“I’m clueless how someone could get spiritual inspiration from The Book of Joshua since it’s all about blood and battles!” If that sounds familiar, you might be overlooking some of Joshua’s spiritual insights in this Old Testament gem which I’ve been recently discovering with a deeper reading.
First, Joshua is about claiming one’s inheritance from God, in this case the Israelites securing theirs. This bestowal goes back to Abraham when God tells the Patriarch: “For all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever (Gen. 13:15, NKJV).”
If you also have had a tough time, as I have, finding the inspirational message of Joshua, consider it a lesson in what is required to claim our spiritual inheritance. Does it require effort? Do you have to battle and destroy the demons—such as self-criticism, self-worth, self-doubt and all the other ‘self’ voices that would keep us from asserting claim to what God has already provided. Paul must have glimpsed this when he would centuries later write: “I (God) will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty (II Cor. 6:17, 18).”
There are marvelous insights in simply how the order of the story of Joshua and the Israelites unfolds. Here are some that opened up for me and I’d love to hear yours.
Step 1: Prepare. Over a fifth of the Book of Joshua is about the careful preparation to go into battle.
Step 2: Be alert and aware of what the danger signs are. In Joshua’s case, he sent spies into Jericho to assess their opponents.
Step 3: Be prepared for the unexpected. What a surprise that the individual who offered the spies the most protection was from the lowest level of society, a female and prostitute to boot! Rahab would both protect the men from her own king and be protected after the Israelites entered her city.
Step 4: Keep the Law squarely in front of you. The Israelites literally went through the enemy’s camp with the Ark of the Covenant before them, which contained the tablets of the Law—a great reminder to stay conscious of God’s law regardless of whatever is facing you.
There are more spiritual gems to glean as the chapters continue. Perhaps you and friends can form a Bible Study group and read the Book of Joshua together. As you discover additional insights, demand to see how they have contemporary application. We’re not just reading history but the Word of God and It is speaking to us continually.
Finally, although everyone else thought of Joshua as a great leader, he was very aware of who was really guiding his people. A heavenly figure shows up suddenly in chapter 5 and identifies himself as the Commander of the Lord’s heavenly army (see Josh. 6:13-15). Joshua fell immediately to his knees in awe and hears the same command made to Moses: “Take your sandals off your feet because the place where you are standing is holy (Josh. 6:15).”
The Book of Deuteronomy restates the covenant on which the Book of Joshua is built, and serves as an important reminder of what awaits each of us as we keep digging into the Scriptures:
But the Lord has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be His people, an inheritance, as you are this day (Deut. 4:20, NKJV).