Introduction to the Book of Joshua

Introduction to the Book of Joshua

Dr. Jim Denison

Joshua before Joshua

The man known as Joshua was first named Hoshea (Numbers 13:8, 16), which means “salvation.” Later Moses changed his name to Joshua, meaning “the Lord saves” or “the Lord gives victory.” “Joshua” and “Jesus” are both derived from the same Hebrew word Yehoshua. The similarity of their names and work is striking—both led God’s people to salvation by conquest over the enemies of the Lord, establishing the possibility of eternal rest in the providence of the Father.

As the NavPress commentary makes clear, Joshua served a critical role in the early chapter of Israel’s history as a nation. When the people crossed the Red Sea, they met the Amalekites in their first military battle, and were led by Joshua to victory (Exodus 17:8-16). Joshua quickly became Moses’ understudy and disciple, sharing his experience atop Mt. Sinai (Exodus 24:9-13) and in the tabernacle (Exodus 33:7-11).

After Moses led the nation to the edge of the Promised Land, Joshua and Caleb were sent with ten other tribal representatives to spy out the land. Only they reported favorably; the nation shrunk from their heritage in fear, and their generation was forced to wander in the desert until they died. Moses then led them again to the boundary of the land, where he was taken to heaven. Leadership of God’s people now rested humanly in the hands of Joshua.


Jordan Crossing

Jordan Crossing

Joshua 3:1-4:24

Dr. Jim Denison

Thesis: We must step by faith into the purpose of God to receive the power he gives.

Goal: Step into the next stage of faithfulness as revealed to you by God.

There’s an old story about a council meeting in the halls of Hell. Satan was seeking an infallible strategy for defeating God’s Kingdom on earth. One demon stood and said, “I shall go to men and tell them there is no heaven.” But Satan said, “That will never work, for in the heart of all mankind there beats a hope of life eternal. They will not believe that there is no heaven. You shall not go.”

Another demon stood and said, “I will go and tell them there is no Hell.” And Satan said, “That will not work either. Men know that there is right and wrong, and that wrong must be punished. They will not believe there is no Hell. You shall not go.”

Finally a small demon at the back of the meeting room stood and said, “I will tell men that there is a Heaven and there is a Hell. But then I will tell them that there is no hurry.” And Satan said, “Go!”


Marching Orders

Marching Orders

Joshua1:1-18

Dr. Jim Denison

Thesis: God calls us to fulfill his highest purposes by faith.

Goal: Identify and embrace God’s highest calling for your life.

Oswald Chambers lived one of the most extraordinary Christian pilgrimages of the 20th century. A native of Scotland, his ministry of preaching and teaching took him to the United States and Japan. He founded a Bible Training College in London, then served as chaplain to British troops in Egypt during World War I. His death at age 43 was a tragedy to the troops he served and the family he loved. But his ministry has touched millions of souls he had no opportunity to know, myself included.

Oswald’s wife Biddy made his life motto the title of the devotional book she created from his various sermons and talks: “My Utmost For His Highest.” I’ve been reading daily from this guide for twelve years now, and have found it to be the most essential book in my spiritual life next to Scripture. Its title motivates me constantly: find and give my “utmost” gifts and service to God’s “highest” purpose for my life and work.


Putting God First

Putting God First

Matthew 6:25-34

Dr. Jim Denison

On Saturday morning, August 30, I read these words from Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest:

“Jesus Christ says, in effect, Don’t rejoice in successful service, but rejoice because you are rightly related to Me. The snare in Christian work is to rejoice in successful service, to rejoice in the fact that God has used you. You can never measure what God will do through you if you are rightly related to Jesus Christ. Keep your relationship right with Him, then whatever circumstances you are in, and whomever you meet day by day, He is pouring rivers of living water through you, and it is of His mercy that He does not let you know it. . . .

“It is the work that God does through us that counts, not what we do for Him. All that Our Lord heeds in a man’s life is the relationship of worth to His Father.”

These last two sentences were a bolt of electricity to my heart. They stunned and shocked me. Hear them again: “It is the work that God does through us that counts, not what we do for Him. All that Our Lord heeds in a man’s life is the relationship of worth to His Father.” Here are some facts which came to my mind as I pondered these words:


Reconnaissance In Jericho

Reconnaissance in Jericho

Joshua 2:1-24

Dr. Jim Denison

Thesis: God goes ahead to provide for all he purposes us to do.

Goal: Identify ways God has prepared for current ministries, and step into the calling with confidence and obedient trust.

Oswald Chambers once said: “If we are going to live as disciples of Jesus, we have to remember that all noble things are difficult. The Christian life is gloriously difficult, but the difficulty of it does not make us faint and cave in, it rouses us up to overcome.” All noble things are difficult.

My father fought in the Army during World War II, and experienced horrific atrocities in helping to win victory for his country. Our military is currently engaged in a war against terror around the world, protecting our very lives from those who would take them. Freedom is difficult.

Most adults we know completed thirteen years of education; the large majority completed four years of college afterwards; and a sizeable number completed several years of advanced study still later. Educational preparation is difficult.


Reconnaissance In Jericho

Reconnaissance in Jericho

Joshua 2:1-24

Dr. Jim Denison

Thesis: God goes ahead to provide for all he purposes us to do.

Goal: Identify ways God has prepared for current ministries, and step into the calling with confidence and obedient trust.

Oswald Chambers once said: “If we are going to live as disciples of Jesus, we have to remember that all noble things are difficult. The Christian life is gloriously difficult, but the difficulty of it does not make us faint and cave in, it rouses us up to overcome.” All noble things are difficult.

My father fought in the Army during World War II, and experienced horrific atrocities in helping to win victory for his country. Our military is currently engaged in a war against terror around the world, protecting our very lives from those who would take them. Freedom is difficult.

Most adults we know completed thirteen years of education; the large majority completed four years of college afterwards; and a sizeable number completed several years of advanced study still later. Educational preparation is difficult.


The Sin of Greed

The Sin of Greed

Dr. Jim Denison

In the Bible, “greed” is choosing to sin for material gain: “A greedy man brings trouble to his family, but he who hates bribes will live” (Proverbs 15:27). Note the Hebrew parallelism: greed = bribery. We are greedy when we will commit illegal or immoral acts to get more.

Jeremiah adds: “Like a partridge that hatches eggs it did not lay is the man who gains riches by unjust means” (Jeremiah 17:11a). Greed is at the heart of every sin for material gain. Remember the Enron scandal, government corruption, and marketplace imbezzlement in recent news stories. Each is motivated by material greed.

It comes from needing more than we need: “Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 5:10)

What is wrong with greed?

In Scripture, there are at least six reasons why greed is a sin.

It harms the innocent: “A greedy man brings trouble to his family, but he who hates bribes will live” (Proverbs 15:27).


The Sin of Pride

The Sin of Pride

Dr. Jim Denison

The major was promoted to colonel and received a fancy new office. As he entered it for the first time, sitting in the nice new chair, a knock came at the door. He said, “Come in,” then quickly picked up the telephone as a corporal walked in.

“Just a minute,” the colonel said to the corporal. “I have to finish this telephone call.” Then the colonel began speaking into the mouthpiece: “Sorry about the interruption, General. Yes, sir, I will take care of that. Yes, I’ll call the President after I finish talking with you, General.”

The colonel ceremoniously put the telephone down, turned to the corporal, and said, “What can I do for you?” The corporal replied, “Well, colonel, I just came in to connect your telephone.”

Pride is always listed at the top of the “seven deadly sins.” Thus we will begin our study of these sins at this place. Not that any of us need such a study; Humility and how I perfected it is the book we each could have written. But what does the Bible say to the rest of the race, prideful as it is?


When God Shows Up

When God Shows Up

Isaiah 6:1-8

Dr. Jim Denison

Karl Barth, the eminent theologian, claimed that “Christian worship is the most momentous, the most urgent, the most glorious action that can take place in human life.”

All of creation worships its Creator: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of their hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, the words to the ends of the world” (Psalm 19:1-4). All we see worships the One we cannot see.

But we alone have a choice in the matter. We can worship our Creator or his creation. This fall, we will learn how to choose wisely. As we seek to put God first, to make him not just our Savior, but our King, we will focus each week on an attribute of our heavenly Father and ask what that characteristic means to our worship and our lives.

We begin this morning with the most foundational statement in all of Scripture regarding the King we have come to honor today. When we get this right, our Lord will show up in our worship and our lives. This is the promise of God.


When You’re Ready To Quit

When You’re Ready to Quit

Isaiah 40:27-31

Dr. Jim Denison

There is a story going around that at a computer exposition, Bill Gates compared the computer industry with the automobile industry and stated, “If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25.00 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon.”

It goes on that in response, GM issued a press release stating that if GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics. (1) For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash twice a day. (2) About every two to three years, you would have to buy a new car. (3) Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason. You would have to pull over to the side of the road, close all the windows, shut off the car, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue. For some reason, you would simply accept this. (4) The oil, water temperature, and alternator warning lights would all be replaced by a single ‘This Car Has Performed An Illegal Operation’ warning light. (5) The airbag system would ask ‘Are you sure?’ before deploying. (6) Occasionally, for no reason at all, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key and grabbed hold of the radio antenna. (7) Every time a new car was introduced car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car. (8) You’d have to press the ‘Start’ button to turn the engine off.


  • 1
  • 2