Have you ever watched Star Wars? How about Return of the Jedi? Both movies are epic, but if those are the only two you have watched you are left wondering what you missed. We miss the regrouping of the empire, the training of Luke, the capture of Han and the biggests reveal of its time, when Darth Vader says those chilling words, “Luke, I am your father.” Someone needs to watch The Empire Strikes Back because it is the bridge between Star Wars and The Return of the Jedi.
The book of Joshua acts in the same way. Imagine if the Bible went from Deuteronomy to Judges or 1 and 2 Samuel. We would be left to wonder what happened from the wilderness to the taking of the land. Thankfully the Holy Spirit has chosen to leave us a written record in the book of Joshua. Joshua contains crucial lessons for the people of Israel and for us today. We learn of Rahab the prostitute who is grafted into the lineage of Christ, the fall of Jericho, the sin of Ai, the dividing of the land, Joshua getting tricked and an epic farewell address. But before we get into the book, let’s take a look at some important historical and Gospel bridges this book builds.
Joshua builds a historical bridge, in Deuteronomy we are left with the Israelites at the brink of the promise land and Moses climbing a mountain to die. What happens to the people of Israel? Who is gonna lead them now? Is the work of Yahweh going to continue through his chosen people? Joshua is the book of Acts of the Old Testament. When we close the Gospels we are left with the same questions, what is going to happen to the Apostles? Who is going to lead them now? How is the work of Jesus going to continue? Just like Acts, Joshua answers some very important question and gives us a written record of the continuing work of Yahweh through his chosen people.
In the book of Joshua we see the importance of a discipleship bridge. When we read Exodus – Deuteronomy we see the Lord’s working through the life of Moses. Many times lurking in the shadows and at times in the front lines we see Joshua. He is with Moses at Mount Sinai, at the door of the tent of meeting, fighting the battles and spying out the land. Joshua was being discipled , whether he realized it or not, discipled to lead the people of Israel. When the Lord came to Joshua with his mission, we see Joshua respond immediately and obediently, very different from Moses, Moses calling covers two chapters and full of excuses. When God calls Joshua, the scene is much shorter and Joshua responds with a yes sir. That is what successful discipleship looks like and successful discipleship is vital no matter what era of time you live in. Unfortunately, when we turn the chapter on this era of Joshua, we see a discipleship failure. The generation after Joshua is the time of the Judges, which is full of compromise, defeat and sin because “there arose a generation after them that did not know the Lord or the work he had done for Israel” (Jud. 2:10).
Another important bridge we see is the obedience bridge. In Joshua we see the Lord tell him my presence will be with you as it was with Moses. The Lord tells Joshua to meditate on the law day and night and you will have success. The Lord gives Joshua a mission to complete. Joshua has the assurance of the Lord’s presence to accomplish the Lord’s mission with the power of the Lord’s word, all Joshua has to do is walk in faith and obey. Yet isn’t this the hardest thing to do in our lives? We too have the Lord’s presence, we too have a mission from the Lord, we too have the Lord’s word and just like Joshua we have to walk in faith and obey.
Joshua shines forth the Gospel bridge. In Joshua we learn of an outcast, gentile, prostitute woman who is saved by faith in Yahweh and saved from the wrath of God coming to Jericho. Rahab is not only saved by faith and saved from God’s wrath, she is grafted into the people of God and grafted into the family tree of Christ. Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound. In Joshua we also see our need for a better victory, a better leader, a better life. If you have read from Genesis through Joshua, we have read about some great leaders. We read of Joseph, Moses and Joshua and their great stories. But we also read in Genesis Joseph dies, in Deuteronomy Moses dies and at the end of the book of Joshua, we read of his death. All of this leaves us longing for one who will come and live. In Matthew, Mark, Luke and John we find one who is better in a man named Jesus. This Jesus dies in the Gospels, but finally we have one whose story ends not in death, but in life and life for all those who believe in Him
Until Next Time
Soli Deo Gloria