Joshua: Motivating the Nation

David used Joshua's story to rally the people of Israel.

Joshua: Introduction (4)

The LORD gave the word;
was the company of those who proclaimed it:
“Kings of armies flee, they flee,
And she who remains at home divides the spoil.
Though you lie down among the sheepfolds,

You will be like the wings of a dove covered with silver,
And her feathers with yellow gold.”
When the Almighty scattered kings in it,
It was 
white as snow in Zalmon. Psalm 68.11-14

Reflect and discuss.
1.  The greatest achievement of Israel in the Old Testament was building the temple of Solomon. Why was this so significant?

2.  Solomon built the temple, but his father, David, made the necessary preparations. Explain.

Think about it.
David was facing the greatest challenge of his life. He had resolved to build a house for God, a dwelling place where God would meet with His people and receive their worship.

But God prevented David from carrying out the project, commanding instead that Solomon build His temple (1 Chron. 28.1-6). David knew that Solomon was “young and inexperienced” (1 Chron. 22.5) and that the materials and laborers required for building the temple would be more than he would be able to muster or manage. David needed to rally the people to the project, and enlist them in the work, in giving of their possessions to make the materials and furnishings for the temple. 2 Chronicles 22-29 provide the details of all the preparations David did, and how all the tribes and families of Israel contributed to the work.

Which begs the question: How did David do that? How was he able to get people from every part of Israel to take part in providing the resources which would be necessary for building the glorious temple for which God had given him the plans in writing (1 Chron. 28.19)? How did he inspire the whole nation to rally to this great work?

I think he wrote a song – Psalm 68 – to project a vision of the temple and its impact as the dwelling place of God. Copies were perhaps distributed throughout the land and sung in synagogues from Dan to Beersheba. Psalm 68 ends with the temple – yet only in prospect – as the centerpiece of divine worship. The people of Israel brought their gifts to God for this great work (v. 18). The nations brought their gifts and offerings as well, following the people of Israel as they entered in procession to worship Him (vv. 24-32). The end result was the nations of the world gave honor and glory and praise to God, Who is even more excellent than His glorious dwelling place (v. 35; cf. 1 Kings 10).

And this psalm, which rallied the nation to the most ambitious and significant project of Israel’s history, was based on Joshua’s conquest of the nations of Canaan (cf. vv. 11-23). As God had vanquished the nations by military might under Joshua, now He would subdue them by glory and splendor in the temple Solomon would build. David cast a vision for this project, and rallied the people to contribute liberally to it, by giving them a song to sing, recalling the work of Joshua and the generation that served with him.

Meditate and discuss.
1.  What do you find inspiring about the story of the conquest of Canaan under Joshua? Do you think that might have inspired the people of David’s day? Why?

2.  Does music have the power to cast vision and motivate people to action? Can you give an example?

3.  The period of David and Solomon represents a further development of God’s covenant with His people, in which God promised a King to sit on the throne of David forever. David shows us that this new stage in the development of God’s covenant is a continuation of all its previous stages. Explain.

“As a man of blood, David was prevented from constructing it; he seems, at least, to have been occupied concerning the gathering of the material of the temple” Origen of Alexandria (185-254 AD)

Lord Jesus, You have commissioned us to build Your house by making disciples and…

Pray Psalm 68.24-35.

Praise God that He is building His Church even today, and rejoice in the vision of all nations flowing up to His house to worship and serve Him (cf. Mic. 4.1-8).

Psalm 68.26-35 (O Store Gud: How Great Thou Art)
Bless God in all His holy congregations, 
Even the Lord, the Fountainhead of grace; 
He calls His people forth from all the nations 
And gathers them before His glorious face. 
Sing to the Lord, O kingdoms of the earth! 
Ancient of Days – praise Him on high! 
Behold He speaks; His Word is going forth; 
Ancient of Days – praise Him on high!

To You, O God, are strength and exaltation, 
You fill the skies and dwell in holy awe! 
To us You give strength, pow’r and full salvation, 
Blessed be Your Name, our strong, majestic God! 

T. M. Moore

Where does the book of Joshua fit in the ongoing story of God’s covenant? Our workbook, God’s Covenant, can help you discover the place in God’s work of redemption not only of Joshua but of all the books of the Bible. God’s Covenant is a valuable resource to guide you in all your studies in God’s Word. To order your copy, click here.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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