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Bible Commentaries

Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
Joshua 1

 

 

Verses 1-18

Analysis and Annotations

I. THE ENTRANCE OF THE PEOPLE INTO CANAAN AND THE CONFLICTS

1. The Entrance Commanded and Success Promised

CHAPTER 1

1. The Lord speaks to Joshua (Joshua 1:1-9)

2. Joshua speaks to the people (Joshua 1:10-15)

3. The answer of the people (Joshua 1:16-18)

The little word “now” with which this book begins is in the Hebrew “and.” It links the book with Deuteronomy and the other books of the Pentateuch. It also shows that the previous books were in existence, for the mention of Moses, his death, and Joshua, the minister of Moses, presupposes that the reader knows all about them. But there is a stronger evidence in the eighth verse of the chapter, that the Pentateuch was then completely written. The term “This book of the law” applies to the five books written by Moses.

Joshua begins with the statement of Moses’ death and ends with the record of Joshua’s death. The book which follows, the book of judges, begins with the statement of Joshua’s death. Moses and Joshua are closely linked together. Both are beautiful types of the Lord Jesus Christ. Moses, the servant, is the type of Christ, the perfect servant of God. Joshua typifies Christ in and among His people in the power of His Spirit.

He leads His people victoriously into the promised possession. Moses’ death also typifies Christ. The people could not enter the land as long as this servant of God was living. After his death the land could be possessed. So after the death of Christ the heavenly inheritance is thrown open.

The Lord mentions once more the death of His servant. “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His Saints” (Psalms 116:15). After that the command to enter the land is given. The land promised to the seed of Abraham is God’s gift. “The land which I do give unto them.” They beheld that land across the river with its beautiful hills and mountains and its fertile valleys. The third verse contains a condition. “Every place that the sole of your feet shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.” They had to appropriate what God had given and as they appropriated it, they would possess and enjoy the land. If they made it their own by putting their feet upon the land, whether mountain or valley, it became theirs in reality. This required energy. As stated in our introduction, Canaan typifies the heavenly places mentioned in the Epistle to the Ephesians. We are blessed “in Christ” with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3). All is the gift of the grace of God. Unsearchable riches, far greater than that land, even in its widest dimensions, belong to us. The unsearchable riches of Christ are by the death of Christ put on our side. We must take possession in the energy of faith, as Israel had to plant their feet upon the territory and conquer it. If we are apprehended of Jesus Christ, we also must apprehend. “I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which I am also apprehended of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:12). Israel failed in the wilderness and Israel failed in the possession of the land. And greater still is our failure in not claiming in faith our possessions “in Christ”.

The words the Lord addressed to Joshua are extremely precious. “I will be with thee,” stands first. He was with Joshua and gave him the promise “There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life.” And this is true of us. He is with us, indwelling us; His Spirit is with us and His power on our side. God is for us; who can be against us? “I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” He never fails His people. Divine strength and power are on our side. In the midst of the conflict He will never forsake His people.

After these assuring and encouraging words come the exhortations to obedience. “Be strong and very courageous.” Notice the courage is linked with the law (the Word of God) and obedience to it, as well as meditation in it day and night. Joshua was put in dependence on the written Word. So are we. Spiritual growth and enjoyment are impossible apart from meditation in the Word and obedience to it. The Word and obedience to it, separates us, and keeps us separated. And we need courage to obey. It requires courage in an ungodly age, a blinded world with its eyeblinding god (Satan) “to observe to do according to all that is written.” It becomes more difficult as the present age draws to its close, to fight the good fight of faith, to appropriate in faith the spiritual blessings, to stand and withstand the wiles of the devil. But if we are obedient His strength will sustain us and give us victory. We constantly need the courage of faith, which looks to God and which is expressed by obedience to His Word. “God’s strength is employed in helping us in the paths of God’s will, not out of it. Then no matter where we go, what the difficulties are, how long the journey seems, He makes our way prosperous.”

Joshua addressed the officers of the people and especially the Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh. They had made their choice and had found rest on this side of Jordan. But they were not to be exempt from the approaching warfare; they are commanded to help their brethren by passing with them over Jordan. Then after their brethren had found rest, they were to return to their rest. They could not escape the conflict, though they had no reward in the land itself.

 


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Bibliography Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Joshua 1:4". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gab/joshua-1.html. 1913-1922.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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