Monday, February 13, 2017

Commentary On The Book Of Joshua--Obedience To God

        The historical text of Joshua, which is found in the Old Testament canon, is indeed one of the most fascinating writings a person could bother to read. Every event revealed throughout the sacred Scriptures presents us with a series of truths that can never be broken. God’s appointed people, Joshua and the citizens of Israel, overcame all of the challenges that they faced only when they obeyed Him. This involved trusting in the Lord for every aspect of life and obeying His precepts. We must follow the same moral pattern when we endure any difficult tasks. If we violate the commandments of the Lord, then we will certainly be punished. The most significant theme of the Book of Joshua is that turning to God will lead us through all challenges when viewed from an eternal perspective.

        Joshua and the Israelites only succeeded at defeating Jericho because they obeyed everything that God commanded them. The people had no choice but to obey what God commanded Joshua to enforce. “Anyone who rebels against your orders and does not obey all your commands is to be put to death. Only be strong and steadfast.” [Joshua 1:18] We as Christians can infer that we are to be strong and steadfast when teaching His Word to others. We are God’s army which has been commissioned to fight the spiritual battle against the dark forces of evil. In other words, we have been called to instruct the ignorant world about His ways of righteousness and wisdom. “I command you: be strong and steadfast! Do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD, your God, is with you wherever you go.” [Joshua 1:9] When we endure difficult tasks such as preaching the Gospel of Salvation to other people, we must heed to His command of always being strong and steadfast.

        Joshua was successful in defeating the enemies of the Lord’s nation because he obeyed His command to not have fear. He was victorious at the battle against Gibeon because he did not fear the enemy, which was in perfect accordance to the divine Creator’s plain instruction. “The LORD said to Joshua: Do not fear them, for I have delivered them into your power. Not one of them will be able to withstand you.” [Joshua 10:8] All readers of the book of Joshua can deduce that God will continuously be there for them and to not be afraid of the vicissitudes encountered in life. The Lord repeatedly told Joshua to not fear his foes, for he will overcome them. We are not to have fear of any difficulties in life because God has told us that He will always be there for us. Readers of the Book of Joshua can even use the main character as an example of courage. Since we fret and suffer, we must remember that God commanded His people to be strong in doing His will. He is our Rock. He is our Refuge and Redeemer.

        The Book of Joshua teaches us that we as believers are bound to fail spiritually apart from the grace and power of God. Joshua sent a couple thousand men to battle at Ai and they were demolished quickly. The Israelites lost the first battle to Ai because they acted treacherously with the ban God established. He asked the Lord how such an occasion was possible. The Israelites had violated the Covenant that He made with them. If we follow God’s commandments, then He is with us. If we dare to act contrary to His Will, then He will discipline us. “But just as every promise the LORD, your God, made to you has come true for you, so will He bring upon you every threat, even so far as to exterminate you from this good land which the LORD, your God, has given you.” [Joshua 23:15] The Jews were promised blessings if they obeyed God. We must trust in Him if we truly wish to maintain a positive outlook from an eternal perspective.

         It can even be said that Joshua himself was a type of Christ. Just as he enabled the Israelites to obtain the blessing of dwelling in the land of milk and honey through the conquest of the Canaanites, so Jesus Christ reconciles believers to the Father and guides them into the heavenly sanctuary [Hebrews 4:8-11].

        The Book of Joshua is indeed a powerful guide to life because it reminds us of the One who is infinitely superior to us and that there are consequences for those who disobey God. This inspired text keeps our thinking in line. It reminds about the sovereignty of God. All events that take place in the Bible are true. So we would do well to heed to what is found therein. The central theme to this book of the Old Testament is that our obedience pleases God. He rewards those who seek after His will. We should face the spiritual challenges of this life boldly by His grace. Christians are called to be persistent students of His Word. The Book of Joshua teaches us to be strong, tenacious, and courageous in serving the Lord our God.

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