Joshua was a person used mightily by God. His name means ‘Yahweh saves’ or ‘Yahweh is salvation’ and the book of Joshua certainly shows God saving His people.
Joshua is a history book and is the first book after the Pentateuch (Genesis-Deuteronomy). Some are turned off by the idea of history, aren’t they? The idea of ‘why do we need to learn about all that stuff in the past? I’m a here-and-now kinda guy’ is common. It is, though, important to know where you’ve come from in order to fully understand where you’re going and how you’re going to get there.
Opinion is split as to the authorship of Joshua and there is also much disagreement as to the date of writing. But, scholarly arguments aside, what is Joshua all about and why does it matter to you and me today?
Back in Genesis 12 and 13, God made promises that His people would be a hugely blessed nation and live in their own land (12.2-3, 13.15, and 15.18-21). The book of Joshua, then, gives us the official account of how those promises came to pass. Patriarchal promises are fulfilled and the people inhabit the land. But what about you and me? Why should we walk through Joshua day by day with the expectancy that it is relevant for our lives now?
In writing to the Corinthians, Paul taught that what happened then is a preview and a picture of what will happen when Jesus returns (10.1-11). As Joshua was a leader of people, as Joshua was the saviour of the people in this place and at this time, Jesus is the truer and better Joshua who has the power to save all people at all times. Jesus brings God’s people into the promised land, Jesus empowers God’s people for victory, and Jesus intercedes for sinners to bring them into God’s appointed rest. Even the name of the main man, Joshua, when put into the language of the New Testament means ‘Jesus saves’.
We should take the time to walk through Joshua day by day because, ultimately, it will point us to Jesus.