Joshua and Judges: Crossing the Jordan - Be Strong and Courageous. Jos 1:1-9.

Class Outline:

Title: Joshua and Judges: Crossing the Jordan - Be Strong and Courageous. JOS 1:1-9.   


Announcements opening prayer:



Israel remained in the plains of Moab for thirty days while they mourned for Moses. Meanwhile the peoples just over the Jordan to the west are growing more and more anxious as well as fearful.


Joshua is patiently waiting. As the great leader and man of God that he is, he won't make a step until he hears from the Lord, and he did.


The contents of the book of Joshua can be divided into two sections of nearly equal length.


1. The conquest of Canaan; chaps 1-12.

2. The division of it among the tribes of Israel; chaps 13-24.


It commences right after the death of Moses and closes with the death and burial of Joshua and his contemporary, Eleazar, the high priest.


It opens in 1:1-9 with the commission for Joshua to carry out the work in the stead of Moses - the promise of omnipotent help - and the command for Joshua to be faithful unto Jehovah (to be strong and courageous).


The book of Joshua is not intended merely as a continuation of the history of Israel from the death of Moses to the death of Joshua, still less as a description of the acts of Joshua only. The purpose of the book is rather to show how, after the death of Moses, the faithful covenant God fulfilled to the children of Israel, whom He had adopted as His people of possession through the mediation of His servant, the promise which He had made to the patriarchs; how the Canaanites were destroyed, and their land given to the tribes of Israel for an hereditary possession through the medium of Joshua, the servant of Moses, whom he had consecrated as leader of the people through the laying on of hands and by putting some of his honor upon him. As the servant of Moses treading in his footsteps, Joshua finished the work which Moses was not allowed to bring to a conclusion on account of his sin at the water of strife, viz., the planting and establishment of Israel in Canaan, the land of its inheritance, which the Lord had selected for His dwelling (Ex 15:17) and chosen as the nursery ground of His kingdom.


Promised Land - the nursery ground of His kingdom.


The kingdom begins here and it will be finished and fulfilled here. The intercalation of the church will be a spiritual kingdom amongst Gentile nations until Israel, as God's client nation, kingdom, returns.


The origin of the book of Joshua is involved in obscurity, as we can neither find out its author, nor determine with certainty the date of its composition.


Without boring you with all the details:


The conclusion becomes an extremely probable one, that the book was written not later than twenty or twenty-five years after the death of Joshua, in all probability by one of the elders who crossed the Jordan with Joshua, and had taken part in the conquest of Canaan (vid., ch.5:1,6), but who survived Joshua a considerable time (JOS 24:31; JDG 2:7). [Keil and Delitzsch]


Since we are not told specifically, it is not vital to know.


JOS 24:31

And Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua and all the days of the elders who survived Joshua, and had known all the deeds of the Lord which He had done for Israel.  


It is criticized that the destruction of the Canaanites cannot be reconciled with the love of God and the character of deity. Yet God is perfectly just in punishing as well as showing mercy when operating in His perfect justice.


Israel was not warranted in carrying on a war of extermination against the Canaanites simply because the land had been given them by God. The Canaanites violated the laws of God, their Creator, and both the covenant of Adam, namely that the seed of the woman would destroy Satan, and the covenant of Noah, namely to not eat blood and the mandate of capital punishment for murder, and they violated these through demon worship, begun at Babel, for centuries.


Whether the Jews were given this land or not, judgment was due the Canaanite.


Such criticisms come from those who do not believe that God has dominion over His own creation, as if those who have rejected God no longer are accountable to Him.


For example, David was given the kingdom because David was God's chosen king and Saul was put to death because he had rejected the Lord and sought a diviner for a solution. Saul's son Jonathan died with his father because he chose to remain affiliated with his father rather than God, which would have been to side with David. He suffered by association with his father. This is the age old conundrum for every believer who has unbelieving or unfaithful family members. Do they chose family over God, especially if the family has had a natural closeness?


The Israelites were given the land because they were chosen by God and that location was chosen by God to plant His kingdom.


The Israelites did not proceed from Egypt to Canaan of their own accord, or by their own power; they were brought out of the land of their bondage by the God of their fathers with a mighty arm, and led by Him through the wilderness into the promised land.


PSA 44:1 O God, we have heard with our ears, Our fathers have told us, The work that Thou didst in their days,

In the days of old.


PSA 44:2 Thou with Thine own hand didst drive out the nations;

Then Thou didst plant them;

Thou didst afflict the peoples,

Then Thou didst spread them abroad.


PSA 44:3 For by their own sword they did not possess the land;

And their own arm did not save them;

But Thy right hand, and Thine arm, and the light of Thy presence,

For Thou didst favor them.


JOS 1:1 Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' servant, saying,


Joshua has already been called, anointed, and presented to the people, yet even the bravest men who are prepared can stand still and hesitate when it's time to do the thing.


Although Joshua had already been called by the mouth of the Lord to be the successor of Moses in the task of leading the people into Canaan (NUM 27:15 ff.), and had not only been presented to the people in this capacity, but had been instituted in this office by the Lord, with the promise of His help (Deut 31:3-7 and 23), the word of the Lord came to him a second time after the death of Moses, with the command to enter upon the office to which he had been called, and with the promise that He would help him to fulfill its duties, as he had already helped His servant Moses. "Because even some of the bravest men, although fully prepared beforehand, either stand still or hesitate when the thing has to be done: this exhortation to Joshua, to gird himself at once for the expedition, was by no means superfluous; though his call was ratified again not only for his own sake, but in order that the people might not hesitate to follow him with their minds collected and calm, when they saw that he took no step without the guidance of God" (Calvin).


We all need reminders so that we don't get overly swamped with the details of life and we remember the real reason why we are here. Knowing your purpose puts the details of life in their proper perspective. It doesn't mean that you ignore them; it means that you don't get entangled in them while you fulfill them with the grace and power of God. Hence, we need to be constantly reminded of our purpose, graciously given to us by our Father.


Php 3:1

Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you.


2PE 1:12

Therefore, I shall always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you.


JOS 1:2 "Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel.


The perfect, "I have given," refers to the counsel of God as having been formed long before, and being now about to be carried into execution.


JOS 1:3 Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses.


JOS 1:4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun, will be your territory.


Joshua was unable to take all of this land. David came the closest. The true fulfillment of this will only come with the second coming of Christ.


Although we are called to do the works of God it is ultimately God that does them through us. While we do much there will still be things that we simply cannot do, no matter how hard we plow the field it will only grow thistles for us, but in these things God causes the growth and we can only witness, in awe, the power of God amongst us, and to praise Him for it, and thank Him every day for the other things that He gives us the power to do.


EPH 1:19

and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.


HEB 13:20-21

esus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight


This makes perfect sense. Only TLJC can accomplish the true fulfillment of His promises to us. Yet, we are blessed and privileged to participate in some of that work.


JOS 1:5 No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.


God gives the victory while they fight. We fight the good fight of faith, but the victory is the Lord's because, as with Moses and Joshua, "I will be with you."


In the church age we can confidently say that He is always with us and in us. This gives courage in the face of opposition and confidence that God will give the victory. He will never fail or forsake us. We put no trust in the flesh.


Php 3:3

for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh,


HEB 13:5-6

Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I will never [I will not, I will not] desert you, nor will I ever forsake you," so that we confidently say, "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid.

What shall man do to me?"


"Desert" is not the common Greek verb "to leave" but a rarer word meaning "to send back, relax, loses, or let sink." The Greek also has a double negative, which in English means a positive, but in Greek, it only serves to intensify the negative phrase, "I will not, I will not cease to uphold you." And then before the word "forsake" there is another negative. So then, before "forsake", which means to leave destitute, there are three negatives. "I will not, I will not, I will not let you down or leave you… ever!" Since this is the case, should we fear man or circumstance, be whatever they may be?


JOS 1:6 Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.


JOS 1:7 Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.