The book of Joshua is the sixth book in the order of the cannon of Sacred Scriptures as assembled in the English bible. It follows the five books of the Law of Moses, Genesis-Deuteronomy, and precedes the book of Judges. The book of Joshua enjoys various designations by different theologians and scholars.
The book of Joshua is viewed by some as a history book, the first of the books commonly known as the Historical Books. Some include the book of Ruth and give us twelve Historical books, and others consider eleven of the same books as Historical excluding Ruth. These are the books sandwiched between Deuteronomy and the book of Job, Joshua-Esther.
Still others, especially Jewish scholars and adherents, consider Joshua and the rest of the Historical books as the books of the first Prophets. That distinctly sets Joshua and the rest of the Historical books apart from the latter Prophets, Isaiah-Malachi commonly known as Major and Minor Prophets, so designated due to the length of the text of each book.
Such designations are helpful in facilitating technical considerations of useful academic endeavors. However, while such differences in designation do not affect the God-inspired content of the text, such variations might influence the perception of the truth unless one diligently and prayerfully looks to the Author for inspiration and godly understanding. If we approach Joshua merely as a book of Historical records, chances are we might overlook such remarkable admonitions as courage, obedience, heeding God's Word, and commitment. If we view it merely as a record of prophecy, we might fail to notice the history of how God fulfilled His plans regarding Israel and His covenant with Abraham. Therefore, we suggest that the book of Joshua is both Historical and prophetic.
Joshua was Moses' successor as Israel's second leader. He was groomed for leadership while serving Moses as his closest confidant and the captain of Israel's army. Joshua and Caleb were the only two survivors chosen by God to enter the land of Canaan out of the entire generation which was set free from bondage. The rest of the people died-off in the wilderness due to their disobedience and chronic rebellion.
Out of the twelve heads of the tribes who were sent to search out the land of their promised inheritance, Joshua and Caleb were the only two leaders who believed that God has given the land to Israel and were ready to take possession. The other ten were consumed by fear and terrorized Israel with a formidable description of the land and the mighty men residing in it. But Joshua trusted God and was ready to lead Israel to possess the land that God has promised to the children of Israel.
So Joshua succeeded Moses and led Israel into the land of Canaan, fighting Israel's wars and presiding over the allotment of the tribal homeland for the children of Israel. God was with Joshua as he executed His plan for His people and gave him the strength, wisdom, and success in bringing the children of Israel to their promised home. Joshua was chosen by God to be the front man in fulfilling God's promise to Abraham His servant.
Joshua was God's faithful servant as he presided over His people as the captain of the army, the judge of the people, the Prophet king of the nation, and the prophet among God's people. He was the voice of god to the children of Israel. The book bearing his name relates the record of Israel's conquest of the Land of Canaan, the process of allotment of homeland inheritance among the tribes, and its settlement as a nation. In its pages, we read God's direct instructions to Joshua and Joshua's responsive obedience to the Lord, setting an exemplary precedence on how to live for God and serve Him faithfully.
As noted in Deuteronomy 34, God showed Moses the entire region of the land He gave to Israel as inheritance. Moses laid his hands on Joshua and prayed for him that he would receive God's blessings, Power, and guidance to lead His people across Jordan.
God appointed Joshua, specified his assignment, instructed him to be strong and courageous, exhorted him to lean on His living Word, and directed him to proceed and possess the land. And Joshua faithfully completeed his assignment and exhorts God's people to choose God, be committed to Him, and serve Him exclusively without reservation.
In the end, the book of Joshua bears the record of God's fulfillment of His promises through a single dedicated man specifically appointed for the task. The book of Joshua teaches us about God's sovereign Authority and His faithfulness, and the believer's obedience, in a historical setting.
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