Joshua and the Big Message of the Bible

Joshua Big Message

The Legacy Reading Plan is designed to read through the Bible once a year, every year, for the rest of your life. This reading calendar is naturally segmented into seasons, and seasons into months. So at the beginning of each year you will know that during the winter your focus will be on Pentateuch and poetry, and in the spring historical books, summer the prophets, and during the fall the New Testament. Each season is further broken down into months; therefore, every January your goal is to read through Genesis and Exodus, and every December to read through the Synoptic Gospels and Acts.

There are times when you will naturally ten chapters at a time, and others when you’ll read just one or two. More importantly, however, you’re going to read through the Bible, just as you read through other literature. For example, in reading through the Song of Solomon, sometimes called the Song of Songs, it’s the kind of book that you will read in one sitting. It’s a great book in so many ways. It’s a love story written to celebrate God’s gift of love and sexual expression within the bounds of marriage. As such it’s a frank expression of one of the greatest gifts God has given human kind, albeit one which must be responsibly enjoyed within the bounds of marriage.

The Book of Joshua is the book we start in springtime. It’s an incredibly exhilarating book. (If you don’t have the Legacy Reading Plan, you can download it here. For instructions on how to use the Legacy Reading Plan, click here.)

You have in the Bible this picture that’s so poignant and profound. Adam falls into a life of perpetual sin, and he’s banished from Paradise. He’s relegated to restlessness and wanderings. Separated from intimacy and fellowship with his Creator. Then the very chapter that references the fall records the divine plan for restoration and fellowship (Gen. 3:15). That plan takes on definition with God’s promise to make Abram a great nation through which all the peoples on earth will be blessed (Gen. 12:1-3). Abraham’s call, therefore, is the divine antidote to Adam’s fall. God’s promise that Abraham’s children would inherit the promise land was but a preliminary step in a progressive plan through which Abram and the heirs of Abram would inherit a better country, a heavenly country. That plan comes into sharp focus when we see Moses leading Abram’s descendants out of their four-hundred-year bondage in Egypt. For forty years of wilderness wandering God tabernacle with His people and He prepared them for the land of promise. Like Abram, however, Moses only saw that promise from afar.

When you start to read the Book of Joshua you will see God’s plan taking on tangible reality, as Joshua leads the children of Israel into Palestine. The wanderings of Adam, Abraham, and Moses finally give way to rest on every side. In Joshua you will read these words: “Not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed” (Josh. 23:14, NIV).

As Adam had fallen in Paradise, Abram’s descendants would fall in Palestine. Thus, Joshua’s words in his final farewell take on ominous reality: “Just as every good promise of the Lord your God has come true, so the Lord will bring on you all the evil he has threatened, until he has destroyed you from this good land he has given you. If you violate the covenant of the Lord your God…you will quickly perish from the good land he has given you” (Josh. 23:15-16, NIV). Although the land promises reached their zenith under Solomon, the land eventually vomited out the children of the promise, just as it vomited out the Canaanites before them. During the Assyrian and the Babylonian exiles the wanderings experienced by Adam were again experienced by the descendants of Abram.

God’s promises to Abraham, of course, were far from exhausted because Palestine was but a preliminary phase in a patriarchal promise. God would make Abram not just the father of a nation, but Abram would become Abraham the father of many nations. Abram would be heir of the world. The climax of the promise would not be Palestine regained, but something far greater. It would be Paradise restored. As God had promised Abraham real estate so too He had promised him a royal seed. Joshua led the children into the regions of Palestine, but Jesus the royal seed of Abraham will one day lead His children into the restoration of Paradise.

The point here is simply to say as you read through Joshua remember you are on a continuing journey through the Bible, which is God’s unfolding plan of redemption. It starts with Paradise and the loss of Paradise and it ends with Paradise restored. A New Jerusalem, not the old Jerusalem, but a New Jerusalem that Paul says, “is free and she is our mother” (Gal. 4:26, NIV). Paradise lost becomes Paradise restored, and that is what each and every one who loves Jesus Christ had to look forward too.

This is just a little incentive to get in the Word of God and get the Word of God into you, and start seeing that this is a congruent picture of everything we long and hope for.

Paradise Lost Becomes Paradise Restored.

—Hank Hanegraaff

This blog was adapted from What’s the Big Message of the Old Testament?