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Thursday, June 13th, 2024
the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
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Bible Commentaries
Joshua 1

Wells of Living Water CommentaryWells of Living Water

Verses 1-9

Joshua and the Canaan Rest

Joshua 1:1-9


Joshua comes in as the complement to the work of Moses. Joshua stands as the type of the Lord Jesus; for "Grace and Truth came by Jesus Christ."

1. Typology is one of the great studies of the Bible. The Children of Israel in their exit from Egypt, by the way of the shed blood; in their baptism unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; in their eating of the manna, and in their drinking of the water from the flinty rock; in their wilderness journeys, and in their entering into Canaan were types given for our admonition upon whom the end of the ages is come.

2. The typology of Israel elucidated. We will not go into the type of Israel coming out of the land of Egypt. We want to note particularly the things which concern Israel and their Canaan rest.

(1) Their failure to enter in when first they came to Kadesh-barnea. Two years they had spent in covering the distance across the wilderness, until they came to the borders of Canaan. God gave command for them to enter in, but they rebelled and would not go up. With Canaan blessings just ahead of them they became afraid, and therefore back into the wilderness they went.

When Christ came the first time, He was heralded as King of the Jews. However, Israel rejected Him and delivered Him over to Pilate for crucifixion. Thus Israel once more lost the open door to rest and deliverance. Christ was crucified King of the Jews a rejected King.

(2) The bodies of the elders of Israel strewing the wilderness. Of all who came out of Egypt, by Moses, only two of the elders of the men of Israel entered in those two were Caleb and Joshua. What about the rest? Their bodies fell in the wilderness they missed their "rest." The third and fourth chapters give the warning, lest we also fall after the same example of unbelief. Read 1 Corinthians 10:1-33 .

3. The typology of Israel elucidated. What is the meaning of these things? They missed their Canaan, we are warned lest we miss our rest, Canaan was Israel's rest what is our rest, the rest that remaineth for the people of God, the rest that we are in danger of missing?

Canaan cannot be shown as a type of Heaven, for several reasons:

(1) Canaan was infested with "giants," and by seven nations antagonistic to Israel. There are no enemies, and no giants in Heaven to resist the saints from entering in.

(2) Canaan was entered by the fall of Jericho, its walled cities had to be thrown down. There are no walls around Heaven, which we must march about seven days, and which must fall before we can have access.

(3) In entering Canaan, the Israelites met defeat at Ai there will be no turning of our backs on the enemy as we enter Heaven.

Canaan can, however, be shown as a type of the Millennial rest that awaits the children of God.

The giants will infest the land the antichrist, and the false prophet, and the world ripened in sin under their reign will be overthrown and subdued at the coming of the Lord. The cities of the nations will fall. The saints will not have reached a state of never-failing sinlessness in the earth Kingdom of Christ As there were olives and pomegranates, the grapes of Eschol, milk and honey so will there be an earth of marvelous fruitfulness during the Millennium.


1. Joshua's exaltation came after the death of Moses. The death of Moses took from among men one of earth's greatest noblemen, and one of Gods greatest generals. Some may have thought that the loss caused by Moses' death was irreparable. Not so. God always finds other men to fill in the great gaps. Luthers, and Savanarolas, and Calvins, and Wesleys, and Spurgeons, and Moodys may come, and they may go, but God always has in preparation others to take their places.

2. Joshua's exaltation came from servant to master. Is it not always true, "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much"?

Joshua, as Moses' minister, had proved faithful. He had, as a servant, learned much by way of leadership. In each menial task he had proved himself faithful and true,

3. Joshua's exaltation had come as a befitting reward. The Lord is not forgetful of our labors of love and patience. God knew how Joshua had, forty years before, brought back a good report of the land; God knew that Joshua had not been cowed by the Anakim who infested the land of promise.

Let us stop and think. Shall we not go with Christ outside the camp? Shall we not share with Him in His reproach, and bear with Him the bane of a mocking world? Shall we not serve Him with faithful heart? If we do, He will surely exalt us in due season. "If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him."


1. A promise given. To Joshua God said, "There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life." The Lord was transferring to Joshua His power. Does not our Lord do the same toward us? Has He not said, "All power (authority) is given unto Me in Heaven and in earth. Go, * * and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world"?

2. A good courage urged. This may seem strange. Was not Joshua always of good courage? Was it not because of his courage and valor that he was now being commissioned as Israel's leader? When all the spies but two had returned a bad report to the people, Joshua, in the fire of his faith, had said, "We are abundantly able to go up and possess the land."

Joshua was about to step into a place of responsibility and under burdens such as he had never known.

God knew that Joshua might well have trembled before this new and added responsibility. Joshua had more than once seen Moses almost in despair. Joshua had heard Moses' plaintive cry to God, "I cannot bear this people alone." He had known of many a time when Moses, mighty man that he was, had well nigh slipped under the tremendous weight of a disobedient and rebellious people. Yes, Joshua the brave, and Joshua the valiant, needed just the encouragement that God was giving him.


1. The strong and stalwart need the blessings of the Book. We might have thought that Joshua could paddle his own canoe, and hoe his own row. Not so. Joshua could not afford to fail in building upon the inerrant Law of God, The "Word" was to be constantly in Joshua's mouth; it was to be ever the burden of his meditations. By day and by night he was to be saturated with the "Law."

2. The leader of the people needed himself to be guided by the Word. Joshua was to study the Word in order that he might observe to do according to all that was written therein.

God seemed to be telling Joshua that in doing the Word he would never be in danger of acting contrary to God's Word. God never says one thing in His Word, and another thing by His voice, or vision. Remember, if any speak contrary to the Word, there is no truth in them. Our constant cry should be Back to the Law and the Testimony.

3. Joshua was promised prosperity and success through obedience to the Law. God said, "Then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success." True success and prosperity as God reckons it, is that which is achieved alone by knowing and doing the Law. We need to learn this secret.

IV. CROSSING THE JORDAN (Joshua 3:15-17 )

1. The precedent to victory.

(1) An invincible faith. We read in the last verses of chapter two "They said unto Joshua, Truly the Lord hath delivered into our hands all of the land." Here was a faith that claimed the blessing before the blessing came. They took God's promise as a fact before the fact had been realized. This is the call of the New Testament, "What things soever ye desire, * * believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them."

(2) Lodging by the Jordan. They came to the Jordan, Joshua and all the people, and they lodged there. We need to pitch hard up against any proposition that we may have to face. Victory does not come by standing aloof and dreading our task. We must begin at once to undertake. We must move in the direction of our commanded task, as rapidly as we can.

(3) After three days. It was not immediately that they went over Jordan it was after three days. Of course our mind goes at once to Christ, three days and three nights in the tomb, and how, afterward, He came forth with the keys of death and of hell in His hands.

Three days stands, therefore, for death, burial and resurrection not that of Christ alone, but it stands for our union with Christ in it all.

2. The crossing of the Jordan.

(1) The Ark of the covenant leading the way. When we journey in victory, we must not start forward until the Lord, our God, steps into the way before us. If the Lord is not in the house they labor in vain that build it. If the Lord does not lead us, we go out to sure defeat.

(2) The priest went with the Ark. God still has chosen men, ordained of God, to direct and lead His flock. The saints should follow their leaders providing their leaders are following the Ark.

(3) They stood first with their feet in the Jordan. As they began their journey the priests, bearing the Ark, came to the brink of the Jordan, and stood there while Joshua spoke unto the people and magnified God. As the soles of their feet rested in the water, the Jordan stood up in a heap, and the people passed over against Jericho.

3. The memorial stones. In the midst of the Jordan, twelve stones were placed, and on the other side of the Jordan there were likewise twelve stones. These were placed there as a memorial unto the Children of Israel forever, for Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan in the place where the feet of the priests stood, and the people came up out of the Jordan and encamped in Gilgal; and, the twelve stones which they took out of the Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal.

Once more we see in marvelous picture the story of the Cross and of the resurrection, for the Lord said unto Joshua, "This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you." Even so was the. reproach of our sins rolled away at the Cross our Gilgal.

V. THE FALL OF JERICHO (Joshua 6:20 )

1. Jericho straitly shut up. Here is the picture of a city closed against the Children of God. It is illustrative of many a heart which has shut God out.

The story of Jericho is interesting in the extreme. When Joshua first came to the Jordan, he sent spies over to investigate. These spies entered into Jericho itself. They came into the house of Rahab and lodged there. The king of Jericho sent men to search out the spies, but Rahab first hid them upon the roof, mid the stalks of flax, and then let them down off the wall. This woman, who was a sinner, told the spies, "I know that the Lord hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us." She said, "We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt." A miracle of forty years' standing, had not yet lost its message.

2. The march about the walls. For seven days the Children of Israel marched around the walls of the city of Jericho. The angel of God's wrath moves slowly. God seemed to be saying to the men of Jericho, "Throw open your gates, and let Jehovah enter in."

The seventh day Israel marched around seven times. It must have been a wonderful sight. The seven priests, bearing the seven trumpets of rams' horns before the Ark; and the seventh day, the seven journeys around the city wall. The perfection of warning had been given. The day of grace was passed. Then it happened, that when a long blast was made with the trumpets, all the people shouted with a great shout, and the wall of the city fell down flat. Thus every man moved straight before him, and they took the city and utterly destroyed all that was in it.

This earth is hastening on in its sin to a state of wickedness rivaling that of Jericho; soon it must fall.

3. The salvation of Rahab. Rahab the harlot was saved alive because she received the spies, and because she threw out the scarlet cord. When the wrath of God finally falls, he who is under the Blood will find that he is not appointed unto wrath.

Rahab was as safe on the wall of the doomed city as though she had been safely housed in the camps of Israel. Her part of the wall did not fall, and it could not fall, because God's judgments cannot touch the one who shelters in the Rock of Ages.



Joshua proved God's clock, and in the moment that the clock struck he led Israel out "' There is a clock with which Providence keepeth time and pace, and God Himself getteth it.' So that everything happens with Divine punctuality. Israel came out of Egypt on the self-same night in which the redemption was appointed, and afterwards wandered in the wilderness till the hour had come when the iniquity of the Amorites was full. Our time is always come, for we are in selfish haste; but our Lord when on earth had His set times and knew how to wait for them. The great God is never before His time, and never too late. We may well admire the punctuality of Heaven. Our trials come in due season, and go at the apointed moment Our fretfulness will neither hasten nor delay the purpose of our God. We are in hot haste to set the world right, and to order all affairs: the Lord hath the leisure of conscious power and unerring wisdom, and it will be well for us to learn to wait. The clock will not strike till the hour; but when the instant cometh we shall hear the bell. My soul, trust thou in God, and wait patiently when He says, 'My time is not yet come.' "

Bibliographical Information
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Joshua 1". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lwc/joshua-1.html.
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