I really liked this chapter in the story of God! If someone were to ask me, “What’s the book of Joshua about?” This is what I’d say!
It’s the story of Joshua, successor of Moses, leading the people of Israel to the land God promised them way back in the day.
The Israelites FINALLY-after all those years wandering around in the wilderness, and dying off-FINALLY get to enter the promise land. But they don’t waltz in to their new home sweet homes, no. There are already people living in this (BEAUTIFUL (ch.15!)) land, so there need to be quite a number of battles to conquer the land listed. And Joshua is the human instrument God uses to lead them.
God establishes how Joshua is just as much a leader as Moses was through Josh doing similar miracles (parting a sea sounds familiar-ch. 3) and having similar experiences (holy ground 5:15). The people trust him and follow him. He’s not perfect. Sometimes he acts before he thinks (Josh-I soooo get you) and when he makes decisions without consulting God first-they often go very wrong. Fortunately, though he is in charge over battle-which is a very difficult thing I imagine, he has his God to be the one to fight. God is the Divine Warrior, who is faithful to his people and matchless in power.
To the one who is uncomfortable with the war in this story, I say this: War is a part of life on this fallen world until the Lord returns. But know that with God, it has NEVER been about racial or ethnic concerns that a nation is blotted out-instead-it is always due to injustice and immorality. Sometimes, that even means striking his very own people! (Ex. 32., Num 25:9, 26:65).
Even in this book, God’s people are still constantly encouraged to know and obey the book of the law (1:8) and to do it with all their heart (24:14). I was definitely encouraged to obey, love, and cling to the Lord wholeheartedly through the book of Joshua.