Sunday, October 07, 2007

Joshua: Coming To A Close

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Joshua: Coming To A Close

Intro.: Over the last two years we have sung that little ditty three times:

Joshua fit the battle of Jericho,

Jericho, Jericho.

Joshua fit the battle of Jericho,

And the walls come tumbling down.1

  1. It was the Spring of 2006 that we first began this journey.

  2. Then the next Fall, we again walked through this book.

  3. And again, last Spring.

  4. Now we want to finish the book that we started so long ago.

Read: Joshua 1:1-9


Trans: The first five books of the Bible are known as the Pentateuch.

  1. With Joshua we begin the second major section of the scriptures – Beginning with Joshua through the book of Esther make up a group of twelve books known as the historical books.

  2. The historical books provide the history of the Jewish people from the crossing of the Jordan River into the promised land to a period about 400 years before the time of Christ.

  3. Between the end of the OT and the beginning of the NT there is 400 years of silence – at least as far as the scriptures are concerned.

  4. But the events of Joshua take place long before then – dated most often at 1400 BC. Some scholars will date it a bit later – but the date is not as important as recognizing that the events are provided to better prepare us to serve God.

T.S. As begin the end of our study of Joshua, I want to spend a few minutes of looking at four milestones that defined Joshua's early life.

  1. Snapshot #1: Joshua the spy (Numbers 13:1-33)

    1. Our first snapshot of Joshua is as a young man. He is a group of twelve sent into the promised land.

    2. There job was simple – report on the state of the land that God was going to give them.

    3. Though the job was simple, their report back to Moses was less so. The report started out positive: Indeed it is flowing with milk and honey. In fact they brought back examples of the produce they found. Nobody disagreed with that assessment. It was unanimous.

    4. But the rest of the report was not unanimous. It was the majority opinion: the people living in the land are strong, and the cities are large and fortified. More than one translation makes it clear that the men they found there were big – “giants”, if you would. And the majority of the thought that the men they saw were fierce enough, that they did not want to fight.

    5. However, there was a minority opinion: The land we passed through and explored is an extremely good land. If the Lord is pleased with us, He will bring us into this land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and give it to us. Only don’t rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land, for we will devour them. Their protection has been removed from them, and the Lord is with us. Don’t be afraid of them! Caleb was the spokesman, but when it came time to decide between the majority and minority, Joshua was right there, recognizing God's ability to hand the land over.

(Appl.) I don't think it was any easier for Caleb or Joshua to stand before these 10 men and represent God than it would be for us in the 21st century. Yet, here was a man of faith, that was willing to stand for what he believed. He sets an example for each of us – we live in a culture that does not want to hear about our faith, yet we, like Joshua, will find times when we are called to be honest and stand for our faith in the face of opposition.

  1. Snapshot #2: Joshua the leader (Deuteronomy 31:1-23)

    1. Joshua was a spy, he was also a leader. He was the man appointed by Moses to take leadership upon his death.

    2. He would be taking the Israelites that survived the 40 years since the spies had been sent out.

    3. We will see in the coming weeks some of the characteristics that made Joshua a successful leader. But it starts off with an appointment to lead.

(Ill.) H. Gordon Selfridge was born in Wisconsin, and became an early leader in the Marshall-Fields department store chain. But he eventually married an English woman and took the expertise he had learned under the tutelage of Marshall Field to build up one of the world’s largest department stores in London. He achieved success by being a leader, not a boss. Here is his own comparison of the two types of executives:

      • The boss drives his men; the leader coaches them.

      • The boss depends upon authority; the leader on good will.

      • The boss inspires fear; the leader inspires enthusiasm.

      • The boss says “I”; the leader, “we.”

      • The boss fixes the blame for the breakdown; the leader fixes the breakdown.

      • The boss knows how it is done; the leader shows how.

      • The boss says “Go”; the leader says “Let’s go!”2

    1. As we finish our look at Joshua, we will see that we are looking at a leader – not a boss.

  1. Snapshot #3: Joshua the spiritual leader (Joshua 4:1-3)

    1. One might be tempted to say that Joshua was unique. After all we don't expect the leaders of our government to serve as spiritual leaders. It might be nice, but we don't expect it to be so.

    2. But that is what we in Joshua – a man who is called to be the leader of his people, but also

    3. Here is a man who listen to God, here is a man who obeys God, here is a man directs the building of altars. Yet he is not a priest. He is not a professional minister.

(Appl.) I said earlier that we don't expect the leaders of our government to serve as spiritual leaders; however, we should expect those believers who are leaders in our government, to also be spiritual leaders.

  1. Snapshot #4: Joshua the disciplinarian (Joshua 7:1-26)

    1. Joshua was a leader – but that also meant that he had to deal with some difficult issues.

    2. Perhaps the most famous case in Joshua's life was took place after he and the people of Israel conquered Jericho. You'll remember that story – God had the people march around the city for six days, then on the seventh day the walls came down. With exception of Rahab and her family, everyone in Jericho died. The people of Israel were commanded by God to take nothing from that city. Yet one man, Achan, took a beautiful cloak, 200 pieces of silver, a bar of gold. And it had consequences for all of Israel – they lost the battle at Ai.

(Ill.) Dr. J. Kenneth Kimberlin is a Presbyterian pastor. It was Dr Kimberlin that noted “We are free to sin, but not to control sin’s consequences.”3

(Appl.) I suppose it is a hard lesson for all of us to learn – we too often go through life thinking that the decisions we make have little effect on other people. We have all heard the expression, “I can do what I want as long as I don't hurt anyone else.” Yet what we do, does effect our families, it does effect our neighbors, it does effect our community, it does effect our nation.

    1. I am sure Achan never suspected it, but his sin did effect those around him.

Conclusion: We are now coming to the end of our study of Joshua. Before we finish our study of Joshua, we will ..

  1. We will see Joshua divide the land among the people of Israel.

  2. We will see Joshua renew the covenant between God and His people.

  3. We will see the impact that Joshua has had on the other writers of scriptures.

  4. Take time to reread the book of Joshua this week as we begin our final walk through this book.



2Sunshine Magazine found in Tan, P. L. (1996, c1979). Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations : A treasury of illustrations, anecdotes, facts and quotations for pastors, teachers and Christian workers. Garland TX: Bible Communications.

3J. Kenneth Kimberlin in Water, M. (2000). The new encyclopedia of Christian quotations (948). Alresford, Hampshire: John Hunt Publishers Ltd.

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