Tuesday, November 22, 2016
An outline of the Book of Joshua
Joshua 24:15 "If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
In our last post we considered an overview of the Book of Joshua. Joshua provides invaluable historical information concerning the journeys of the nation of Israel following Moses' death. We saw how in their crossing the Jordan River, they began possessing the land promised by God to their ancestors: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In addition to these considerations, we saw too how the New Testament applies Joshua as an illustration of the Christian life. Canaanland is a concrete picture of the Christian life with its attendant battles, defeats and triumphs. Today we will conclude this brief study with understand how the book of Joshua portrays Jesus Christ, followed by an outline and final applications.
Seeing Jesus in Joshua
Before we offer an outline of Joshua, the most important bridge of application is that of seeing Jesus Christ in Joshua.
Certainly, Joshua himself could function as a pictorial illustration or "type" of Jesus Christ. Both "Joshua" and "Jesus" are equivalent names, with "Jesus" representing a Greek version of the Hebrew name "Joshua". In the KJV of Hebrews 4:8, translators render it - "For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day." Most modern English translations render "Jesus" as "Joshua", as in the NASB - "For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that." Joshua himself did speak of the people having a "rest" of sorts (see Joshua 22:4). However, since it was the Spirit of Christ speaking through Joshua and in the composition of His book (see 1 Peter 1:11), the writer of Hebrews ties together the actions of Joshua foreshadowing the actions of Jesus. The Holman New Testament Commentary notes on this score:
"Joshua had given rest to Israel in his day (Josh. 23:1), but God had more than political security in mind in the use of the term rest. Joshua gave his followers temporal rest by leading them to defeat their enemies. God has provided spiritual rest for those who approach him through faith in Jesus Christ as is made clear in verses 9–10."
A suggested outline for Joshua
One of the methods to outline the book of Joshua is by noting key cities and events in their picturing of Jesus Christ and the Christian life. Below is an outline of Joshua in ten points:
1. Rest in Jesus typified by the crossing of the Jordan River. Joshua 1:1-4:14
2. Saying goodbye to the old life and putting on the new life: typified at Gilgal. Joshua 4:15-5:15
3. Fight the good fight of faith: typified in the battle of Jericho. Joshua 6
4. Getting a second chance through repentance: the failure and later victory at Ai. Joshua 7-8
5. Walk by faith, not by sight: lessons from the Gibeonites. Joshua 9:1-10:28
6. Progressing in one's Christian growth or sanctification: the Northern and Southern Campaigns. Joshua 10:29-12:22
7. Claiming the promised land of the Christian life: the twelve tribes settle in the land (with Caleb as an example in 14). Joshua 13:1-19:51
8. Refuge and rest in Christ: the cities of refuge set-up for those who committed involuntary manslaughter (especially 21:43-48). Joshua 20-21
9. United around one Lord, one faith: the dispute over the second altar. Joshua 22
10. Trust and obey, for there's no other way: Joshua's final instructions to the Israelites. Joshua 23-24.
We have considered the contents, connections and outline of the Book of Joshua to the Christian life. Joshua is invaluable for how he gives us the continuing story of the Hebrew people after the days of Moses. We find out that they were to possess the land promised to them by Yahweh. These historical events provide spiritual application for the Christian life in New Testament books like Hebrews.
Themes such as sanctification, spiritual victory and following Jesus are illustrated in the book of Joshua. No doubt, we have only scratched the surface in these posts. It is hoped that the reader will study the book of Joshua further. It is suggested that the reader lay open Hebrews 3-4 and read the book of Joshua in light of Jesus Christ and the Christian life.