Joshua 1-9 Analysis

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According to David Howard, “Joshua was written to provide an interpretive history of one slice of Israel’s life as a people.” This “slice of life” Old Testament narrative begins in Joshua 1:1-9 with an authoritative call to be strong, courageous and obedient. This passage serves to outline and prepare the reader for the body of work to follow. At the core, Joshua is a story of radical obedience to God and His law. Within the opening verses there is also a great promise for those who heed the Word of the Lord: success, prosperity and the peace and presence of God Himself. The charge placed upon Joshua and the encouragement that lies within the opening verses carry a similar meaning for believers today.


The story
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He constantly reassures them of His presence, encouraging them to remain firm in Him, and that He will never forsake them. This outpouring of His blessing, however, does not come without a cost. Obedience to God and His laws are essential for success and prosperity. Prosperity and success in this passage do not link directly to financial gains, but instead receiving the gift God intends. In God’s charge to Joshua, the specific point was made to pay careful attention to the law given to Moses, with emphasis placed on internalization and life application (Josh. 1:7-8). Provided that Joshua and the people remained “strong and courageous” to God in His law, He guaranteed His presence and blessing. Practical application of this passage can be extracted from the statements of encouragement God delivers to Joshua. If believers internalize and meditate on the law and precepts of God, and “do not turn from it to the right or to the left” (Josh. 1:7), there is a similar promise. The promise today rests on the satisfaction of the law in the person of Jesus Christ. If one would but accept Him as savior and Lord, not turning to the left or the right, and be strong and courageous in faith, the result would be an eternal rest. The promises made to Joshua carry with them a similar tone to the promise made by Christ to the Apostle Paul, “do not be afraid any longer…for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you” (Acts 18:9b-10a), and to His disciples, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age,” (Matt. 28:20b). It is a great comfort to know that our God is with the believer wherever he or she may go, just as it was a great comfort for Joshua to know that God was with

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