Joshua 5 (7)
Read Joshua 5.
1. What is God’s covenant? Israel was renewed in God’s covenant with Abraham (Gen. 17) and with Moses (Ex. 12)? What does this suggest about the covenant?
2. In the Old Covenant, rituals and solemn ceremonies were very important to Israel. Do they have the same importance for us in the New Covenant? Should they?
Think about it.
God’s covenant provides the overarching framework and integrating thread of all of Scripture. In His covenant, God commits Himself to fulfill a raft of exceedingly great and precious promises for His people, whom He calls to be faithful and obedient to Him. From beginning to end in Scripture, God is unfolding His covenant and promises for His people.
Joshua was made to understand this, and he did not hesitate to lead the people of Israel into two solemn acts of covenant renewal. The circumcision of all the males reached back to God’s covenant with Abraham, while the Passover linked the people of Joshua’s day with Moses and his generation. These are not two covenants, but one. In every stage of the unfolding of God’s covenant, different elements are introduced to administer it, according to the circumstances of the people. Joshua showed his understanding of the continuity of God’s covenant by leading Israel into these two acts of obedience.
The ceasing of the manna indicated that Israel had entered into a new phase of the unfolding of God’s covenant. In this phase, the focus of God’s blessing would not be on a promised son (Isaac) or deliverance from Egypt, but on gaining the land of promise (cf. Deut. 28.1-14). The concluding vignette involving the Commander of the Lord’s host serves to confirm Joshua’s actions and leadership, and to prepare the way for more covenant fulfillment.
Beginning in Joshua 6, we will see how God unfolds His promises and blessings in this new phase of His covenant.
Meditate and discuss.
1. The focus of the Abrahamic covenant is the promises of God (Gen. 12.-13). The focus of the Mosaic covenant is on the Law of God (Ex. 20). What is the status of each of these in the New Covenant?
2. What would be the role of the promises and the Law in the conquest of Canaan? How would each of these facets of the divine covenant serve the people of Israel?
3. Verses 13-15 are a fitting conclusion, not only to Joshua 5 but to all that has happened thus far in the book of Joshua. Why?
“And in what manner is Jericho holy ground since it is retained by the enemies? This indicates, and not by accident, that the chief of the army of the power of the Lord sanctifies every place to which he comes, for Jericho itself was not a holy place. But because the chief of the army of God came there, the place is said to be holy.” Origen of Alexandria (185-254 AD)
Lord, as I prepare today for my day of claiming Your promises, I…
Pray Psalm 135.
Thank God for the power and faithfulness He has shown in keeping His covenant with Israel and with us. Commit yourself to follow and serve Him today.
Psalm 135 (St. Gertrude: Onward, Christian Soldiers)
Praise the Savior, praise Him, for His Name is good;
Sing, for it is pleasant, to our glorious God!
All whom He has chosen and redeemed by grace,
Praise His Name together, praise Him in this holy place!
Refrain v. 1
Praise the Name of Jesus, you who serve His Word!
Raise your voice and praise our good and glorious Lord!
Great and sovereign, Jesus rules o'er all above,
Doing as He pleases, sovereign in His love.
Clouds and seas obey Him, lightning, too, and rain;
He the winds brings forth in pow’r and sends them back again.
Egypt’s firstborn fell to God's redeeming pow’r;
Kings and nations crumbled in redemption's hour.
He the land of promise to His people gave;
Thus His Kingdom Jesus gives to all He's pleased to save.
Evermore Your Name, O Savior, shall endure!
Your renown throughout all ages is secure.
For You have compassion, vindicating all
Those who serve Your Name and on Your saving mercy call.
Vain the nations serve the idols of their hands;
Mouths and ears they have but cannot understand.
Every idol vain is, lacking life or breath;
All who serve them like them shall be lost to lasting death.
Bless the Lord you people, all who love the Lord!
Bless Him, you who trust His sovereign, holy Word!
Bless the Lord from Zion, Him Who in it dwells;
Praise Him! Lift your voices, all His grace and glory tell!
T. M. Moore
The seven lessons in this week’s study in the book of Joshua, and all previous weeks, are available as free downloads by clicking here.
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).