1. The first seven chapters of this wonderful book allow us to see the fulfillment of God's covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob from two perspectives:
a. as a m __ __ __ __ __ __ __ campaign
b. as a s __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ experience
2. To limit our understanding of how Joshua led the armies of Israel in their conquest of Canaan to the historical record of strategy, battles and troop movements is to disregard the miraculous undergirding of the seven year campaign by the divine intervention of Jehovah on behalf of His chosen people. We caught a glimpse of the spiritual nature of the invasion in our study of the
fourth chapter of Joshua, when God commanded that the a __ __ of the c __ __ __ __ __ __ __ go before the 40,000 eastern tribesmen who led the rest of the nation across the Jordan River.
3. God's drying up of the Jordan was certainly miraculous, but it wasn't necessary militarily, since the river was completely fordable at several accessible points. Two important objectives were accomplished through God's mighty intervention here.
a. Surely the hearts of the Israelites were e __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __.
b. Their enemies were t __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __!
(1) This is made clear in Joshua 5:1:
So it was, when all the kings of the Amorites who were on the west side of the Jordan, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard that the Lord had dried up the waters of the Jordan from before the children of Israel until we had crossed over, that their hearts melted; and there was no spirit in them any longer because of the children of Israel.
(2) As we read this verse the words which Rahab spoke to the spies ring in our ears.
Joshua 2:9-11 [ TLB ]
"I know perfectly well that your God is going to give my country to you," she told them. "We are all afraid of you; everyone is terrified if the word 'Israel' is even mentioned. For we have heard how the Lord made a path through the Red Sea for you when you left Egypt! And we know what you did to Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan, and how you ruined the land and completely destroyed the people. No wonder we are afraid of you! No one has any fight left in him after hearing things like that, for your God is the supreme God of heaven, not just an ordinary God.
B. So we have seen a new leader selected personally by God. We have witnessed his stirring inaugural speech to the troops, and we have heard their enthusiastic and united promise to follow him into battle. Now we read the account of God's mighty hand implementing and directing a completely successful invasion. The enemy is cowering inside the city-fortress of Jericho, paralyzed with fear of Israel's army. Things couldn't be working out any better! The key city in the conquest of the Promised Land is ripe for the taking! The long-awaited, agonozingly-delayed Promise of God is about to be fulfilled -- so close now that the soldiers can fairly taste it! They await the next command from their leader; surely the battle will commence at any second!
Joshua, God's man for the people, opens his mouth to speak. Each soldier leans forward, his emotions raw with anticipation. HERE COMES THE WORD OF THE LORD! GOD SAYS.....
"W __ __ __."
Joshua 5:2-12 [ NIV ]
At that time the Lord said to Joshua, "Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites again." So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the Israelites at Gibeath Haaraloth. Now this is why he did so: All those who came out of Egypt -- all the military men of age -- died in the desert on the way after leaving Egypt. All the people that came out had been circumcised, but all the people born in the desert during the journey from Egypt had not. The Israelites had moved about in the desert forty years until all the men who were of military age when they left Egypt had died, since they had not obeyed the Lord. For the Lord had sworn to them that they would not see the land that he had solemnly promised their fathers to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey. So he raised up their sons in their place, and these were the ones Joshua circumcised. They were still uncircumcised because they had not been circumcised on the way. And after the whole nation had been circumcised, they remained where they were in camp until they were healed.