About Jesus     Steve Sweetman

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Chapter  - 1 and Intro 

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My Commentary On The
Book Of Joshua  

ch. 1:1 - 19


This commentary is based on the 1984 edition of the New International Bible.  The section titles correspond to those found in the NIV Bible.

Joshua follows directly after the book of Deuteronomy.  Where Deuteronomy ends, the book of Joshua begins.  It's the story of Israel entering the land of Canaan, the land God promised to Israel from the days of Abraham and the Abrahamic Covenant. 

Joshua was a God fearing general in the Israeli army.  

As we read and study the book of Joshua, we will note many lessons for the modern day Christian to learn.  There have been many folk songs about crossing the Jordan River .  Many of these songs suggest that this crossing was crossing into heaven.  I tend to think it's the crossing into our new lives as Christians.

The name Joshua means "the Lord, or Yahweh,  is salvation, or deliverance".  Joshua, or it's Hebrew equivalent, is really the Hebrew form of the Greek word translated into English as Jesus.  The Hebrew name "Yahoushuwa" is transliterated into English as "Joshua".  The Greek name "Iesous" is translated into English as "Jesus".  All three of these names means "Yahweh is salvation".  As I've stated in the book of Deuteronomy, Joshua is a type, or is symbolic, of Jesus.  There are many similarities between Jesus and Joshua in the Bible.

It is interesting to note that the general consensus among Bible teachers is that where John the Baptist baptized in the Jordan River is where Joshua led Israel across the Jordan River.  

Joshua is the oldest son of Nun.   

The Lord Commands Joshua (ch. 1:1 - 18)

Verses 1 to 3 begin the account of Joshua.  He was called by God to lead the Israelis into the land of Canaan, the land God promised Moses, as the text states.  We know the God promised this land to more than just Moses.  He first promised it to Abraham in what is called the Abrahamic Covenant, that was confirmed to Jacob and Isaac. The Abrahamic Covenant is fundamental in understanding the importance of Israel in the Bible, in history, and in prophecy.

Verse 4 states roughly the boundaries of the land that God was giving Israel.  Back in Genesis 15 you will note these boundaries as well.  One thing is worthy of noting and that is the eastern boundary that God promised went right to the Euphrates River, not the Jordan River, as is the case today.  This makes it clear that there is more land that present day Israel must possess.   Israel has never possessed that much land, and when they will, is debatable.  The division of land that is seen in the last few chapters of Ezekiel that many people think is the millennial division of land given to Israel does not include the land east of the Jordan River.  Maybe this land will be realized on the new earth which is spoken of in the last two chapters of the book of Revelation.  

Verse 5 states that "no one would be able to stand up against Israel".  This suggest the security Israel would have in the land God promised them if they obeyed Him.  Well, we know from Israeli history that there have been nations that have stood up to Israel and have conquered them.  We should thus ask, "what does this statement mean"?  There is sufficient evidence in the Torah that states God would judge Israel if they failed to keep His commands.  He did just that and allowed other nations at times to conquer Israel.  Assyria, Babylon, and Rome, are examples.

I believe this statement in itself is prophetic of the day when Jesus returns as King of the Jews.  Once that takes place, no nation will be able to stand against Israel, and the final war that ends this age will prove that.

The rest of verse 5 states that God would never leave or forsake Israel.  He may judge them and send them off to the four corners of the earth, but He will never leave or forsake Israel.  Never means never, and that means the doctrine of Replacement Theology has it wrong when it states that the church has replaced Israel as being God's people.  We must understand these words as they were originally meant to be understood.  Replacement Theology reinterprets the meaning to this statement, which in my thinking, is bad hermeneutics.

Verses 6 through 10 are last minute instructions given to Joshua by God.  Note in verse 6 that Joshua would lead Israel into the promised land.  Right away in the book of Joshua we see allusions to Joshua being a type, or foreshadowing, of Jesus, the one who eventually would lead countless people into both a spiritual promised land and a literal promised land.

Note in verse 7 that strict adherence to the laws of God would provide prosperity for Israel.  If we as Christians want or think we should expect any kind of prosperity from the hand of God, it will only come through strict obedience to Jesus, not in what has been called "ultra faith" these days.  .  

Note in verse 8 the importance of the "Book of the Law".  The Book of the Law was the book that contained the laws of God as seen in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.   Joshua was to not only read the Book of the Law, he was to meditate on it day and night.  This shows us the importance of the written Word of God.  As Christians today, we have many more Books of God to meditate on.  We have the whole Bible.  I'm certain that the same command that was given to Joshua concerning the Book of the Law is given to Christians today concerning the Bible.  I feel the number one problem among Christians today is that we do not take the Bible seriously.  Our treatment of the Bible tells me that we really don't believe it is the Word of God.  If we actually put the Bible in our hands, we do so to read a few verses, hoping we can find inspiration, but there is more to the Bible than reading a few verses in order to be inspired.  We are to study the Bible, meditate on it, meaning, think things through seriously.  Only then can we expect to live as we should.  Only then can we even begin to think of prospering.

It is interesting to note the word "commanded" in verse 9.  God commanded Joshua, and all of Israel, as He does us today, to be courageous and not discouraged.  This is not an admonition or a word of encouragement.  He just commands us, tells us outright, "be strong and courageous".  This is not something we can take or leave. 

In verses 10 and 11 Joshua tells the army of Israel to prepare to enter the land in three days.  These two verses point out a Biblical principle.  Israel was to take possession of that which God was giving them.  Anything God promises us requires action on our part.  We just don't sit back and hope the promise falls into our laps.  We take action and do whatever is required to possess that which God gives us.

In verses 12 to 15 Joshua reminds the tribes of Gad, Reuben, and half the tribe of Manasseh the deal that Moses made with them.  These three and a half tribes did not want to cross the Jordan River and enter Canaan.  They wanted to stay on the east side of the Jordan , and so Moses allowed them to do that only if they would go into Canaan with the rest of Israel and fight with their brothers.  This was now that time.

From verse 16 on to the end of the chapter these two and a half tribes confirm their agreement made with Moses. They are ready to fight.

Next Sectuib - Chapter 2

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