As a church we are reading through the Bible and tomorrow we begin the book of Joshua, but more importantly, we are entering into the Historical Books of the Bible.
For some of us this will be the first time we read Joshua, and for others, this may be your tenth time! Let us remember that we need to approach the Bible as students. We are not here to teach God something, but rather, He has given us the Holy Spirit to teach us about Him. We learn so that we may worship Him. We learn so that we may teach others about Him. We learn so that we may be sanctified and transformed more into the likeness of Jesus Christ. So approach the Bible with humble and expectant hearts – God will show up and He will do something awesome.
We are about to hit a part of the Bible that includes 1,000 years of Israel’s history. We are going to spend the next nine months traveling with God’s Chosen People as they enter the Promised Land of Canaan, struggle with Judges and Kings, have the land divided into two kingdoms – Israel and Judah, lose these kingdoms and then placed into exile, and then ultimately, return from Exile (Judah, specifically). There are many ups and downs.
Some emotions that you may experience might include delight, anger, confusion, annoyance, pride, relief, hope, etc. We are reading about humans, after all. Yet, they are not alone. God is with them. God’s sovereignty and faithfulness is seen throughout these books.
When we read Scripture we are to look for the main story, which is God’s story. He’s the true hero. We may get swept up in the fascinating characters of Joshua, King Solomon, King David, Esther, Samuel, and Ruth, but we must not forget that the true story is God’s. We have this text because He chose to reveal himself to us (how amazing is that?) and He is working out His Redemption Promise through the people of Israel. Look for Jesus, friends. He’s in these stories too.
So what is Joshua about? What are we getting into?
The Book of Joshua is the continuation of God’s redemptive plan. The first part of the plan was bringing Israel out of slavery through the leadership of Moses. The second part is bringing Israel into the Promised Land of Canaan through the leadership of Joshua, the book’s namesake.
We are going to see God as the divine Warrior fulfilling His promises that He made to Abraham. We are going to see Israel abide in God’s strength and courage and follow His instruction on various missions as they take the land for their own. We are going to see the unity of God’s people and the necessity of remaining holy and worshipping God alone.
Ultimately, Israel was able to cross the river Jordan into the land, take the land, divide the land, and serve the Lord in the land, under the leadership of Joshua who followed after God.
We invite you to join us as we read the Historical Books as a church. If you attend service, there will be a reading bookmark for you to pick up at the welcome table. Until then, you are welcome to access the reading plan via this spreadsheet (not as nice looking).
If you want to dive in deeper or have questions, contact me (Tawny@RealChicago.com) and I can offer resources and/or a nerdy conversation.