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044 Joshua and the Land of Canaan

…Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou and all this people, unto the land which I do give them, even to the children of Israel’ Joshua 1:2

Key Verse:

“But without faith it is impossible to please him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6)

(Joshua)

In our last lesson we concluded our study of the Pentateuch of Moses, the first five books in the Holy Scriptures. In the holy Pentateuch, we learned how sin entered the world and brought along with it a curse. However, we also saw how the LORD God, in His wonderful plan, promised to send into the world

a Savior

who would redeem the children of Adam from the curse which sin brought. To move forward with His plan to send the Savior into the world,

God called Abraham

to leave his father’s house and country and move to the faraway land of Canaan. God planned to make of Abraham a new nation through which the Redeemer would come. After Abraham arrived in the land of Canaan, God appeared to him again and promised him, saying, “The land of Canaan in which you are now a stranger, I am going to give it to your descendants, as a possession forever!” In this lesson we will see how God fulfilled what He promised Abraham long beforehand, and gave the land of Canaan to Abraham’s descendants, the Israelites. Canaan is the land that today is called

Israel.

In the last lesson, in the final chapter of Deuteronomy, we saw how Moses died on the mountain overlooking Canaan. After Moses died, Joshua, his assistant, became the new leader. He was appointed by God to replace Moses. We have seen Joshua several times already in our story. He was marked out as

one that believed all that God promised,

even when most of the Israelites did not believe. Joshua was one of the two spies who believed God when the Israelites first arrived at the border of the land of Canaan. The Israelites were ready to throw stones and kill him, simply because he encouraged them to believe the LORD and possess the land of Canaan. Today we will see that this same Joshua,

whom the Israelites rejected forty years earlier

was the very one whom God chose to be the leader who would take them into the land of Canaan!

The book of Joshua, which we are studying, is found in the Holy Scriptures, between the Pentateuch and the Psalms. The book of Joshua tells how God fulfilled what He had promised Abraham long ago when He said to him, 

“And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a sojourner, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession” (Gen. 17:8)

At this point in our chronological study, the Israelites did not yet have a country of their own.

They were still wandering in the desert.

Moreover the land of Canaan in which they were to live had many giants who were mighty warriors. However, the Almighty God planned to expel the inhabitants of Canaan and to destroy them because of their many disgusting sins, and give that rich land to the Israelites.

Now let us see how Joshua and the Israelites entered the land,

conquered it and possessed it.

In the first chapter, the Scripture says: (Joshua 1:1-11) “Now after the death of Moses, the servant of the Lord, it came to pass that the Lord spoke unto Joshua, the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, Moses, my servant, is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou and all this people, unto the land which I do give them, even to the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon,

that have I given unto you,

as I said unto Moses. 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 going down of the sun, shall be your border. 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. Be strong and of good courage; for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land which I swore unto their fathers to give them. 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 or to the left, that thou mayest prosper wherever thou goest. 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.

Have I not commanded thee?

Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee wherever thou goest. Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, Pass through the host and command the people, saying, Prepare food supplies; 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” After this, the Scriptures tell how Joshua sent two spies, saying to them, “Go, look over the land, especially Jericho.” The two spies went and investigated the city of Jericho and the tall, solid walls which surrounded the city. At night the two spies hid in Jericho, staying in the house of a prostitute named

Rahab.

However, some people of Jericho saw the Israeli spies enter the house of Rahab. They immediately informed the king, telling him, “Some of the Israelites are in the city to spy.” The king sent soldiers to the house of Rahab to arrest them, but

Rahab hid them on the roof.

After the soldiers left, Rahab called the spies, saying to them, “I know that the LORD, your God, is the true God. I know too that your God will deliver into your hands my city and all the land of Canaan. All the people of the land are greatly afraid of you, because they have heard how your God opened the Red Sea before you and how He has destroyed all your enemies. I believe that the LORD your God is the true God! Therefore, I ask you to swear to me that when you come and conquer our city, that you will protect me and my family, and deliver us from death!” The two spies answered, “When God delivers your city into our hands,

we will protect you and all those who are in the house with you.”

In chapter three, the Scriptures recount how the people of Israel needed to cross the Jordan River to enter the land of Canaan, but the river was deep and wide. How could a multitude of two or three million cross the wide river? Ah, that is easy to answer, because the LORD God Almighty who opened a path for them through the Red Sea had not changed!

God again opened a path for the Israelites, this time

through the Jordan River.

Thus, they passed through the midst of the waters on dry ground. All the Israelites crossed the river, arriving in front of the great city of Jericho. The people of Jericho had closed the gates of the city. No one could enter the city;

no one could leave.

In chapter five, the Scriptures tell us that, when Joshua was near Jericho, he lifted his head and saw a man with a drawn sword in his hand standing before him. Joshua asked him, “Are you our friend or our enemy?” He answered him, “I am

the commander of the army

of the LORD God!” Joshua fell face down to the ground. Then He who was called the commander of the army of God said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.”

Joshua did as he was told.

Friends, do you know who was talking with Joshua? It was the LORD Himself who was making a brief appearance! We have already seen how God appeared to Abraham as a man and spoke with him, and how He appeared to Moses in the flames of a fire in a bush. And now we see how God appeared to Joshua as a mighty commander holding a sword!

Thus, the LORD God told Joshua, “See,

I have given into thine hand Jericho,

and its king, and the mighty men of valour. And ye shall encompass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days. And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns; and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. And it shall come to pass that, when they make a long blast with the rams’ horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and

the wall of the city shall fall down flat,

and the people shall ascend, every man straight before him. (Josh. 6:2-5) Then the LORD finished speaking to Joshua and left.

Joshua immediately went to the Israelites and told them everything the LORD had commanded him. Then Joshua ordered them to take the ark (chest) of the covenant and march around the city once. But he told them, “Do not say a word until the day I give you the command to shout. Then you can shout.” After they had marched around the city one time, they went back to the camp and spent the night there. On the second day, they marched around the city once and returned to camp. This is what they did for the first six days.

But on the seventh day, at daybreak they arose and marched around the city seven times. After they had circled the city the seventh time, the priests sounded the trumpet blast. Then Joshua commanded the multitude, “Shout! for the LORD hath given you the city!” (Josh. 6:16)

When the Israelites heard the trumpet sound, they shouted a great shout, and

the walls around the city collapsed!

The men of Israel then entered the city, every man going straight in. Thus we see how Joshua and the Israelites conquered the first city in the land of Canaan. On that day all the people of Jericho died, except Rahab and her family, just as the two spies had promised her. The house of Rahab did not collapse, because she had turned from idols and placed her trust in the God of Israel.

Why were Joshua and the Israelites able to conquer that heavily fortified city and enter into the land which God had promised them? They conquered it because

they believed the Word of God.

God is with those who believe His Word. Why did Rahab not die with the people of Jericho when the city fell? She survived because she did not stop at merely being amazed by God’s power; she believed Him to the point of taking sides with the people of God. That is what the Scripture declares when it says: By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were encompassed about seven days.

By faith

the harlot, Rahab, perished not with them that believe not, when she had received the spies with peace … But without faith it is impossible to please him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:30,31,6)

We wish we could share with you more of the stories contained in the Book of Joshua, but time does not allow us to do so. In summary, you should know that this book describes in detail how God was with Joshua and the Israelites, and how He delivered to them the land of Canaan, city by city,

just as He had promised.

Thus, in chapter twenty-one, the Scripture says: “And the Lord gave unto Israel all the land … and the Lord gave them rest round about … the Lord delivered all their enemies into their hand” (Joshua 21:43,44)

Friends, did God fulfil what He had promised Abraham and his descendants long beforehand? Did God give the land of Canaan to the Israelites as He said He would?

Yes He did!

God is faithful (to keep His covenants)! Everything He promises, He will do, even if man thinks He is slow in doing so. The LORD God longed to be gracious to the children of Israel and give them the plentiful land of Canaan, but He was waiting for them to trust Him. As we saw, the Israelites wasted many years before they began to believe what God had promised them. Their parents did not inherit the blessings of the land of Canaan, because

they did not believe the promises of God.

How about you? Do you believe God? We are not asking you if you believe in the existence of God or in the oneness of God. The devil himself knows that God exists and that God is One! The question you must answer today is: Do you believe God Himself?

Do you love Him?

Do you trust the Word of God with all your heart? Do you know what God has reserved for those who believe Him? Do you possess the everlasting life and the Holy Spirit which God gives to every person who believes His Good News? Most of the children of Adam believe that God exists. Yet, sadly, those who know and believe the great and precious promises of God are few. Friend, God loves you so much, and wants to bless you beyond what you can even imagine, but

you must know His word, believe it and receive it!

Concerning this, the Holy Scripture declares: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”      (1 Cor. 2:9) “That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Heb. 6:12)

God bless you as you consider this exhortation from the Word of God: 

“That ye be not lazy, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Heb. 6:12)

We would invite you to answer the questions attached and send them together with any questions that you might have