Summary: This message is a part of a series that surveys the entire Bible. It is based upon the study guide from an older Chuck Swindoll series. This message surveys Joshua-2 Samuel.
Today, we set out on the second segment of our journey on God’s Route 66. This segment will be quite historical. These five historical books that we are going to survey today trace Israel’s transformation from a band of twelve wandering nomadic tribes to a powerful united nation. Also during this transformation Israel’s government will change from a theocracy with God as ruler to a monarchy with various men assuming the role of king. Like last week we have a tremendous amount of material to cover. When our journey concluded last week Moses had just died and the Israelites were on the border of the Promised Land. So let’s begin in the book of Joshua and learn about the man who will succeed Moses as the leader of Israel.
I. Joshua a book of conquest.
A. The book of Joshua presents itself as a historical record, and it is in the section normally referred to as the historical books.
1. The Book of Joshua occurs at a strategic place in the Old Testament canon. The book forms a bridge between the Pentateuch and that which follows.
2. The Book of Joshua is a kind of climax of all which had gone before.
a. The land promise made to Abram almost seven centuries earlier was now fulfilled.
b. Israel’s earlier failure to enter the land (Numbers 14:39–35) was now reversed.
c. The glorious vision of faith set forth by Moses in his closing speeches (Deuteronomy 26–33) now became the venture of faith.
3. Jewish tradition ascribes the authorship of the sixth book in the Old Testament to Joshua himself. No solid reasons have been put forth for categorically rejecting this view.
4. The Book of Joshua deals with one very important stage in the fulfillment of God’s great plan to provide salvation for the whole world. The people of Israel had to be settled in the Promised Land to prepare for the coming of another Joshua; Jesus Christ, who was to live and die in that same land as Savior, not only of Israel, but of the entire human race.
5. Joshua showed great strength and courage as he led the conquest of Canaan.
B. The book of Joshua can be divided using a very simple outline.
1. Chapters 1-5 provide us with an account of the invasion of the land.
2. Chapters 6-12 provide us with the account of the different campaigns fought in conquering the land.
3. Chapters 13-22 provide us with the details concerning the distribution of the land.
4. Chapters 23-24 provide us with the account of Joshua commissioning the people.
C. Some final thoughts in regard to the book of Joshua.
1. While the book emphasizes God’s fulfillment to bring Israel into the land of promise, the Israelites fail to follow through with God’s expectations in purging the land of its inhabitants.
2. It is this failure that becomes the focus to one degree or another through the remainder of the Hebrew Bible.
3. The New Testament book of Hebrews picks up on this theme, pointing out that even though Joshua (“Yahweh is salvation”) brought Israel into the land, there remained another promise that was greater. The leader into that greater promise would be Jesus
II. Judges a book of compromise.
A. The book of Judges paints a dismal picture of Israel’s history, especially after the fairly glowing and optimistic successes narrated in Joshua.
1. The united tribal effort to conquer Canaan lasted seven plus years. Once Joshua had broken the back of Canaanite resistance, he assigned the tribes to their territories within the land. The individual tribes were required to eliminate any remaining enclaves of Canaanites within their borders.
2. Gradually, however, conquest gave way to toleration, accommodation and assimilation. Israel departed from the Lord. God then sent against them a series of foreign invaders.
3. The Book of Judges demonstrates the terrible consequences of disobedience to God. The path to destruction is clearly marked in the book. Disregard for God’s command to drive out the Canaanites led to toleration, compromise, intermarriage and outright disobedience.
4. Israel lost their distinctiveness as God’s Holy people and fell under God’s discipline.
B. Each time Israel felt God’s discipline they cried out to God and He sent them a deliver known as a judge.
1. The Book of Judges consists of a central core of narratives which focus on Israel’s sin, servitude, supplication and salvation over the course of some three centuries.
2. Judges states seven times that Israel did evil in the eyes of God and that five times Israel cried out to the Lord.
3. The book of Judges is a dismal account of some of Israel’s darkest days tracing how their disobedience ended in horror and disgrace.
4. We need to understand that Moses in Deuteronomy is warning Israel of what will happen if they fail to follow the Lord and that the books of Joshua through 2 Kings narrate how the warnings unfolded.