I love the book of Joshua. It is not because I am a war monger or because I revel in blood shed, there is a lot of both in this book. I love this book because in the midst of all the war there is a great deal of practical principles we can all live by.
In Joshua chapter 1 verses 6, 7, & 9 God states to Joshua three times, “Be strong and courageous.” The repetition of this phrase shows the importance of an idea. Now we would put an exclamation mark on a big idea, but in the Bible repetition is like an exclamation mark.
“Be strong and courageous” is God’s appeal, His command to Joshua but the appeal does not come without justification for why Joshua should be strong.
- Be strong and courageous: (v. 6) because I have made a promise years ago and I always keep my promises.
- Be strong and courageous: (vv. 7, 8) Joshua you will find all the strength and courage and at the end of it success through God’s Word.
- Be strong and courageous: (v. 9) because the Lord is always with you!
I like verse 8 of chapter 1: careful obedience to the Word of God requires careful study, “you shall meditate on it Day & Night”
In chapter 2 Rahab’s story is such a lesson of faith driven works for believers!
- Rahab was a prostitute, but she ends-up in the family line of Jesus, Matthew 1:5
- Rahab was a prostitute, but she is found in the Hall of Faith, Hebrews 11:31
- Rahab was a prostitute, but James cites her as an example of justification by faith which produces works, James 2:25
In Joshua 2:3-6 are the actions that show the legitimacy of Rahab’s faith statement found in Joshua 2:9-11.
Some believe that the scarlet cord that Rahab was to hang-out her window has relation to the blood posted above the doorposts at the time of the Passover in Egypt.
Rahab should be a witness to us that God did not destroy one group simply to build-up another group. He saved all who were willing to be saved, Israelite and pagan.
I love 2:21, it is a mini-sermon on preparation for the second coming. The spies tell Rahab that if a red cord is not in the window when they return they will not be responsible for her death, so in verse 21 we read, “So she sent them away, and they departed; and she tied a scarlet cord in the window.” Logically she had to have known they wouldn’t return that night, but she wasn’t going to miss out on not being ready. The moment they were gone she started to prepare for them to return. Jesus is in heaven right now, but we should be preparing like He is coming back immediately!
What a witness this woman is to us!
In the last chapter of our reading today, chapter 5 I love the final verses! They leave with us an important truth to remember.
“Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” 14 He said, “No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the Lord.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, “What has my lord to say to his servant?” 15 The captain of the Lord’s host said to Joshua, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.”
Joshua here encounters the pre-incarnate Jesus Himself, and just like Moses he is told to remove his shoes because the ground is holy.
But what I love about this text and I believe other versions than the NASB capture it a little better, Joshua asks the individual “whose side are you on?” And the NASB translates it, “No” but what the Lord was saying is, “neither”
This is a good point for us to remember. God is not on my side or your side. He’s not on the Christian side or the Muslim side. God is on His side and He calls us to join Him, to follow Him, to recognize His holiness letting Him lead the way.
Tomorrow’s reading: Psalms 1 & 2