At first glance Joshua 12 doesn’t seem to contain much for us, does it? In vv.1-6 we see a list of kings and peoples conquered on the east side of the Joran river, and in vv.7-24 a corresponding list for the west. It’s so easy to skim read this kind of chapter in the Bible and move on to something with more action in, isn’t it?
But, before you do, pause and think about how God’s people in this place and at this time would have read records like this. What we read as Joshua 12 is a list of victories, a compendium of the conquered. It’s a written record of how God has miraculously moved to provide for His people. It’s something they could point to and say “See, God loves us and has moved so evidently and powerfully to save us from danger and death”.
For you and for me, no, these names might not mean much, because now we would look to the accounts of the cross and the resurrection and say “See, God loves us and has moved so evidently and powerfully to save us from danger and death”.
We would look to the cross and the empty tomb and see victory, enemies conquered, and God’s will unfolding. In our being able to look back to both, Joshua 12 and the cross of Christ, we are in the privileged position of being able to see one foreshadowing the other and God’s master plan of redemption, of provision, and of protection for His people playing out. Don’t dismiss passages like Joshua 12 then, see them as a preview the ultimate victory of Jesus.