, or work hard for our inheritance, our land of Canaan.

Go in, go in, go in, and possess the land.  For many of you are looking over into the land, and some of you are in the land, and others are going in and possessing the land.  But beware: just because you can see the land, or are in the land, doesn’t mean you will possess the land.  Just because you are in church does not, does not, does not mean you will possess the land.  It is possible to still live in the land (or go to church) and not possess it.  Remember Lot.  He lived in the land but still did not possess it.  Instead of possessing the land, he ended up living in a cave.  Possessing the land requires you to do something.  The children of Israel fought for seven years for the land of Canaan.  You and I need to take an active role and part of going in and taking possession of our lands.

Joshua is a good picture for us in the natural, what God wants to do spiritually. They went in and possessed the land.  We also need to go in “spiritually” and take the land God has for us.  Too many of us fall far short of what God has for us.  I am reminded about Apostle Paul.  Paul wrote the books of Philemon, Colossians, Ephesians, and Philippians when he was a prisoner at Rome (Acts 28:16-31), his first imprisonment. Paul gets out of prison and went on to write 1 Timothy and the book of Titus. Then Paul gets put back into prison (his second imprisonment), and writes the book of 2 Timothy. What if Paul had given up when he had first gone to prison (Acts 28). We would have seven less books of the New Testament.