The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Joshua 1

Jos 1:1

See Lesson, Josh--Samuel, typical history.

See Lesson, Josh, overview.

Joshua and Judges contrasted:

Spiritual vision
Earthly emphasis
Fidelity to the LORD
Apostasy from the LORD
Sense of unity
Sin judged
Sin lightly regarded

"This book sets forth in graphic movement, of campaign, conquests and subjugation, the three divisions of the early history of the nation as it inherits the Land. It records (a) Entering the Land: Jos 1-5. (b) Conquering the Land: Jos 6-12. (c) Occupying the Land: Jos 13-24. This great program is based on the divine commission to Joshua, set forth in Jos 1:1-9. The mourning, shock and sense of loss occasioned by the death of Moses is broken by the instructions now issued to his successor. Yahweh buries His workmen, but His work must continue. The people gathered at the border, and were told that 'within three days' they would move over the river (v 11). The three days are significant, pointing to the three days of the Lord's burial, after he had the victory over flesh on the stake at Golgotha, until he entered into the glory of immortality. All those truly in him are so assured of victory, and of redemption. There is a repetition of commitment (v 16), as the covenant of Sinai is again expressed as identifying the principle of divine appointment. Those who agree to the covenant are elevated; whilst the rebels are excluded (v 18). Thus the judgment of Israel is typical of the greater day of the Judgment at Sinai at the coming of the greater Joshua (Jesus)" (GEM).

Jos 1:6

BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS: How many times was Joshua given this exhortation? Perhaps 15 times: Num 13:20; Deu 1:38; 3:21,22,38; 31:7,8,23; Josh 1:6,7,9,18; 7:10; 8:1; 10:8 (note Josh 10:25!); Josh 11:6. And if Psa 91 was primarily a psalm for Joshua (note Psa 90 and also Exo 33:11), then Psa 91:5 makes a total of 16!

"Two incidents happened recently that seemed irrelevant. Both combined, however, to impress a command. A young father called for some reason, bringing his two small children for a ride. The boy, sweet toddler, was into everything -- poker, tongs and cupboards. Finally, he climbed on to a window-seat, fingered my Bible, leaving it open, got down, and raised a protest about having to go home.

"Next day we found a robin in the garden, half stunned, balancing on quivering legs. One side of its head was terribly injured and blinded, though the other bright eye regarded me with no fear. The bird ... allowed itself to be picked up, put in a basket, and brought indoors.

"What could be done? If healed in part and later released it would become prey to cat or hawk. But it must now be tended. In a few hours it pecked at food, flew to the window, and even managed to chirrup. What unconscious courage shone from the one bright eye as it clung to my finger! I dared not look at the other side. But the Father who knows when a sparrow falls would hear a prayer for a robin. I asked God just to bless it -- and He did. The brave little bird lay next morning with stiff legs pointing to the ceiling.

"I tidied the room. The Bible lay open as the toddler had left it, and there shone forth the words from Josh 1: 'Be strong, and of a good courage...'

"If a tiny bird, unconscious of its Creator, could show courage worthy of a human hero, then the courage that our Heavenly Father commands His children, who profess faith in Him, should be the source of their greatest consolation and trust. 'Be strong, and of a good courage... Have not I commanded thee?' Surely in the smallness of our own puny affairs we must obey that command.

"O Lord, help us to hold fast to this Thy command -- 'until the day break, and the shadows flee away' " (CM 43,44).

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