For eighty years you have lived in the shadows of one of the greatest leaders to have ever lived. You watched as God worked signs and wonders through His servant Moses. While everyone cowered in fear, Moses was courageous enough to stand before God and speak the truth and beg for God’s mercy. Now, that great, wise, experienced, next-to-godlike man is looking you in the eye and saying, “It’s your turn. Now you are in charge.” How do you feel?
This was the situation Joshua found himself in at the beginning of the book of Joshua. Let’s not forget that Joshua was no slouch himself. Out of the 12 spies that were sent to scope out the land, he was one of 2 that believed God could deliver on his promises, in spite of the giants in the land. Joshua had proven himself a loyal and trusted servant of Moses from the very beginning. Yet, it is one thing to be the first-mate and defer all the big decisions to Moses. It is a different thing altogether to be thrust into the “big chair” and to be looked upon by a million plus people as the man who will know what God wants for the people to do.
How would you feel under those circumstances? Spend a moment to reflect on this. Behind you is the nation of Israel, a group that has proven themselves to be less than trustworthy on many occasions. In front of you lies the Jordan River, beyond which are heavily fortified cities, well trained armies, and very large fighting men. Your mentor is about to expire and now, at a human level, there is no one to turn to for advice?
Joshua stepped up to the plate very well. The book of Joshua is a nice contrast to the book of Numbers. In Numbers, the people experienced great defeat and suffered terribly as the consequence of poor choices and lack of faith. Joshua took the nation in a 180 degree direction and actually followed the Lord’s commands. As a result of his strength and courage Joshua led the people to claim the promise that God had made to Abraham and allowed the people to settle into their land and begin growing crops.
Joshua can be divided into two major sections:
Part 1: Conquering Canaan (1-12)
1-5 Preparing for Conquest
6-9 Determining who’s in Charge
10-12 Taking the Land
Part 2: Allotting the Land (13-24)
23-24 Joshua’s Farewell Speech.
13-22 Giving the Tribes their Promised proportion