I’m excited (well, excited is a relative term) to be starting a new book of the Bible. After 3 books that were basically just lists of laws with a few stories mingled in, I’m glad to be back to actual plot. Yay, plot!
Chapter 1- God tells Joshua to take the people and enter the promised land, where He will help him defeat the enemies. Joshua tells the people to start packing because they head out in 3 days. He also reminds the tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh that they promised to help the other tribes win the promised land before they settle in their land.
I’ll give you three guesses what the penalty is for those from the tribes of Reuben, Gad or Manasseh who decide not to help in the fight. Go on, guess.
I wish I had been keeping track of just how many times the Bible threatens to put people to death. I bet it would be an outrageous number.
Chapter 2- Joshua sends spies to Jericho. They meet Rahab the harlot who hides them from men who want to kill them in exchange for a promise to save her and her family when the Israelites destroy Jericho. They have her tie a red cord to her window so they will know who to save when the time comes.
I’d like to briefly remind you that back in Deuteronomy 20:16, God commanded the Israelites to kill every single person that lived in the promised land. So, I have to wonder if the spies who made this deal with Rahab did it deceitfully. Do they know they’re breaking God’s commandment? Are they making this promise to her without the intention of keeping it?
If memory serves me correctly, they do save Rahab. Yeah, I just google’d it- turns out she’s in the direct lineage of Jesus Christ himself! Why in the world would God command the Israelites to kill everyone, but then make the direct lineage of Jesus dependent upon them breaking his rule? Take about mixed messages.
Also if memory serves me correctly, Rahab generally gets remembered for being upright and protecting God’s people/plan. But it seems to me that she’s less interested in helping fulfill God’s plan than she is in just saving her own skin.
Chapter 3- Joshua has the Levites carry the ark of the covenant, and the people are to follow it at a respectful distance. This is how they will be guided to the promised land. When they get to the river Jordan, the ark bearers put their feet in the water, and the river stops flowing so the people can cross.
Man, Moses and the Red Sea get all the hype, but this is pretty miraculous too, no? I wonder why this story doesn’t get talked about more. This is the first time I remember hearing about it, and I went to church 3 times a week for 18 years. I know we talked about the Red Sea; why not this one?
Chapter 4- Joshua erects 12 stones in the river where the ark bearers stood, and also has one man from each tribe gather an additional stone to set up where they camped the following night. These stones are to serve as a reminder of the journey into the promised land and the dry crossing of the Jordan.
Verse 9, “Then Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests who bore the ark of the covenant stood; and they are there to this day.” Is that so? Skeptical Jessica is skeptical. Please, show them to me.