The Faith of Rahab
Verses 1-3 – Joshua sends two spies into the land. They were to see the military might of Jericho in order to know what they would be up against. They ended up at Rahab’s house because it was easy and assessable. Rahab’s house was built into the wall that surrounded Jericho. God directed the spies to Rahab’s, a known prostitute. God often uses people with simple faith to accomplish great purposes no matter what their past has been or how insignificant they may be to you or I. Rahab didn’t let who she was or what she had been, keep her from the new role God had for her.
Verses 4, 5 – Rahab lied in order to protect the spies. Is this alright, even under pressure? Rahab was not a Jew, so was she under any obligation to keep God’s law of not lying? Rahab was deceiving the enemy during wartime. She broke a lesser principle in order to uphold a higher truth-protecting God’s people. God doesn’t demand that our judgment be perfect in all situations, He simply ask us to put our trust in Him and to do our best. Rahab did that and was commended for her faith.
Verse 6 – Flax was harvested in the fields and piled high on the rooftops to dry. It was then made into yarn that was used to make linen cloth. Flax grows to a height of three or four feet. Stacked on the roof it made a great place for the spies to hide.
Verse 11 – Rahab recognized who Israel’s God was. Many of the Israelite’s didn’t. Jericho had heard of the Israelite’s Mighty God and were terrified. Do you know how big our God is?
Verse 15 – In Joshua’s day, it was common to build houses on city walls. Rahab may have lived in such a house with a window that looked out the outside wall.
Verses 17-20 – The scarlet cord is symbolic of the Passover and its placement of blood on the door frames of the house in which the family was preserved from death.
God commissions Joshua
Verses 1-5 – Joshua succeeded Moses as Israel’s leader. Because Joshua had assisted Moses for many years, he was well able and prepared to take over leadership of the nation. Joshua’s new job consisted of leading more than two million people into a strange new land and conquering it. Just as God was with Joshua, He is with us as we face our new challenges in life. Every day we can face situations temptations, or difficult people. We may not conquer any nations but God says He will never leave us. By asking God to help us we can overcome many of life’s challenges.
Verses 6-8 – God tells Joshua to be of good courage, there is nothing to fear when He is in charge. The key to prosperity is written here; (1) be courageous in all you do; and (2) meditate on God’s words. As believers, success won’t always look the same as the world’s success. If you will know and understand, what God has written on your heart, your decisions will be much easier. Faith comes by hearing and hearing and hearing the word of God. Meditating will bring clarity and understanding.
Verses 12-15 – In the previous year the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half-tribe of Manasseh had asked Moses if they could stay east of the Promised Land. They were allowed to have that land on one condition-that when it was time to conquer the Promise Land, they would go with their fellow tribesmen. Now it was time to fulfill that agreement.
Joshua is accepted by Israel
Verse 16 – God had spoken directly to Joshua and gave Him His plan of conquering the Promise Land. All the Israelite’s agreed to follow everything Joshua told them to do .Sometimes with different decisions it’s not always that easy to know what God wants us to do. Do we give up or do we fight for what we believe is right? You can rest assured in this; if where you are going in your decision is not part of God’s plan for you, doors will shut. No matter what you or anyone else does, they will not open again. God will and does let you know which way to go, in His timing.
Through three major military campaigns involving more than thirty enemy armies, the people of Israel learn a crucial lesson under Joshua’s leadership: Victory comes through faith in God and obedience to His “Word,” rather than through military might or numerical superiority.
Joshua’s original name is “Hoshea,” “Salvation” (Numbers 13:8); but Moses evidently changes it to “Yehoshua (Numbers 13:16), “Yahweh is Salvation.” His name is symbolic of the fact that although he is the leader of the Israel nation during conquest, the Lord is the conqueror.
Joshua himself makes a clear statement in 24:26 about who wrote this book – “Then Joshua wrote these words in the Book of the Law of God.” The Book of Joshua was written soon after the events occurred: Rahab was still alive (6:25). Some scholars say the author is unknown.
Joshua, born a slave in Egypt, becomes a conqueror in Canaan. He serves as personal attendant to Moses, as one of the 12 spies, and as Moses successor. His outstanding qualities are obedience, faith, courage, and dedication to God and His Word.
The setting of the first five chapters begins east of the Jordan as Joshua replaces Moses, crosses the Jordan on dry land, and finally prepares for war west of the Jordan.
After listing those areas yet to be conquered (13:1-7), Joshua undertakes the task of dividing the Promise Land to all the tribes.
The Book of Joshua provides the means by which God fulfilled His part of the covenant. God gave them victories, but each victory required a step of faith. God’s provision for the people as their leader and guide, bore witness to later generations of the divinely willed leadership for Israel, and His gracious gift of the land showed how the people’s faithful fulfillment of the covenant could result in abundant blessing.
Moses Views the Promise Land
I’ve read this chapter many times and it always hits me the same way. If you have taken your time to get to know Moses, you will feel a great loss. I hated it for him that as he stood on Mount Nebo what he must have felt the sadness and remorse. To see what God had promised but yet never got to walk there.
Moses was the only person who spoke face to face with God (Exodus 33:11; Numbers 12:8). Israel called him their greatest prophet.
God disciplined Moses by not letting him enter the Promised Land, but yet He still called Moses His friend.
We all mess up and we all disobey but don’t turn from God when you do. It is not a surprise to our heavenly Father. Stay in that loving relationship that only comes from Him. Sometimes discipline can sting, but the results are always worth it.
Moses courage and humility molded the Hebrew slaves into a nation. There were many great prophets and kings that would follow after Moses, but it would be a thousand years before one would appear that was greater than Moses – His name is JESUS!
Moses Blesses the Tribes
Verse 6 – Moses first wished for Reuben, the eldest son of Jacob, that he might live and not die though his people became few. This partially offsets Jacob’s curse against him because of Reuben’s sin involving Jacob’s concubine (Genesis 49:4).
Verse 8 – Levi, the head of the priestly tribe was responsible for spiritual leadership. This included determining God’s will for them by casting the sacred lots of Urim and Thummim.
Verse 10 – Teaching the Lord’s ordinances and leading the Israelite’s in worship were also among the Levi priest privileges.
Verse 12 – Here Benjamin rests on the Lord’s shoulders much as a shepherd might carry his helpless lambs.
Verses 13-17 – Moses desire for Joseph (the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh) sons was primarily for an agricultural and military success.
Verses 20, 21 – The tribe of Gad received the best of the new land because they obeyed God by punishing Israel’s wicked enemies. We have to understand that discipline is important to character development.
Verse 24 – Asher’s location on the upper Mediterranean coast, surrounding hills, including Mount Carmel, yields vast quantities of olive oil, as is the case today.
To” dip the foot in olive oil” was a sign of prosperity and a luxurious lifestyle.
Verses 26-29 – Our God is our refuge, our only true security whom shields and protects those that are His. Repeatedly He told Israel they were His chosen and He would fight their enemies if only they would believe in the One True God.
The Song of Moses
Moses not only was a great prophet but also a song leader. Sometimes reciting something in a different form makes it easier to remember.
Verse 4 – The Rock describes the Lord both as a firm foundation upon which we can build trust for salvation and a companion who is able to lead us through the deserts of life.
Verse 6 – The description of the Lord as Father is rare in the Old Testament. This combination reminded Israel that He was the God of all creation but also the special Father of His people.
Verses 8, 9 – Israels’s special place in the redemptive program of the Lord are clear from the fact that when He gave the nations their inheritance and divided the human race, He did so with Israel in mind. Israel is the Lord’s chosen people.
Verses 10-14 – Moses described the Lord’s watch care over Israel as that of an eagle protecting her young one in the nest and teaching him to fly. God alone was capable of leading them to the Promised Land.
Verses 15-18 – Looking into the future, Moses saw a time when Israel would rebel against the Lord and break the covenant with Him. When they became fat, bloated, and gorged with all the blessing of the Land, they would start to attribute their prosperity to the foreign gods, abandoning the God who made them and the Rock of their salvation. By their idolatry, they would provoke God to jealousy. This would include their sacrifice to demons and gods they had not known.
Verses 19-21 – Once Israel had lapsed into idolatry described in verses 15-18, the Lord would begin to exert judgment. The New Testament makes clear that these inferior people are the Gentiles whom God would call to Himself through the gospel. Paul quoted this text to say it was God’s favor to the nations that would finally awaken Israel to their own disobedience impelling them to see Christ their promised Messiah (Romans 10:19-21).
Verse 22 – Sheol refers to the grave. Here it suggests that there is no place that the burning wrath of God cannot reach.
Verses 23-27 – The Lord declared that if not for His own reputation He would cut Israel to pieces and blot out the memory of them from mankind. To do this, however, would allow Israel’s enemy to take credit for Israel’s punishment and failure rather than attributing it to the Lord.
Verse 30 – Moses predicted a time when Israel’s sin would be so blatant that they would be delivered over to incredibly powerful armies.
Verse 31 – In contrast to the previous scenario, when the Lord fights for His people they are certain to prevail because the “rock” on which the pagans rely does not exist and therefore has no real power.
Verses 34, 35 – Judgment originates with God and is stored up until the proper time of its administration. Vengeance belongs to God. Only God knows all the facts and only He is absolutely just and righteous (Romans 12:19; Hebrews 10:30).
Verse 39 – The Lord alone is God, in all areas.
Verse 43 – When the Lord administers judgment to His adversaries. He will also avenge… His servants who have been abused.
Verses 46, 47 – Setting your heart on God’s Word is no small thing. The Israelite’s were to meditate on all that Moses had told them. We should do the same today. God’s Word is the very essence of life and is full of all the wisdom we will ever need.
Moses is ordered to Mount Nebo
Verses 48-52 – Moses knew he was about to die and would only get to look out at the Promise Land, never to walk on it. Moses had not shown respect and honor to God in front of the Israelite’s when he struck the rock. God had told him to speak to the Rock. Has your anger ever gotten you in trouble?
The Change in Leadership
Leaders are God’s surrogates and therefore are to be followed only if they are obedient to God.
Verses 1-3 – God had told Moses he would not cross over the Jordan, Joshua would go with God before Israel.
Verse 6 – Moses told the Israelites the same thing we as Christians need to believe today – there is no cause to fear or be afraid of where the Lord leads us, He goes before us and will never forsake us! (Never means never)
Verse 9 – The law was not only for those who heard it from Moses, but also for generations to come. It had to be written down and preserved.
Verses 10-13 – There was only one copy of this law, which was given to the priest to be read, out loud before the entire congregation every seven years. Teaching children and new believers the ways of God should be our top priority.
Verses 15, 16 – The Lord was very blunt in telling Moses his time to die was near. He and Joshua went to the tabernacle of meetings and there the Lord appeared in a cloud above the door. The Lord told them that Israel would “play the harlot” with foreign gods and forsake Him. The marriage/adultery metaphor describes the covenant relationship between the Lord and Israel (Ezekiel 23:37).
Verse 20 – Here is what comes to mind when I read this verse; I have known people who come to the Lord half heartedly and then when a crises strikes; they attend church more, pray more, and talk the talk of faith (so to speak), but when their prayer is answered they start to drift backwards to their old ways of thinking and doing things. There was no real change. That’s exactly what the Lord was talking about here; they moved into the land that God had promised, had plenty to eat; God prospered them all; got fat and sassy and forgot who gave it to them and began to worship idols . Remember this; you can’t start out with an enormous amount of trust and faith when a huge crises hits; this is a process of trusting God through the little things in life that will cause you to believe in His faithfulness for the big things.
Verse 26 – The stone tablets had already been placed inside the Ark of the Covenant. Now the book of law had to be beside the Ark, which represented the earthly dwelling place of the Lord.