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Introduction to the Book of Joshua 

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • July 21, In the year of our Lord, 2013



  1. [For screen display before class begins]

    Overview of Joshua

    A Beautiful Plan

    Now that you by the Lord are redeemed
    led by Joshua highly esteemed,
    as I promised to Abe,
    you’ll live in a new nabe.
    ‘Twas a beautiful plan, so it seemed.


  2. Review the Scheme of Redemption up to the Book of Joshua
    1. From the beginning, the Lord has worked good things for man.
      1. However, man’s rebellion in the Garden of Eden,
      2. ruined those good things, but
        1. the Lord still wanted good for man, and so
        2. the Lord began to reveal a plan to save man,

          15 “And I will put enmity
          Between you and the woman,
          And between your seed and her Seed;
          He shall bruise your head,
          And you shall bruise His heel.”
          (Gen 3.15)

    2. Death continued to reign over mankind
      1. as the descendants of Adam and Eve multiplied on the Earth (Gen 5).
      2. Death reigned because sin reigned,
        1. so much so that all the Earth became wicked,
        2. except one family through whom the Lord saved humanity on the Earth.
          1. Noah and his family built a massive ark by the Lord’s direction
          2. to save
            1. himself,
            2. his family, and
            3. the animals of the Earth.
    3. Afterward, the Lord told Noah what He had told Adam,

      1 So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” (Gen 9.1).

      1. However, the descendants of Noah did not desire to do so,
      2. wanting to stay together, accomplishing this by a huge building project,

        4 And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth” (Gen 11.4).

        1. Therefore, the Lord intervened,

          5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. 6 And the Lord said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. 7 Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” 8 So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. 9 Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth (Gen 11.5–9).

      3. Then the narration shows some people leaving the area,

        27 This is the genealogy of Terah: Terah begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran. Haran begot Lot. 28 And Haran died before his father Terah in his native land, in Ur of the Chaldeans. 29 Then Abram and Nahor took wives: the name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran the father of Milcah and the father of Iscah. 30 But Sarai was barren; she had no child. 31 And Terah took his son Abram and his grandson Lot, the son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram’s wife, and they went out with them from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan; and they came to Haran and dwelt there. 32 So the days of Terah were two hundred and five years, and Terah died in Haran (Gen 11.27–32).

        1. Why was Abram and his family leaving Ur of the Chaldeans?
        2. Genesis 12 explains,

          1 Now the Lord had said to Abram:

          “Get out of your country,
          From your family
          And from your father’s house,
          To a land that I will show you.
          2 I will make you a great nation;
          I will bless you
          And make your name great;
          And you shall be a blessing.
          3 I will bless those who bless you,
          And I will curse him who curses you;
          And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
          (Gen 12.1–3)

    4. From this new land, where Abram’s family would locate,
      1. the Lord would bless all the families of the Earth.
      2. Moses continued to show us that Abram arrived in the Land of Canaan,
        1. entering in the North and
        2. traveling to the South, and
          1. the Lord made a promise to Abram,

            5 Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan. 6 Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, as far as the terebinth tree of Moreh. And the Canaanites were then in the land. 7 Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” And there he built an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him (Gen 12.5–7).

            1. The Lord promised the land as part of the Lord’s promise
            2. to bless all the families of the Earth.
  3. However, as verse 6 noted,
    1. other people lived in the land, but
    2. in time their wickedness would increase and
      1. the land would vomit them out, and
      2. the descendants of Abraham could then enter the land and take it.
  4. Thus, they went down into Egypt for four centuries, and
    1. when the time arrived,
    2. the Lord sent Moses to bring the descendants of Abraham
      1. out of the land of Egypt
      2. to take them to their own land, the Land of Canaan.
  5. Through their rebellion against the Lord,
    1. He prevented them from entering right away, and
    2. four decades later He used Joshua
      1. to bring them into the land,
      2. to conquer the land, and
      3. to divide the land among the descendants of Abraham.
  6. That bring us to the Book of Joshua, and
    1. the events recorded therein
    2. showing the Lord keeping His promises to Abraham
      1. to bless all the families of the Earth
      2. from the descendants of Abraham in the Land of Canaan.
        1. Christians need to know the Book of Joshua
        2. that they might know by seeing that the Lord keeps His promises, and
          1. we need to see and to know
          2. all that happened to bring us the blessing of Abraham.


  1. The Lord Keeps His Promise
    1. The Lord promised the fathers the land of Canaan.
      1. Gen 12.7
      2. Gen 13.14–17
      3. Gen 15.18–21
      4. Gen 17.1–8
      5. He will do whatever is necessary to defeat these giants.
        1. Earlier, Israel believed they could not defeat the Canaanites.
        2. Here, they believe they can.
          1. What was the difference?
      6. He will stop the water of the Jordan River.
        1. 3.9–4.1 reveals what the crossing of the Jordan let Israel know.
      7. He will stop the Sun and the Moon.
        1. 10.12–14
        2. NASA did not and could not discover a missing day.
    2. Is there anything He cannot do?
      1. No, but the question is:
      2. Do we believe He can and will do anything to keep His promises?
  2. The Point of the Book
    1. The reason the Book of Joshua is in the Bible is revealed by the key passage of the Book,

      43 So the Lord gave to Israel all the land of which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they took possession of it and dwelt in it. 44 The Lord gave them rest all around, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers. And not a man of all their enemies stood against them; the Lord delivered all their enemies into their hand. 45 Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass (Jos 21.43–45).

      1. How much of the land did the Lord give Israel?
        1. He gave all that he swore to give.
      2. Did Israel possess it?
        1. They possessed it and dwelt in it.
      3. Did Israel have rest in the land?
        1. The Lord gave them rest all around in fulfillment of what He promised.
      4. How many of their enemies did they defeat?
        1. The Lord delivered all their enemies into their hand.
      5. Did anything fail to pass?
        1. No, everything came to pass.
    2. 24.15 is probably the most quoted verse, but truly 21.43–45 is the theme.
      1. Do you know what that means for the world and for Christians?
        1. The Lord set the stage to bless the world with what He had promised Abraham in Genesis 12.3.
        2. Some people doubt their salvation, and
          1. some question their forgiveness, and
          2. so they talk of self-forgiveness, but
            1. if the Lord kept His promise to give the land,
            2. we know He kept the greater promise
              1. for which the nation and land were brought into existence.
                  1. The Nation-Land Promise prepared the way for the Spiritual Seed Promise,
                  2. which the Lord fulfilled in the lives of Christians.
      2. This passage also shows that the Lord’s promise of success works.

        7 “Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Jos 1.7–8).

        1. Believe what He says and
        2. do what He says, and
          1. regardless of the obstacles,
          2. He will lead us to success.
            1. Do you believe that?
            2. Does your life show your belief?
    3. Therefore, the Book of Joshua shows Israel taking all the Land of Canaan.
      1. We need to see all that was done to bring us the blessing of Abraham.