Read: Joshua 15:13-19; 18:1-10; 20
Joshua 15—The borders and cities of Judah.
Joshua 16—The borders of Ephraim.
Joshua 17—The borders of Manasseh; they are unwilling to drive out the Canaanites to have more territory.
Joshua 18—Joshua commands the rest of the land to be divided; the borders of Benjamin.
- While traveling the Ark was surrounded by Israel’s tribes, but now three of each were settled, v. 1
- “Here [at Shiloh] the ark continued about 300 years, till the sins of Eli’s house forfeited the ark, lost it and ruined Shiloh, and its ruins were long after made use of as warnings to Jerusalem” (Matthew Henry), v. 1
- The status quo is easy to continue in, even with God’s promises and provision
- “Many are diverted from real duties, and debarred from real comforts, by seeming difficulties” (Matthew Henry), v. 3
- “What we have in the world we must acknowledge God’s property in, and dispose of it as before him, with justice, and charity, and dependence upon Providence” (Matthew Henry), v. 6
- “When we are in the way of our duty we are under the special protection of the Almighty” (Matthew Henry), vv. 8–9
Joshua 19—The borders of the tribes of Simeon, Zebulun, Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, and Dan.
Joshua 20—Six cities of refuge are established to provide protection and ensure justice.
- God provides for His people’s every need
Caleb by faith asks for and is granted the hill country.
- Caleb’s report after spying out the land sprung from the conviction that God’s promise was true, v. 7
- Moses’ assessment of Caleb (v. 9) testified that Caleb conformed his life to God’s will for God’s glory
- When you follow God fully when you’re young you will have and enjoy the testimony of such when you’re old
- Faithfulness stands out when few are faithful, v. 8
- God keeps us alive by His power and His provision, v. 10
- The longer you live the more aware you should be of God’s goodness, care, and patience, v. 10
- A life protected by God’s providence should be devoted to His praise, v. 10
- As others die, thank God for life and be committed to obedience
- Caleb chose what was most difficult because he believed in God’s promises, v. 12
- The anticipation of success is founded on God’s favor and presence, v. 12
- Depend on and trust in God’s promises and presence, not self, strength, or human support
- “Those that live by faith value that which is given by promise far above that which is given by providence only” (Matthew Henry)
The land East of the Jordan is divided among the two and a half tribes.
- Even the strongest must yield to the infirmities of old age
- We must not expect the older generation to be able to serve God as they once did. The next generation must pick up the sword.
- Everyone—especially old people—must determine to quickly do what must be done before death keeps them from doing so
- God will do His work no matter what happens to us
- God’s sure promises should move God’s people to zealous effort
- The land was to be divided by God’s will via the lot, which prevented strife (Prov 18:18), not by Joshua, as accusations of favoritism could be made.
- “The world must be governed, not by force, but right, by the law of equity, not of arms” (Matthew Henry)
- Written records and documents are essential for remembrance, protection, and prevention
List of kings defeated by Israel (this list would encourage and remind Israel of what God did and is evidence of a faith-driven life).
- This account shows God fulfills His Word
- This account shows how fruitful the country was as it supported so many different kingdoms
- This shows God’s goodness to Israel by giving victory over the kings and possession of the territory
Israel conquers numerous cities in Southern Palestine through the Lord’s help.
- Those whom God has marked for destruction cannot escape His judgment v.8
- God promised victory and Joshua hastened to battle
- God’s promises do not encourage sloth but zeal and diligence
- Those who worship creation rather than the Creator were judged by such
- Those who make God their enemy are sure to perish
- Though Joshua marched all night and fought all day, he prayed for the opportunity to serve God more, Isa 40:31; 1 Cor 15:58
- “Israel did what they could, and yet God did all” (Matthew Henry)
- God moves hearts to pray for what He gives, vv. 12–14
- God works through prayer, vv. 12–14
- God hears our prayers when they are governed by His Word
- Our prayers show our faith in God’s almighty power, sovereignty, and grace
- “The same God that rules in heaven above rules at the same time on this earth” (Matthew Henry)
- All creation is subject to God’s commands; we must therefore flee idolatry
- Those who think they can hide from God’s judgment deceive themselves and bring about God’s judgment, v. 17
- Don’t celebrate a victory while the battle still continues, vv. 18–19
- Wherever you go to flee from God you will always be disappointed, v. 27
- Someday God will make all His enemies His footstool (Ps 110:1) and put everything under Him (Heb 2:8)
- When sinners try to thwart God’s justice they succeed only in bringing it upon themselves, v. 33
- A great amount of work may be done in a little time if we will be busy to take full advantage of opportunities, vv. 29–43
- If God is for us, who can be against us? V. 42
Israel conquers numerous cities in Northern Palestine through the Lord.
- Numbers never guarantee success, vv. 1–5
- Disobedience nullifies God’s command, v. 15
- Though Joshua was a great commander he was praised for his obedience to God, v. 15
- Hardness of heart is the ruin of sinners, v. 20
- Those who are secure in themselves and who do not heed God’s warnings are already marked for God’s judgment, v. 20
- “Giants are dwarfs to Omnipotence,” vv. 21–22 (Matthew Henry)
- Israel’s peace was not with the Canaanites but from them, v. 23
The Gibeonites trick Israel into thinking they are from far away and Israel makes a covenant with them.
- One will always be deceived if he never consults with God, v. 14
- Failure to consult with God always brings failure, v. 14
- Never be pressured by king or crowd to sin against God and go against your conscience, v. 18
Here Israel conquers Ai, builds an altar at Mount Ebal, and reads the blessings and the curses of the Mosaic Law.
- Problems and sin within the church, family, or soul can cause greater problems than problems and sin from outside such, v. 1
- When you stay away from what God forbids you will enjoy what God provides, v. 2
- Self-denial never means deprivation, v. 2
- “Treacherous Israelites are to be dreaded more than malicious Canaanites” (Matthew Henry)
- Love of ease and comfort does not help one fight the Lord’s battles
- God’s enemies are blinded by their rage and hatred of Him
- Prosperity hardens the fool and brings his destruction, vv. 6, 14–17
- The triumph of the wicked is short
- Those without God will always be ruined
- God’s provisions must be enjoyed with orderliness, not greedily consumed, v. 27 (cf. 1 Cor 14:33, 40)
- Obedience to God must not be delayed until our business or comfort in this world is established
- God’s written Word is His grace and mercy to men
- It is good and right to make God’s Word readable and accessible to all men
- The clear and plain ministry of the whole counsel of God is a blessing to all
- Everyone—regardless of age, gender, or status—should hear God’s Word
- “The way to prosper in all that we put our hand to is to take God along with us, and in all our ways to acknowledge him by prayer, praise, and dependence” (Matthew Henry)
- “Man’s device can add no beauty to God’s institutions” (Matthew Henry)
In this chapter, Israel is defeated at Ai because Achan took things under the ban from Jericho; Achan and his entire family are stoned and their possessions burned.
- Love of the world is a difficult root to remove
- It is easy to promise yourself secrecy and impunity
- Though none may see secret sins, God does and will bring such to light, v. 1
- “True Israelites tremble when God is angry” (Matthew Henry)
- “Nothing is more grievous to a gracious soul than dishonor done to God’s name” (Matthew Henry)
- If one does not now repent and forsake sin that separates the sinner from God it will eternally separate them
- Learning from others’ sin can help our sanctification
- We must continually ask God and work with Him to examine our lives and carefully review our consciences for our own attempts to hide sin
- “Let not the best families think it strange if there be those found in them, and descending from them, that prove their grief and shame” (Matthew Henry)
- Sin injures God and His honor
- Sincere repentance is specific repentance
- One sin hardens the heart for other sins
- Sin demands a great investment yet yields a poor return, Matt 16:26
- Wandering eyes make weeping hearts, v. 21
- Kill the desire to sin before sin kills you, v. 21
- Those who think they can fool God fool only themselves
- Sinners bring trouble upon those around them and themselves, v. 25
- Public sin demands public repentance and when necessary public judgment, vv. 24–25
Here Jericho is conquered after Israel marches around it seven days and its wall falls. God instructs everything to be destroyed; Rahab and her family are saved.
- God as the sovereign Creator can raise up and tear down as He desires, v. 2
- The walls of Jericho fell by faith, not by force, v. 5
- “The strongest and highest walls cannot hold out against Omnipotence,” (Matthew Henry)
- God’s promised deliverances must be expected in His way and time, vv. 14–15
- Nothing worthy is ever lost by perseveringly doing one’s duty from God, vv. 15–16
- The people’s shout was one of triumph, faith, and prayer, v. 20
- God promised them a land flowing with milk and honey, not a land abounding with silver and gold, vv. 18–21
- What Jericho trusted in for their defense God turned for their destruction, v. 20
- The God whom you serve in the advance of Christ’s name is the same God whom Joshua served in the destruction of Jericho
- It is foolish to invest in what God destroys, v. 26
In this chapter, Israel is circumcised; manna ceases; the Captain of the Lord meets Joshua.
- God is concerned for the honor of His people for His honor is wrapped up with them, v. 9
- Don’t expect extraordinary support when needs can be met from ordinary means, v. 12
- God’s gifts match our needs, vv. 10–12
- God’s encouragements increase proportionate to our difficulties, vv. 13–15
- God’s help and encouragement are found as we obey Him with diligence and sincerity, vv. 13–15
- What God by His Word requires of us He by His grace works in us