Joshua Summary — | Sermons | Commentaries | Bible Study Resources (2023)


Spiritual Victory is the great theme of the Book of Joshua as God fulfills His covenant promise to lead Abraham’s descendants into possession of the promised land of Canaan despite tremendous obstacles and powerful enemies. The people under Joshua’s leadership needed to engage the enemy by trusting fully in the Lord and turning away from sin. The distribution of the conquered land reminds us of the spiritual rest that comes to God’s people as they enjoy the blessings of victory. This account stands in contrast to the Book of Numbers which highlighted the failure and the wandering in the wilderness of a people who did not inherit the blessing because of unbelief. Consecration is the essential preparation for spiritual conflict. Victory gained must still be maintained by an ongoing commitment of faith and obedience.


Claiming God’s promises for spiritual victory requires engaging and conquering the enemy by grace through faith.

Joshua 11:23 “So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the Lord had spoken to Moses, and Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. Thus the land had rest from war.

Joshua 21:43-45 “So the Lord gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it. And the Lord gave them rest on every side, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers, and not one of all their enemies stood before them; the Lord gave all their enemies into their hand. Not one of the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.”



A. (1:1-18) Commission to Go to War Transition from Moses to Joshua --

Claiming God’s Promises for Spiritual Victory Requires a Commitment to Courage and Obedience

1. (:1-9) The Commission of Joshua – “Be Strong and Courageous

2. (:10-18) The Charge to the People – “Be Strong and Courageous

B. (2:1-24) Avoiding the Grasshopper MentalityThe Mission of the Two Spies –

Spiritual Reconnaissance (SWOT Analysis) – God Assures His People of Victory by Exposing the Fear and Defeatist Attitude of Our Enemies

1. (:1-7) Providential Protection Makes Us Untouchables and Frustrates Our Enemies

2. (:8-11) Prophetic Insight Reveals the Defeatist State of the Enemy

3. (:12-21) Passover Type Deliverance (Redemption) Comes From a Simple Covenant Commitment

(:22-24) Conclusion: Spies Report Back to Joshua with Message of Assurance of Victory

C. (3:1-17) Avoiding the Victim MentalityCrossing the Jordan –

Stepping Out in Faith Seems Risky But is the Only Course of Action That Allows the Living God to Work on Our Behalf – 4 Initiatives in Stepping Out in Faith

1. (:1) Put It in Gear When the Time is Right --

Introduction – Faith Involves a Commitment to Act on God’s Promises and Wait upon God’s Timing

2. (:2-6) Pursue the Presence of God --

Faith Rallies around the Presence of God – Counting on His Blessing – Staying Focused on Him

3. (:7-13) Prove the Sufficiency of the Power of God --

Faith That is Willing to Take Great Risks Will See Dramatic Results

4. (:14-17) Persevere in Order to Fully Carry Out God’s Plan --

Stepping Out in Faith Requires the Perseverance to Fully Carry Out God’s Plan

D. (4:1-24) Avoiding the Bigshot MentalityCommemorating Spiritual Milestones --

Establishing Physical Memorials to Spiritual Milestones Reinforces the Reality of God’s Power in Our Lives and Enhances Our Worship

1. (:1-7) Communicating the Legacy of God’s Saving Power to the Next Generations –

Instructions for Establishing the Memorial

2. (:8-14) Exalting the Captain of the Lord’s Army – Who Leads His People Into

Victory in the Promised Land -- But Avoiding the Bigshot Mentality

3. (:15-18) Focusing Attention on the Ark of the Covenant as the Key to God’s Miraculous Power

4. (:19-24) Explaining the Significance of the Memorial

E. (5:1-15) First Things FirstStepping Out in Faith Requires Submission to the Sign of the Covenant –

Making Holiness and Worship Top Priority Prepare God’s People for Victory in Spiritual Warfare

(:1) Disheartened Enemies – The Testimony of God’s Awesome Power Reduces the Most Powerful of Enemies to Demoralized Defeatists

1. (:2-7) Making Holiness Top Priority (Demonstrated Here in Submission to Circumcision) Prepares God’s People for Victory in Spiritual Warfare

2. (:8-12) Making Worship Top Priority (Demonstrated Here in the Celebration of the Passover) Prepares God’s People for Victory in Spiritual Warfare

3. (:13-15) The Vision of the Commander-In-Chief Reinforces the Priority of Worship and Holiness


A. (6:1 – 8:35) Central Campaign

1. (6:1-27) Faith Celebrates Victory Before the Walls Even Fall

When Properly Prepped for Battle, God’s Army Vanquishes Its Foes by a Simple Victory Shout That Unleashes Supernatural Power and Lays Claim to God’s Promises

2. (7:1-26) Sin Snatches Defeat From the Jaws of Victory

The Momentum of Defeat Snowballs Until Renewed Consecration Deals with Sin in our Midst

3. (8:1-35) Regaining Lost Groundthe Spirit Succeeds Where the Flesh Failed

Successful Conquest of Ai – Our Merciful God Stands Ready to Lead Us into Victory (Where Previously We Have Failed) By Encouraging Us to Courage and Faith in Obeying His Battle Plan and Allowing Him to Bless Instead of Curse

B. (9:1 – 10:43) Southern Campaign

1. (9:1-27) Rash Commitments – Deception Takes Advantage of Our Limited Perception –

Spiritual Victory is Compromised When We Make Rash Commitments Apart from Seeking the Guidance of the Lord

2. (10:1-43) Routing the Enemy

C. (11:1-15) Northern Campaign -- Victory in Obedience to the Lord’s Commands

We can be Confident of Victory When We Obey God’s Commands and Execute His Gameplan

1. (:1-5) Massive Threat of the Northern Coalition

2. (:6-9) Major Victory in Accordance with God’s Promise

3. (:10-11) Mandated Destruction of Hazor’s King and City

4. (:12-15) Summary of Victorious Northern Campaign

D. (11:16 – 12:24) Summary of the Victorious Campaigns

1. (11:16-23) Summary Concerning the Conquered Land Areas

2. (12:1-24) Summary Concerning the Conquered Kings


A. (13:1-7) Joshua’s Final Instructions from the Lord in His Old Age –

Past Conquests No Excuse for Neglecting Future Goals – Specific Areas of Canaan Still Needed to be Conquered and Possessed

1. (:1) Old Age Marks a Transition But Not a Cessation of Service

2. (:2-5) Opportunities Abound for Consolidating Possession of the Promised Land

3. (:6-7) Obedience Must Mesh with God’s Sovereign Activity

B. (13:8-33) Earmarking Land for the Eastern Tribes –

God Was Faithful to Grant the Transjordanian Land to Reuben, Gad and Manasseh While Uniquely Blessing the Levites

1. (:8-14) General Survey of Transjordanian Lands

2. (:15-23) Towns Alloted to Reuben

3. (:24-28) Towns Alloted to Gad

4. (:29-31) Towns Alloted to the Half Tribe of Manasseh

(:32-33) Epilogue -- Summary

C. (14:1 – 19:51) Earmarking Land for the Western Tribes

1. (14:1-15) Distribution of Canaan Begins with Rewarding Caleb with the Hill Country of Hebron –

You Can Count on Promised Rewards for Faithful Service

2. (15:1-63) Territory of Judah – The Importance of Judah is Reflected in the Prominence Given to the Allotment of Her Territory

3. (16:1 – 17:18) Territory of Joseph: Ephraim and Manasseh --

Compromise and Complaining Never Advance God’s Kingdom Agenda – Strive to Appropriate Your Inheritance in Christ

4. (18:1 – 19:48) Territory of Remaining 7 Tribes –

God Puts His People Exactly Where He Intends for Them to Prosper and to Serve Him Effectively

5. (19:49-50) Prize of Distribution of Land to Joshua

(19:51) Epilogue – Overall Summary

D. (20:1-9) Designation and Proper Utilization of the 6 Cities of Refuge –

God in His Mercy Established 6 Cities of Refuge for Those Who Committed Unintentional Manslaughter

1. (:1-6) Description of the Institution of Cities of Refuge

2. (:7-8) Designation of 6 Cities of Refuge

(:9) Epilogue -- Summary

E. (21:1-42) Designation of the 48 Levitical Cities = Crowning Act of Distribution –

God Fulfills His Promise of Support for the Ministering Levites with Designated Cities from Each of the Tribes

1. (:1-3) Approaching the Leaders to Request Levitical Cities

2. (:4-8) Allotments to the Levitical Families

3. (:9-40) Assignment of Specific Cities

(:41-42) Epilogue – Summary Report

F. (21:43-45) Concluding Summary of God Keeping His Land Promise to Israel

[Theme Verses] – God’s Faithfulness to His Land Promise to Israel Is to Be Celebrated (In Its Immediate Context Although Not in Terms of Eschatological Fulfillment)

1. (:43) Gracious Gift of the Land to Israel

2. (:44) Secure Rest in the Land from All Enemies

3. (:45) Fulfilled Promises to Israel

G. (22:1-34) Dismissal of Eastern Tribes Back to Their Homes

1. (:1-9) Transjordan Tribes Commended, Charged and Dismissed

2. (:10-34) Preservation of Unity – Resolving Misunderstanding of Offensive Altar


A. (23:1-16) Farewell Charge from Joshua – Call to Covenant Obedience

1. (:1-13) Victory and Possession of the Land Tied to Faithful Obedience

2. (:14-16) Faithfulness of God to Both His Blessings and Cursings – Warning against Spiritual Apostasy

B. (24:1-28) Consideration of Covenant History Should Prompt Renewal of Covenant Commitment

1. (:1-13) Review of Significant Milestones in Covenant History

2. (:14-24) Renewal of Covenant Commitment

3. (:25-28) Ratification of Covenant Affirmation

(24:29-33) Epilogue – Association of Joshua’s Burial with those of Joseph and Eleazar –

All in the Promised Land as a Testimony to the Faithfulness of God

1. (:29-31) Land Inheritance for Joshua Finalized

2. (:32-33) Land Inheritance for Joseph and Eleazar Finalized


• To understand the intensity of the spiritual warfare of the believer (both as an individual and corporately as a local church) and what faith steps we need to take to successfully engage the enemy and overcome all obstacles

• To consecrate our hearts and then develop a commitment to courage and obedience in following the Lord’s battle plan

• To appreciate that God gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ as we step out in faith and trust Him rather than in our own resources

• To learn lessons about spiritual leadership

• To grow in our confidence that God is faithful to keep His promises

• To take our sin seriously in the light of the holiness of God who cannot compromise with sin

• To acknowledge God’s sovereignty over all the nations and over all the forces that would oppose His kingdom agenda

• To expect God to accomplish great things


Dale Ralph Davis: The Book of Joshua contains at least four important theological themes which have practical values for today. First, the book is a lesson on the covenant faithfulness of Jehovah. The power of God was not only declared in covenant agreement, but also demonstrated. Secondly, the book demonstrates the importance of the written word of God (Josh. 1:8; 8:32-35; 23:6-16; 24:26-27). There was an authoritative body of written Scripture in the days of Joshua and this consisted of the books of Moses. There is no appeal to contemporary customs or oral tradition. Thirdly, the book points out the utter failure of human effort apart from divine directives. When Joshua and the children of Israel were faithful to God’s word and His will, there was victory. When they abandoned His will in favor of their own genius, there was failure and frustration. Finally, the book is a commentary of God’s holiness and His judgment of sin. The destruction of the cities of Canaan with their inhabitants was not merely to give Israel military control of the area, but it was, in effect, a judgment of God upon the wickedness of that land (cf. Gen. 15:16; Deut. 7:5-6).

John MacArthur: A keynote feature is God’s faithfulness to fulfill His promise of giving the Land to Abraham’s descendants (Ge 12:7; 15:18-21; 17:8). By His leading (cf. 5:14-6:2), they inhabited the territories E and W of the Jordan, and so the word “possess” appears nearly 20 times. . .

God wanted His people to possess the Land:

1) to keep His promise (Ge 12:7);

2) to set the stage for later developments in His kingdom plan (cf. Ge 17:8; 49:8-12), e.g., positioning Israel for events in the periods of the kings and prophets;

3) to punish peoples that were an affront to Him because of extreme sinfulness (Lv 18:25); and

4) to be a testimony to other peoples (Jos 2:9-11), as God’s covenant heart reached out to all nations (Ge 12:1-3).

John Rea: The very name “Joshua,” the Hebrew form of Jesus, means “Jehovah is salvation.” Thus the redemptive history of Israel’s entering and possessing Canaan illustrates the Christian’s spiritual experience of conflict, victory, and blessing in heavenly spheres through the mighty power of God. In Hebrews 4 the rest in Canaan from vain wilderness strivings is set forth as typical of our present spiritual rest in the finished work of Christ and in his continual intercession to enable us to conquer self and Satan.

Warren Wiersbe: The leading person in the Book of Joshua is not Joshua but the Lord Jehovah, the God of Joshua and of Israel. In all that Joshua did by faith, he desired to glorify the Lord. When the Jews crossed the Jordan River, Joshua reminded them that the living God was among them and would overcome their enemies (Josh. 3:10). Through Israel’s obedience, Joshua wanted all the people of the earth to know the Lord and fear Him (4:23-24). In his “farewell addresses” to the leaders (chap. 23) and to the nation (chap. 24), Joshua gave God all the glory for what Israel had accomplished under his leadership.

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