God's Power To Defeat His Enemies

How does the book of Joshua emphasize God's divine power to defeat his enemies?

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The book of Joshua emphasizes God's power to defeat his enemies by showing the fulfillment of many of the promises that God made to Abraham. For instance, right at the opening statements of the book, in Joshua 1:3, the Lord says to Joshua: "Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you" (Joshua 1:3). And this is reminiscent of the way that the Lord told Abraham to walk through the length and the breadth of the land. And then there's a statement in Deuteronomy 11 where the Lord basically makes that promise to the people, that "Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I will give to you." And so, there's this reality in Deuteronomy 7 where the Lord tells Israel that they are going into the land, and there are these seven nations in the land, all greater and stronger than Israel. So, you've got this one little nation, Israel, and they're going to enter this land inhabited by these seven different people groups, all of whom individually outnumber Israel. And Israel is going to conquer them all. So, you have that reality, which comes to pass; this is exactly what happens in the book of Joshua. And then you also have things like what happens at Jericho where, by obeying the Lord's instructions and encircling the city, the walls of the city fall down, and the people are put to rout. And the point being made in the book of Joshua is the same point that was being made at the exodus, and in many ways it's the same point made at the anointing of David as king and in the way that God chooses people even down to this day. And that point is that God chooses the weak things of the world and the things that are not, to bring to nothing the things that are. So, at the exodus, you have this one little nation that's enslaved, and God humbles the superpower of the day, he brings Pharaoh to his knees, and he liberates the people of Israel from Egypt. And then when Samuel goes to anoint one of the sons of Jesse king, Jesse so disregards the possibility that David might be the anointed that he doesn't even bring him in from the pasture. And all the sons of Jesse pass before Samuel, and Samuel is forced to say, "The Lord hasn't chosen any of these. Do you have any more sons?" And of course, David is out in the pasture and they send for him. And in the same way today, the Lord is choosing the weak things of the world. And this is what's happening in the book of Joshua as this one small nation, outnumbered by all her foes, is brought into the land and conquers them all, subdues all the lands.

Answer by Dr. James M. Hamilton

Dr. James M. Hamilton is Associate Professor of Biblical Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Preaching Pastor of Kenwood Baptist Church.