The book of Joshua is one of the most detailed books on spiritual warfare in the Bible. 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 tells us that the things that happened to the Jews who left Egypt and eventually settled the Promised Land happened as examples for us. Physical events in the Old Testament teach spiritual truths in the New Testament. That is especially true of Joshua.
In Genesis we see the need of salvation – man is sinful. The book starts in Eden in God’s presence and ends with the Jews in captivity in Egypt. Exodus brings deliverance by innocent blood being shed (Passover) and by power (Red Sea open, close). Then in Leviticus instruction is given as to how to live for God now that they are delivered. In Numbers they start learning to apply what God has taught them about winning battles they face in life. Deuteronomy reviews lessons from the past about obeying God. God’s people must learn from the past so they can move ahead in the future. Then comes Joshua, entering the Promised Land (God’s perfect will for them) and conquering through warfare. That’s where we are in our Christian life: God has redeemed us and taught us in His Word and from past experiences. Now we pursue His perfect will for our lives but find we must fight to achieve what He has for us.
LESSON FOR TODAY: The same happens today – God freely gives us salvation and has peace, rest and victory available as we live in His perfect will, but there is a battle involved for us to experience and enjoy those blessings. We fight our sinful nature and we fight Satan’s demons who try to do all they can to keep us from experiencing all God has for us. It’s available, it’s ours, but we must battle to reach it. Some Christians believe that if they trust God enough then He will remove all obstacles and bless them with a simple, easy life. Others think that God owes them health, wealth and whatever they want. The truth is that we are in a lifelong battle if we want to remain faithful to God’s kingdom. If we give in or compromise, then the battle stops until we start living in faithfulness and obedience again. We are living in enemy-occupied territory seeking to overthrow the prince of this world and release as many of his prisoners as possible. Of course he will oppose all we do!
The generation of Jews who left Egypt died in unbelief, not attaining all the blessings God had for them in this life. They lacked faith and obedience. Their children took over – each generation must pick up where the last generation stopped or failed. They needed faith to face the giants their parents feared. They couldn’t do this in their own strength, only in God’s.
LESSON FOR US: The physical warfare of the Jews over their enemies in the Old Testament pictures our spiritual warfare against our enemies (the flesh and Satan) in the New Testament. We can learn many spiritual lessons from their physical battles. Numbers 32:18-22 gives the key for our victory in spiritual warfare. First of all, we must be totally committed to having victory (Numbers 32:18) and willing to pay whatever price is necessary (Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23). How badly do you want to experience all God has for you? How willing are you to fight for it no matter the cost?
(If I can answer questions or offer personal counsel, or if you would like a free copy of my Spiritual Warfare Handbook, email me at Jerry@ChristianTrainingOrganization.org or download it from http://sw.christiantrainingonline.org/. My next book, Spiritual Warfare in the Bible, which is a more advanced treatment of spiritual warfare, is also available there for free.)