Summary: God prepares Joshua to lead israel into Canaan
This evening we begin a new series of studies as we turn our thoughts to the book of Joshua. Why the book of Joshua? – you might ask. And that would be a legitimate question. After all it is an ancient book that gives a grim account of war, slaughter and conquest which took place long ago in a land and culture so far removed from the world of our day that it couldn’t possibly have anything relevant to say to believers today at the commencement of this 21st Century. In answering such a question I would say two things. First of all Joshua is a book of the Bible, as fully inspired as the other 65 books and as such is, as Paul reminds us in 2 Tim 3/16 “profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” In other words God intended this book to be useful to us in our Christian lives. There are doctrines, and principles and practical lessons relating to various aspects of our faith which are set forth in this particular book in a way in which they are not set forth in any of the other books. If This historical record of Israel’s conquest of the land of Canaan were of no doctrinal or practical use to the Church then God would not have preserved the record nor incorporated it within the inspired volume of scripture. But He did and thus we should study it. The other thing I would say is this, the book of Joshua is in fact much more relevant to us as Christians living at the beginning of the 21st Century than perhaps we at first realise especially whenever one considers the fact that the Christian life is often depicted by the N.T. writers, Paul especially in terms of the life of a soldier, in terms of being in a battle, in terms of engaging and overcoming enemy forces, in terms of laying hold of our inheritance in Christ by faith and as well as that there is the whole area of principles of leadership and ‘followership’ which are very prominent in this book and which are of course relevant for God’s people in every age of the Church. So I would say to you that we are studying Joshua because I believe that the particular lessons we learn from this book will be potentially at least, of tremendous help and benefit to us in our Christian lives. Whether the potential benefit becomes an actual, real benefit to you personally, depends of course upon how you respond to the truths and lessons which will be brought before you.
The book of Joshua cannot of course be considered in Isolation from the books that precede it. The fact of the matter is that the theological roots of Joshua are sunk firmly in the soil of the first five books of scripture and were you to trace the tap root of this book you would find that it goes all the way back to Genesis 12. And it is with a view to tracing this tap root and so setting the book in its general context and discovering the dominant theme of the book that I want you to consider with me in the first place this evening -