Monday, June 28, 2010

Why Should I Study Joshua?

Joshua, or at least the first half, is a book of the Bible that has events that are familiar to most, but it probably is not often that the book is really studied. There are two main sections of this book, and one is often more valued by many than the other. The first part deals with Israel’s entrance into and conquest of the Promised Land. This is a well known section as it contains much action and adventure as the Jews go from city to city in conquest. The second part of this book deals with this new land of the Israelite nation being divided up between the tribes. This is probably considered by most to be a very dry and unneeded part as it simply told the boundaries of the land given to each tribe. One can understand why this might not catch the interest of most Bible students. Despite this, there are many reasons this book should be studied in its entirety.

One should not the concern God had with His book of law. God instructed Joshua that he and the people must observe to do according to all that was written in the book of law (1:8). When they came to Mount Ebal, Joshua read the law to the people, and continued to follow it. God has always cared about His people knowing His word and walking in obedience.

We also see God at war with sin in this book. This war against the nations was not done without a reason. God did not just decide to bring war and destruction upon nations because He did not care about them, or because He was just an angry God in heaven. In Genesis 15:16, God showed patience with the people within Canaan land for the reason that the cup of their iniquity was not yet full. These sinful nations had only become more depraved, and more against God and just as God has always dealt with nations that oppose Him and live in immorality, God takes the same approach here in the book of Joshua.

This book also gives us a weapon against Premillennialism. That teaching holds that the Jews are still to receive the land promise given to Abraham. The end of the book of Deuteronomy clearly shows that the land could be taken away if they were no longer faithful to the Law of Moses. The book of Joshua though makes it clear that the Israelite nations fully received the promise of God concerning the land. Joshua 11:23 reveals that they took the whole land. Joshua 21:43-45 and 23:24-16 teach also that, “And the LORD gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein. And the LORD gave them rest round about, according to all that he sware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hand. There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.” God keeps His promises and the land promise has been fulfilled.

We need to also consider the need for the borders of the land being given. Of course for the Jews it was a necessity of knowing where the property of each tribe began and ended. What does that matter to us though? In terms of its main purpose, it means nothing at all other than the reminder that God did indeed given them all the land He promised. We can learn a spiritual lesson though about the nature of God and His character. God is a God who cares about details. Many see Him as a God who is happy as long as His creation is happy. While God is a God of mercy, grace and patience, He is also a God that is concerned with details and the details of His word.

Joshua is a book that attracts many with its wars and conquest, but we have the whole of it for a reason and we need to remember that as we choose to study God’s word through the book of Joshua.

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