A Joshua commissioned
Joshua appointed leader
1: Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying, 2: Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. 3: Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. 4: From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast. 5: There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. 6: Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. 7: Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. 8: This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. 9: Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. 10: Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, 11: Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals; for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the LORD your God giveth you to possess it. 12: And to the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to half the tribe of Manasseh, spake Joshua, saying, 13: Remember the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, saying, The LORD your God hath given you rest, and hath given you this land. 14: Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle, shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side Jordan; but ye shall pass before your brethren armed, all the mighty men of valour, and help them; 15: Until the LORD have given your brethren rest, as he hath given you, and they also have possessed the land which the LORD your God giveth them: then ye shall return unto the land of your possession, and enjoy it, which Moses the LORD's servant gave you on this side Jordan toward the sunrising. 16: And they answered Joshua, saying, All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go. 17: According as we hearkened unto Moses in all things, so will we hearken unto thee: only the LORD thy God be with thee, as he was with Moses. 18: Whosoever he be that doth rebel against thy commandment, and will not hearken unto thy words in all that thou commandest him, he shall be put to death: only be strong and of a good courage.
Joshua sends spies
1: And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot's house, named Rahab, and lodged there. 2: And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, Behold, there came men in hither to night of the children of Israel to search out the country. 3: And the king of Jericho sent unto Rahab, saying, Bring forth the men that are come to thee, which are entered into thine house: for they be come to search out all the country. 4: And the woman took the two men, and hid them, and said thus, There came men unto me, but I wist not whence they were: 5: And it came to pass about the time of shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that the men went out: whither the men went I wot not: pursue after them quickly; for ye shall overtake them. 6: But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof. 7: And the men pursued after them the way to Jordan unto the fords: and as soon as they which pursued after them were gone out, they shut the gate. 8: And before they were laid down, she came up unto them upon the roof; 9: And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. 10: For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. 11: And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath. 12: Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the LORD, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father's house, and give me a true token: 13: And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death. 14: And the men answered her, Our life for yours, if ye utter not this our business. And it shall be, when the LORD hath given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with thee. 15: Then she let them down by a cord through the window: for her house was upon the town wall, and she dwelt upon the wall. 16: And she said unto them, Get you to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you; and hide yourselves there three days, until the pursuers be returned: and afterward may ye go your way. 17: And the men said unto her, We will be blameless of this thine oath which thou hast made us swear. 18: Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father's household, home unto thee. 19: And it shall be, that whosoever shall go out of the doors of thy house into the street, his blood shall be upon his head, and we will be guiltless: and whosoever shall be with thee in the house, his blood shall be on our head, if any hand be upon him. 20: And if thou utter this our business, then we will be quit of thine oath which thou hast made us to swear. 21: And she said, According unto your words, so be it. And she sent them away, and they departed: and she bound the scarlet line in the window. 22: And they went, and came unto the mountain, and abode there three days, until the pursuers were returned: and the pursuers sought them throughout all the way, but found them not. 23: So the two men returned, and descended from the mountain, and passed over, and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and told him all things that befell them: 24: And they said unto Joshua, Truly the LORD hath delivered into our hands all the land; for even all the inhabitants of the country do faint because of us.
B Israel prepared
Israel crosses the river Jordan
1: And Joshua rose early in the morning; and they removed from Shittim, and came to Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over. 2: And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host; 3: And they commanded the people, saying, When ye see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it. 4: Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore. 5: And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the LORD will do wonders among you. 6: And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people. And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people. 7: And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee. 8: And thou shalt command the priests that bear the ark of the covenant, saying, When ye are come to the brink of the water of Jordan, ye shall stand still in Jordan. 9: And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, Come hither, and hear the words of the LORD your God. 10: And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites. 11: Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan. 12: Now therefore take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man. 13: And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap. 14: And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people; 15: And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,) 16: That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho. 17: And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.
The Book which we begin reading today describes the victory of Joshua in the Promised Land. The book is written by Joshua (except the ending written by Phinehas, an eyewitness of the events recorded there). This book completes the work of Exodus. In the book of Exodus Israel came out of Egypt. In the book of Joshua Israel enters into Canaan. Israel under Joshua’s leadership, is God’s instrument, to cleanse the land of unbelievable evil and idolatry. Up to this point God spoke in *dreams, *visions and angelic voice but now God speaks through his Word. The Key Word is ‘possession’. The counterpoint book in the NT is the Letter to the Ephesians - Christ has entered heaven but we must take possession of our blessings in Christ. In the first chapter Joshua is recognised as the leader and in chapter two he sends out spies to Jericho. Then in chapter three the children of Israel cross over the Jordan as they did at the Red Sea. Joshua was like Caleb the only person left in the whole nation who had seen Egypt and seen the might works of God at the Read Sea. He had been the servant of Moses and for 40 years had been happy to play second fiddle. But now his mentor and leader is dead. The time has come to step up to the plate. And the Lord says to him, Moses my servant is dead now therefore arise. The time has come to stand up and come into the ministry that l have been training you for. Then the Lord reiterated all the promises to Joshua and promised him blessing and said wherever you put the sole of your feet l will give it you, from the wilderness of Egypt to the Lebanon and to the river Euphrates. That was a huge land! Would Joshua manage to conquer all this? We will see. Then the Lord said No man will ever be able to stand before you all the days of your life. And as l was with Moses l will be with you. So be strong and have good courage. Be strong and very courageous and keep te whole law which Moses commanded you to do. This book of the Law will not leave your mouth (you will read it every day) and you will meditate on it day and night so that you will do it. If you do you will prosper and be successful. Then Joshua sent out a command that in three days the children of Israel will cross over the Jordan. Then he reminded the tribes of Reuben, Gadites and the half tribe of Manasseh to honour the commitment to leave their homes and come to the battle. He said you can leave your wives and children at home but you men are to go to help your brothers in the battle. They responded in words that every leader would weep to hear – they said, All that you command us to do we will do and wherever you send us we will go. And anyone who refuses to follow you will be executed. In Chapter 2 Joshua sends spies to Jericho. He just sends two. (perhaps he is thinking of himself and Caleb who brought good news of the land for Moses) The spies came to Rahab the harlot’s house in Jericho. She had a house built into the wall of the city. They went there to lodge but in the night soldiers came to search for spies but Rahab hid them under the flax on the roof and told them that they had been there but that she didn’t know where they were now. She said they left just before the gate of the city was shut but if you go quickly you will catch up with them. The men rushed out as far as the fords and when they had left the gate was shut. Then before she slept she came and told them that she believed that the LORD had given Israel the land and that the people of the land are terrified of you because we heard how the LORD opened the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt. And what you did to the Kings of the Amorities who you totally destroyed. When we heard this our hearts melted and he had no courage to face you because the LORD your God is the God of heaven and earth. Now she said please swear that you will show grace to me and save my house. Give me a token of your oath. They promised to save her life because she had saved theirs. She let them escape by a rope from the window of her house which was built into the wall. And she said go into the mountain and stay thee three days untill the men who are looking for you have returned. So the Men said put a scaret thread in the window to protect you from the destruction of the city. (Perhaps a sign like that of the blood on the door posts of Egypt) Anly those within the house would be saved. After three days the men returned to Joshua and told him everything. The next day the children of Israel prepared to cross over the Jordan River. On this occasion the Ark of the Covenant went ahead of the children of Israel. Then the Lord said to Joshua today l will make you appear to be much greater in the sight of all Israel and the people will know that I am with you as l was with Moses. The next day the ark is going to be carried into the waters of the river and you are to take twelve men to pick up stones from the river to set them up as a memorial of this crossing. (those stones are no doubt still there today) The Lord said that when your feet tread in the Jordan that the waters upstream will be cut off. And thi is exactly what happened and at that time the river was in flood. (It seems to be saying that there was a blockage of the river up stream which caused the river to stop flowing. Way beyond the city of Adam. See map) And so Israel passed over Jordan as on dry ground. The children of Israel would always look back to this event and marvel at Gods amazing power.