THEME: The Book of Joshua in Review
This week’s lessons review our study in Joshua, and demonstrate how the grace of God is seen even through His judgment against sin.
We’re drawing quite near the end of our study of this great Old Testament book. It’s an appropriate time to look back over it a bit in terms of the outline and see how far we have come and how we have yet to go. Joshua falls into four main parts. There’s a preparation for the conquest, which occupies a surprisingly large portion of the book. It concerns the preparation of Joshua himself, which is found in chapter 1. There’s a short preparation for the story of the conquest of Jericho in the work of the spies and their meeting with Rahab that’s told in chapter 2. And then there’s a continuation of the story of the preparation, where the people’s preparation is in view. You find that in chapters 3 through 5. That’s the first portion of the book, and it’s not to be taken lightly, as the amount of space given over to it clearly indicates. We should in our Christian life give an adequate amount of time to preparation, certainly the preparation of the heart, and, in terms of the work we have to do, in the preparation of the skills and talents that we need to do it.
Then there’s a second section of the book, which is the conquest itself. We spent a good bit of time talking about that because some of the most interesting stories in Joshua are found in this portion. We saw that there were three campaigns. The first was a strike into the heart of the country that went up from Jericho to Ai, thus dividing the kingdom of the Canaanites into two halves—a northern and a southern part. The second campaign was in the south, followed by a third campaign in the north, both of which were great victories.
We get the impression reading the story of those accounts that the conquest all happened very quickly. While it’s true that the initial thrusts happened quickly, as we read the unfolding of the conquest, we realize that the conquest itself took a great deal of time to unfold. The power of the Canaanites was broken in these three quick thrusts, but there remained a large task of occupation. And one of the sad features of this portion of Joshua is that over and over again we’re told that the people didn’t quite take full possession of the land. They were able to do it, but they grew tired and weary as we sometimes do in our battles. Consequently, they didn’t press on, and because of this many of the Canaanites remained.
The third section of the book is the one we’re in now, and it has to do with the division of the land. After the land had been conquered, it was divided up tribe by tribe. This took place in several stages as well. There was an early stage, which in fact had already taken place even before the people crossed the Jordan. Way back when they were still in the wilderness under the leadership of Moses, 2½ of the tribes asked for the eastern territory. Moses had given it to them on the condition that when it came time to take the land, they’d accompany their brothers in the battle, which they went on to do. This third portion of the book describes how that first section of the land was given to them. Then there was a second division of the land that took place at Gilgal, which was followed by a third division of the land that took place at Shiloh. By the time that was over, all areas of this vast territory that had been conquered by the Jewish armies under Joshua had been divided up and occupied.
And then toward the very end of the book, beginning at chapter 22, we have the farewells. It’s sort of a postscript to what has already happened. There’s a chapter that tells how the eastern tribes returned to their area on the east of the Jordan. There’s a farewell of Joshua to the leaders. And then in the final chapter, chapter 24, there is the last sermon of this great man of God.
Into what four sections does Dr. Boice divide the book of Joshua?
What events are found within those sections?
What does this review teach us about God? What does it teach us about ourselves?