Editor’s Note: We continue our series of blogs for those who are reading the Bible with us cover-to-cover this year. Interspersed with our thoughts on our daily reading, we want to provide some tips about reading the Bible in general. Today we want to explore …

Israel Crosses Into The Promised Land (Joshua 1-5)

One of the keys to understanding any place you visit is to have a general, broad grasp on its history. When Melodee and I went to Hawaii, although we are went for romance and leisure, a general understanding of this tropical paradise was helpful.

And so it is with our journey through the Bible. On our second route through the Old Testament, we see how Israel rose to power and how it was erased from power. We also see the tender compassion of the God of the Universe in the return of a remnant of the nation of Israel to their homeland.

Major Old Testament Route No. 2:

Taking A Walk Through The History Of Israel

On this route we will explore approximately 1,000 years of the defining history of Israel. Our second route was written as a diary or journal of the actual travels of the people of God in the Old Testament.

It will include the glory days of David and Solomon and the disastrous days of Civil War and captivity.  It will end with a broken and weak remnant that is allowed to return to their conquered home in Israel. When we complete this route, we will have read the entire history of the Old Testament.

Joshua: The Invasion of the Land for Israel (about 25 years)

In Joshua we see the nation of Israel finally achieving the long-awaited victory over the inhabitants of the land promised to Abraham by God. In this book, we see the systematic war of conquest led by the new military leader, Joshua. It is his name that this book bears. As we read, it is easy to see the mistakes of the past have been learned, and avoided as much as possible. It is easier to understand the book if we divide it into four parts. Today we will look at the first part …

Israel Crosses Into The Promised Land (Joshua 1-5)

In these first chapters, we see immediate action being taken by Joshua. He refuses to let time pass. He has learned his lessons well and will not procrastinate when God has told him to go. He has also learned the most valuable leadership lesson: When in leadership, LEAD! Notice as you read…

  • How Joshua takes his commission seriously and acts quickly to fulfill God’s will. (Joshua 1.1-18)

In this section we see the commission of God upon Joshua given in verses 1:1-9; and Joshua’s action in verses 1:10-18.

  • How Joshua acts quickly to move the nation across the Jordan, and how his faith is met by the supernatural provision of God. (Joshua 2-4)

Joshua moves quickly by spying out his first obstacle, the fortified city of Jericho. (Chapter 2) He acts quickly to move the children of Israel across the Jordan in chapter 3, and God opens the flooded Jordan River, just as He did at the Red Sea 40 years earlier. Finally, we see God’s wisdom in placing the Memorial Stones Monument next to the Jordan River as a lasting reminder of the Supernatural crossing and the faithful fulfillment of God’s Word. (Chapter 4)

  • How Joshua prepares the nation spiritually by identifying the new generation of men with the covenant of Abraham through circumcision. (Joshua 2-4)

Circumcision: The surgical removal of the foreskin of the male sex organ. This action served as a sign of God’s Covenant relation with His people.

In the Bible’s first mention of circumcision, God instructed Abraham to circumcise every male child in his household, including servants, “in the flesh of your foreskins” <Gen. 17:11>. The custom was performed on the eighth day after birth <Gen. 17:12>. At this time a name was given to the son <Luke 1:59; 2:21>. In the early history of the Jewish people circumcision was performed by the father. But the surgical task was eventually taken over by a specialist.

Circumcision of the Jewish male was required as a visible, physical sign of the covenant between the Lord and His people. Any male not circumcised was to be “cut off from his people” <Gen. 17:14> and regarded as a covenant-breaker <Ex. 22:48>.

Although circumcision was required by the Mosaic law, the rite was neglected during the days when the people of Israel wandered in the wilderness. Perhaps this was a sign that the nation had broken their covenant with God through their disobedience. The rite was resumed when they entered the land of Canaan, with Joshua performing the ritual on the generation born in the wilderness. (Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright (C) 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

The nation is now across the great obstacle of the flooded Jordan River. Joshua acts so as to remove the final obstacle to victory – the spiritual problem. In this action of circumcision, Joshua rolls away the “reproach” of Israel. By this we understand that God sees that the nation is now willing to fulfill His words by obedience. To Him, this is the final condition for His help to His people.

Ps 119:127-132      (New International Version)

Because I love your commands more than gold, more than pure gold, and because I consider all your precepts right, I hate every wrong path.

Your statutes are wonderful; therefore I obey them. The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.

I open my mouth and pant, longing for your commands. Turn to me and have mercy on me, as you always do to those who love your name.

It is our hope that this background information helps a bit as you read on in the Bible. We will continue this series with our next installment on Monday when we talk about “Israel Takes the Fortified Stronghold of Jericho.”

For daily insights into the passage we are reading together each day, you can follow Dr. Smith on Twitter and on Facebook.

You can obtain more help from the FREE Bible reading schedule on our resource page. In His Image is a daily devotional that also follows our reading schedule and expresses the Biblical truth: “God Created You to Love You.” You can find this resource on the side bar of our website.

For Our Los Angeles County Friends!

Dr. Matthew Smith will be speaking today Sunday, March 13th in Long Beach and would like to invite you to attend. He will be speaking on the subject, “Falling in Love with Jesus!” There is no fee for this event and all are welcome. Here are the details:

March 13 – 10:45 am Worship Speaker @ University Baptist Church, 3434 Chatwin Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90808 – (562) 425-0912

Hope to see you there!