Joshua Generation Part I


1.   Book of Joshua is a book of Victory
2.  Victory of True Worship of the Living God over false idolatry worship of Canaanites
3.  It is the story of Joshua – his transformation and growth from the Servant of Moses to the Servant of God
4.  It tells how God was with Joshua as He had been with Moses

II.     Lessons Joshua Learnt from Moses

1.  Follow Moses daily
2.  He understood Moses leadership style
3.  Moses received his anointing by spending time with God, (Joshua would linger in the presence to receive his own anointing).
4.  He watched the plagues, witnessed the miracles
5.  He watched Moses return with the tablets.  One thing for sure, Joshua would have never wished the death of Moses.
6.  Never dare to use the death of Moses as a tool for a smooth transition of authority – He waited till God appointed him. 

The death of Moses brought fear to Joshua - That's why these words are said to Joshua.

Joshua 1:6 -“Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.”

III.    The Mission Continues
I.    Mission Continues

1.  The Mission is not new
2.  It was given to Moses
3.  God’s Mission never ends with the death of a Moses
4.  God encourages Joshua to continue the Mission

Joshua 1: 1 – 6
1 Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying,
2 Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and this entire people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.
3 Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.
4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast.
5 There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
6 Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.

II.  Avoid misfortunes

 God gives the following instructions to Joshua to avaoid the misfortune of Moses.

Joshua 1:7-9
7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. {prosper: or, do wisely}
8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. {have...: or, do wisely}
9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”

To list them:

1.  Be strong and very courageous.
2.  Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you;
3.  Do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful   wherever you go.
4.  Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth
5.  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.
6.  Be strong and of a good courage. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

IV.     Take Up The Mission

I. Principles

1.  You are here to posses a Promise from God – not anything you have cooked up
2.  You are not the first to receive the order to conquer the Promised Land – God had first given Moses the command to possess the promise.
3.  Do not use the death of Moses to demand a following for his new leadership.
4.  Wait until you Receive orders from God to fulfill the vision - from God, as he led others before you, he will lead you as well.
5.  Moses led them to the brink of their promise, but may you have the privilege of possessing the promise fulfilled.
6.  Do not forget to –

i.       Give God all the praise
ii.     Also give credit Moses for getting you here – you need him more than you think - you are building on the foundation laid by somebody

7.  The promise is the promise is the promise.  God will work all things together for good to those who are called according to His purpose.
8.  Leaders come and leaders go.  Plant wisely, and your harvest will blow you away


I.       Holy Leadership: Joshua, Caleb, & the LORD

1. The LORD fulfilled his Promise to create a great people.
2.  But soon they were entrenched in slavery in Egypt.
3.  God heard their cries of oppression and, through his reluctant servant Moses, rescued his people - leading them by his own blazing presence toward their Promised, holy home with him in the land.
4.  Despite God's generous provision for them, they remained stubborn and lost in the wilderness
5.  Moses himself, because of his complicity with the people, was only permitted to see the land, not to enter it.
6.  The role of leading the people into the Promised holy land would pass to Joshua, son of Nun.

I.  Joshua

1.  A great deal of emphasis in the Book of Joshua is placed upon Joshua himself.
2.  At first, he is referred to simply as the servant of Moses (1.1)

Joshua 1:1 – “Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying ….”

3.  By the end of the story he is called the "servant of Yahweh" (24.29).

Joshua 24:29 – “And it came to pass after these things, that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old.”

4.  Along the way, the author takes pains to show how Joshua would be exalted in the sight of the people (3.7).

Joshua 3:7 - “And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee.”


1.  Another note worthy person is Caleb
2.  He had faithfully spied out the land with him

Numbers 14.6 – “And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes:”

3.  Though he was now 85 years old, the LORD had preserved his strength
4.  As the land was parceled out, he asked for a strategic piece so he might continue the LORD's work (14.10-12).

Joshua 14.10 – 12
10 – “And now, behold, the LORD hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old.
11 – “As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in.
12 – “Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said.”

5.  Such vigorous courage demonstrated a sense of faith in what the Holy God was doing, a sort of virtue befitting the divine call at hand.

III.    The True Captain – The LORD

1.  The true captain of the rag-tag Israelite nation was the LORD himself.
2.  Joshua is the chosen leader because the LORD had Promised to be with him
3.  Joshua acknowledges his utter dependence upon God.
4.  The text presents opportunities where Joshua might claim ownership for Israel's victories.
5.  But he doesn't - Over and over again, he gives glory to God.

II.     Holy Leadership

Definition - Holy leadership is humble leadership

Holy leadership in Joshua is not so much flawless attainment as it is humble trust, and courage to persevere in the face of fear, knowing that the LORD leads the way.

1.  Joshua was not perfect.
2.  Joshua makes a treaty with the tricky Gibeonites when it was specifically forbidden, and has to live with the consequences (9.16-10.14).
3.  In doing so, he is humbled, realising once again his dependence upon God.
4.  The LORD had Promised the land to Abraham so many generations ago
5.  Now he was giving it, through humbled leaders like Joshua.
6.  This quality of humility remains an important characteristic for leaders of God's people.
7.  As we take our places on the frontlines of 'battle,' we would do well to remember that it is the LORD himself who 'fights' for his people.
8.  He is more active than we can possibly imagine, and he deserves the glory, rather than human leaders (see, for example, 10.11-14).

Joshua 10:5 & 11-14
5 Therefore the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, the king of Eglon, gathered themselves together, and went up, they and all their hosts, and encamped before Gibeon, and made war against it.

11 And it came to pass, as they () fled from before Israel, and were in the going down to Bethhoron, that the LORD cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah, and they died: they were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword.
12 Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. {Stand...: Heb. be silent}
13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. {Jasher: or, the upright?}
14 And there was no day like that before it or after it that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel.

III.    Holy Obedience: The Doctrine of Herem

1.  Several people cannot get over the all-important recurring command for the Israelites to "utterly destroy" what they meet in the Promised Land: the peoples that live there, their cities, livestock, and possessions
2.  Both the violence and 'imperialism' of it all seem offensive.
3.  This practice is known by the Hebrew word herem
4.  It refers to those people or things possessed by Yahweh, and therefore not to be 'used' by humans.
5.  Like impurity or holiness, herem was a potentially contagious category.
6.  Things which were considered herem had to be treated carefully, either utterly destroyed or deposited in the levitical treasury.
7.  Since the whole of the holy land (e.g., people, land itself, possessions, animals, etc.) was the fruit of the LORD's victory, these things potentially could fall into the category of herem, and thus would have to be ritually "devoted" to God by destruction.

Deuteronomy 7.1-11
1 When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;
2 And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:
3 Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.
4 For they will turn away thy son from following me that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.
5 But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire. {their images: Heb. their statues, or, pillars}
6 For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.
7 The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people:
8 But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
9 Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;
10 And repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face.
11 Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them.

IV.     Three Issues

At this point, three issues must be considered:

(1) God's long-term redemptive purposes,
(2) Holy obedience
(3) Our corporate solidarity in either sin or holiness.

I. God's Long Term Redemptive Purposes

1.  As part of his Promise to Abraham, God revealed his plan to use them to exact his judgment upon "the iniquity of the Amorites" (Genesis 15.13-16).
2.  It is well known that these inhabitants of the Promised land practised human sacrifice, infanticide, and other evil rituals.
3.  The long-term plan of God, it seems, involved Israel's germination in Egypt, until the time when the LORD's holy justice might be revealed - his people serving as his instrument.
4.  Behind the scenes, God was at work to act in justice and redemption.
5.  Some (e.g. Rahab's family) would repent and turn to God, being incorporated into the family of Promise.

II.   Holy Obedience

1.     We should read the Book of Joshua and think more historically - without our modern biases.
2.     The ancient world was very different from our own, and God communicated then in ways in keeping with the late-bronze age.
3.     Israel was by no means a political power when the LORD told her to conquer Canaan.
4.     Indeed, Israel was nothing - Israel had no power - only a Promise.
5.     Where odds were slim by human standards, Israel had only obedience to the One who had called her out of slavery to a new place.
6.     The tribes of Israel were by no means an oppressive imperialist power!
7.     God today, through his Spirit at works in the Church and the world, is waging not a physical war but a SPIRITUAL WAR
8.     Today the church and the believers are fighting against principalities

Ephesians 6:12 – “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” {flesh...: Gr. blood and flesh} {spiritual...: or, wicked spirits} {high: or, heavenly}

9.     However, for the people of God – the Israelites, truly his most cherished possession, careful obedience was the order of the day. It still is.
10.    Take an example: Jericho.
11.    Would we be as obedient with a seemingly ridiculous divine command, as with the more 'serious' military ones?
12.    Are we as serious about worship, for worship's sake, as with evangelism?
13.    Are we, as Christians, obedient with the humbling or audacious tasks, as much as with the momentous 'religious' ones?
14.    Joshua reminds us of the responsibility of obedience to God in the face of embarrassment or derision.

III.  Corporate Solidarity in either sin or holiness

Joshua 7:1 - "Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things: Achan... took some of the devoted things; and the anger of the LORD burned against the Israelites"

1.    If things were not put right, all Israel would become herem.
2.    As a result, the first recorded battle in the Promised Land was a failure, (Jericho, as more of a Victory-March-for-Yahweh than a military campaign, doesn't count)
3.    Thirty-six Israelites were killed on the slopes of Shebarim.
4.    Not only does Achan commit this sin, he does not immediately confess and repent.
5.    He waits till the very last moment.
6.    When the offence is solemnly revealed by divine lot, Joshua has to coax Achan to confess.
7.    This story of 'sin in the camp' has influenced generations of holiness teaching.
8.    But what does it really mean?

Achan's sin

Achan’s sin in the community of God's people is particularly heinous for at least three reasons.

I.  A Lack Of Thankfulness

  1. Achan's sin itself showed a lack of thankfulness for God's abundant provision.
  2. Not always was the booty herem - sometimes it was deeded to the camp for their use.
Joshua 8: 27 – “Only the cattle and the spoil of that city Israel took for a prey unto themselves, according unto the word of the LORD which he commanded Joshua.”

  1. Achan's attitude echoed the desire to gather more manna than necessary, and demonstrates the false belief that God is not trustworthy.
  2. Involving the community in such an attitude, just as they have been ushered into their new Promised Land, is really the height of hubris (very great pride and belief in your own importance) – You think that you can have your own way without God.
II. Jeopardised The People's Identity As A Holy Nation

1.  Achan's sin jeopardised the people's identity as a holy nation.
2.  Despite their great spiritual and national blessings, their unique calling and mission had been compromised - thankfully temporarily.
3.  But fortunately, God's plans to bless could not be thwarted, even though he was moved to holy anger for a time.

III. Profaned or Tarnished the Lord's Reputation

1.  Achan's sin 'profaned' or tarnished the LORD's reputation.
2.  Throughout the story up to this point, the Canaanites feared God because of Israel's surprising success in battle.
3.  This loss at Ai, a direct consequence of Achan's sin, put caused people to doubt God's power.
4.  In a similar way, many corrupt evangelists of today profane the name of God, and disgrace the Christian community.

Our solidarity in sin

1.    Our own corporate solidarity in sin, while different from that of Achan, is no less dangerous.
2.    Perhaps unknowingly, from the products we buy and the corporations we support, we find ourselves involved in exploitative and unfair practices in the global economy - practices that neither honour God nor express true thankfulness for what he has entrusted us as his stewards.
3.    Truly becoming God's holy people means 'buying out' of such systems, and therefore "giving glory to God"

Joshua 7: 19 – “And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me.”

V.       Holy Unity: “All Israel”

1.    The Book of Joshua bespeaks a vital quality of God's holy people, both then and now - unity.
2.    In chapter 22 the three Transjordan tribes construct an illegal altar (sacrifices could only be offered on the one altar outside the Tent of Meeting).
3.    The other tribes justly pursued them to condemn this error.
4.    Then the Transjordan tribes explained the purpose of their act.
5.    This altar was only a replica, a reminder of their unity in God's purposes with the tribes on the west side of the Jordan.
6.    When this was explained, peace was restored to "All Israel," and also "rest" in the land.
7.    How about us? Do we allow barriers to separate us in the Body of Christ?
8.    If so, the Book of Joshua suggests that we are ignoring an important quality of being God's people: unity.

VI.     Conclusion

1.    Re-orienting our Christian lives to the Biblical meaning of holiness is not always a comforting endeavour.
2.    Sometimes we find more challenge than we might expect.
3.    The "Canaan-language" of an earlier generation, however, may be on the right track after all
4.    The narrative reminds us of our belonging to the people of Promise, of our continuing role in the unfolding drama of God's desire to bless creation.
5.    Thanks be to God that in our untamed worlds we have, in Christ, the "Promised Holy Spirit" to direct our choices and lead us in the ways we should go. 

Continue reading ... Joshua Generation Part II

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