Joshua 1

The Argument-In this book the Holy Spirit sets most lively before us the accomplishment of God's promise, who as he promised by the mouth of Moses, that a prophet would be raised up to the people like him, whom he wills to obey, #De 18:15: so he shows himself true to his promise, as at all other times, and after the death of Moses his faithful servant, he raises up Joshua to be ruler and governor over his people, that they should neither be discouraged for lack of a captain, nor have reason to distrust God's promises later. So that Joshua might be confirmed in his calling, and the people also might have no opportunity to grudge, as though he were not approved by God: he is adorned with most excellent gifts and graces from God, both to govern the people with counsel, and to defend them with strength, that he lacks nothing which either belongs to a valiant captain, or a faithful minister. So he overcomes all difficulties, and brings them into the land of Canaan: which according to God's ordinance he divides among the people and appoints their borders: he established laws and ordinances, and put them in remembrance of God's revealed benefits, assuring them of his grace and favour if they obey God, and of his plagues and vengeance if they disobey him. This history represents Jesus Christ the true Joshua, who leads us into eternal happiness, signified to us by this land of Canaan. From the beginning of Genesis to the end of this book is 2567 years. For from Adam to the flood are 1656, from the flood to the departure of Abraham out of Chaldea 423, and from then to the death of Joseph 290. So that Genesis contains 2369, Exodus 140, the other three books of Moses 40, Joshua 27. So the whole makes 2576 years. (Geneva)

This chapter is divided into three parts:

Vv. 1-9, God replaces Moses with Joshua as leader of his people. He encourages Joshua, gives him his instructions and promises him victory

Vv. 10-18, Joshua accepts the Lord's commission, and immediately gets to the business at hand. The people recognize his authority.

Joshua is the Old Testament spelling for Jesus. Though Joshua is not presented as a type of Christ in the Old Testament, the likeness is to much to ignore.

Vv. 1-9

Vv. 1, 2.

Now after the death of Moses...

The Church shall never want a champion of Christ's own providing; but Moses shall revive in Joshua, and there shall be a succession of godly governors, till the headstone be laid with, "Grace, grace unto it." {#Zec 4:7} (Trapp)

No matter what condition the Church appears in, God will always have His man to lead and encourage. And that man will not be who it appears to be.

1) God's timing: James 4:10, 1 Peter 5:6, in due time, Joshua was exalted, but he did not exalt himself. It was God's timing. Ps. 75:6, the Lord exalts whomsoever he will. Promotion comes from above. The hand of the Lord lifted him up.

Most of the time, God's timing is not our timing. We must patiently wait upon the Lord.

It was now time for God's promise to be fulfilled, and to take the promised land.

It was in due time that Christ came, and he did not come as a leader, but as servant.

2) Joshua's place: He had been a willing and faithful workman under Moses.

We seem to feel that the Lord will use, exalt, someone apart from what they are and are doing. The Lord uses those who are already busy. As we do what we can, the Lord will use us for his glory.

Human nature desires to be the exception to even what Christ was, a servant exalted by the Heavenly Father.

He was faithful under the direction of another. Those who have learned to willingly take orders are the best fittest to rule.

Those who are best acquainted with the work are the best qualified for the work. (2 Tim. 3:10.)

3) The Lord takes notice of Moses':

Service. Moses served God. (Heb. 11:25, he chose Christ rather than self.) The highest honour any person can have is to be known as a servant of God. Even the Lord recognized Moses' service. How will folks remember us?

Death. And it is precious in his sight. (Ps. 116:15.)

Though Moses was a great man, he was not indispensable to God's plan. The Lord will use whatever instrument he wills to use. God's workmen will be removed, but his work will go on. Though his cause may seem "dead," we know that he will continue his cause to its victorious completion.

We must all die, and after this the judgment.

4) arise, and go... The Lord has a work to do, and he will find someone to do it. If we do not do our part, he will raise up someone else. Men pass away, but the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting.

Moses prepared the people for what Joshua was going to do. Galatians 3:24, 25.

And all this people. God spoke to all the people through Joshua.

5) Go over this Jordan. This was a trial of Joshua's faith. The Jordan was overflowed at this time, so this was the most unlikely time to cross, 3:15. The Lord ordered it, so Joshua had to believe that the Lord would work it out.

Vv. 3-5

every place... I have given you. Ps. 115:1, Titus 3:5, 6.

1) have I given you... The promise is restated. (Completely fulfilled, Josh 21:43-45, 1 Ki. 8:56.)

As I said unto Moses. In other words, the land was given on the terms given through Moses.

Every place... The land given to them, so it was their fault if they had problems taking it.

Exodus 23:29, 30. God did not promise to give them the land all at once, but a little at a time. To the short-sighted, this might have seemed contrary to his glory and their good. However, this kept them dependant upon him.

God nowhere promised to give us the victory over all our enemies at once, and we should not expect such a thing. Nor should we be discouraged when the victory is not obtained all at once. Born again is instantaneous, but spiritual growth is gradual, with many setbacks.

Some of our enemies may be overcome quickly, but others we must confront till we die.

Micah 7:11. The new boundaries prophesied of the new Israel are too large to be real boundaries. Those boundaries must, therefore, be the whole earth. See my notes in Micah 7:11 for Pusey's quote, as found in Barnes' notes. Paul tells us that promise to Abraham made him the heir of the world. Rom 4:13.

2) Moses (the law) and Joshua (grace) work together. Deuteronomy 5:27-29. The law is obviously the means of blessing, but the natural man is at war against the law, Romans 8:7. However, the new birth "converts" our attitude toward the law; we now delight in it, Romans 7:22, 25.

The relationship of the law and gospel:

A) Moses proceeded Joshua --- so God employs the Law to convince the sinner of his need of Christ. Rom 3:20.

B) The gospel of regeneration is not so we can live as we please, but so we can live to please him by doing what was given to Moses, Luke 1:73, 75. Ephesians 4:24.

C) Israel's success in Canaan was dependent upon their following Moses as mediated by Joshua. Our success in God's promises is dependent upon our following Moses as mediated by our Joshua, Christ Jesus.

3) Joshua is assured of the Lord's presence. He was not promised the same wisdom and grace Moses had, but he was promised the same God Moses had.

We will not do the same work as the fathers of old did in the name of the Lord, but we still have the same Lord they had.

Vv. 6-9.

This is one of the greatest promises in Scripture:

1) Encouragement. The Lord repeats his encouragement to Joshua, vv. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

Claiming the land promised by God would be a seven year battle, and Joshua would not find his encouragement from the people. He would have to find it from the Lord. Even Joshua needed a lot of encouragement from the word of the Lord.

God's promises are meant to encourage us in our duty. 1 Cor 15:58.

Note the great commission here. Go where I tell you to go, and do what I tell you to do, and I will be with you.

2) It was not Joshua's duty to make new laws, but to obey and apply the ones already "on the books."

Though Joshua was the man in authority, he was under a higher authority, the word of God. NO ONE IS TO BE SET ABOVE THE word of God. Joshua was not set on high so he could be high above the word of God; he still had to do all his duties.

Isaiah 8:20, those who speak not according to the word of God, are not of God.

3) Note why he was to meditate in the law. So he could do it. And he was to do all that is written. He could not chose which pleased him. He could not expect the people to do it if he did not do it.

4) It take strength and courage to do all that is required of us as God's people.

It takes real courage for the man in charge to confess that he is not in charge.

6) V. 8, who makes our way prosperous? We do by following the Lord's words.

Joshua was to be guided and controlled totally by God's written word. Joshua was the first man mentioned in history who was to meditate on and to obey God's written word. (Exo. 17:14) This book not these books.

Meditate, or think on these things, Philippians 4:8.

Meditation is a command of God. The purpose of meditation is to strengthen our obedience to Christ. (Jn. 14:15.)

7) V. 9, Have not I commanded thee. When we know we are in the way we have been commanded by the Lord, we can be strong.

Be strong and of good courage... We must not allow our own weaknesses discourage us. If God commanded us, he will enable us.

Note Galatians 5:6. Our faith is measured by our obedience to the word of God.

We should note that salvation sets off a very fierce battle between the flesh and the spirit.

The Christian life is a warfare from beginning to end. When victory is obtained in one area, seven more raise their ugly heads.
The Christian life calls for a stout heart. It is a lifelong battle, with many set backs.

We must not look at the enemies of defeat, and we will be defeated at times. We must look away to the one who said, I will not fail thee... Be not dismayed when the enemy gains an advantage over us, for our victory is assured in the Lord.

be not afraid, for God hath not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a strong mind. (2 Tim. 1:7.)


Christ took upon himself the form of a servant. Philippians 2:1-11.

Christ was made under the law that he might redeem those under the law, Galatians 4:1-7.

Christ was in all points tempted as we are, yet he was without sin; this equipped him for his work as our Great High Priest.

Joshua as a type of Christ. Christ did what the law of Moses could not do:

Acts 13:39, justify
Romans 8:3, sanctify

Hebrews continually tells us that Christ is much better than anything the Old covenant had to offer. Romans 4:13, the promise is enlarged in Christ.

Heb. 11:8, Abraham was given the land by faithful obedience. He obeyed, and went...

Heb 5:9, the salvation that Christ authors gladly and willingly obeys him. Salvation is a free gift, but the saved will obey him.

V. 5 is quoted in Hebrews 13:5, 6, (note change in tents: we and I) in terms of covetousness. Implied is that covetousness leaves the Lord behind. Note that the Bible knows no such thing as "dispensationalism." The teaching that says these promises were for the people of old and not for God's people today are efforts of Satan to rob us of our rightful portion in the God of Israel, Christ Jesus our Lord. (Acts 2:39.)

Vv. 10-18.

1) Joshua wasted not time. As soon as he knew the will of the Lord, he moved. Willingness moves quickly; delay is dangerous.

2) Joshua's authority to command came from the word of the Lord. And hence the people were responsible to obey him.

3) Joshua was unable to carry out the entire work by himself, so he had officers to help him. The deacons of the NT.

4) Prepare you... They were headed for a long, drawn-out warfare, and they needed to prepare if they expected victory.

God has prepared us with victuals, nourishment, but we must prepare, 2 Timothy 2:15.

Note that the promise of God's presence and victory is given, but it is presumption to try to claim those promises without observing to do, meditation in his word and prepare. They were to do their duties, and God would give the victory.

Note that the leader's message to God's people must be "Prepare yourselves for the warfare you are going to encounter."

Three days speaks of the resurrection of the Lord, showing that our preparation and victory is only in his death, burial and resurrection. (Rom. 6.)

5) Joshua did not take for granted these tribes would carry out the agreement. He reminds them of the word of the Lord; he called for their obedience to the Lord, not to himself. (Num. 32.)

6) Though these tribes already had their inheritance, they still had to fight. We cannot enter into our inheritance without fighting.

7) They had promised Moses, and they now renew the promise to Joshua. Their commitment to his leadership made his job much easier.

8) The people encouraged Joshua to stay the course God had established for him. They gave him the same encourage as the Lord gave. They quoted the word of God to him: only be strong and of a good courage.

Note: These men who encouraged Joshua were the children of the generation that had rebelled against Moses, and had to die in the wilderness. The only way they had known Joshua up to this point was as a servant of Moses. Joshua's faithful service for the 40 years had been obvious for all to see. Now when it is time for Joshua to take over, the people, based upon what they had observed in Joshua all their lifetime, were willing to place their welfare in his hands.

Does our faithfulness over the many years inspire others to follow our leadership when and if the time comes?

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