In our journey through the Legacy Study Bible reading plan, in the spring we read through the Hebrew history of the Old Testament starting with Joshua.
In our reading back during the winter in Genesis, we found a poignant and profound picture of the fall of Adam into a life of perpetual sin and his banishment from paradise. He is relegated to restlessness and wandering, separated from intimacy and fellowship with his Creator. Then the very chapter that references the fall, records the divine plan for restoration of fellowship. That plan takes on definition with God’s promise to make Abram a great nation through which all the nations of the earth will be blessed. Abraham’s call therefore is the divine antidote to Adam’s fall.
God’s promise that Abraham’s children would inherit the Promised Land was but a preliminary step in a progressive plan through which Abram and the heirs of Abraham would inherit a better country—a heavenly country. That plan comes into sharp focus when we see Moses leading Abram’s descendents out of their 400 year bondage in Egypt. Through 40 years of wilderness wanderings, God tabernacled with His people and He prepared them for the land of promise.
Like Abraham however, Moses only saw promise for afar; but when you start to read the book of Joshua, you will see God’s plan taking on tangible reality, as Joshua leads the children of Israel into Palestine. The wandering of Adam, Abraham, and Moses finally give way to rest on every side. So Joshua was able to say, “Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to the house of Israel failed: every one was fulfilled.” (Joshua 21:45).
So as Adam would fall in paradise, Abraham’s descents would fall in Palestine. Thus Joshua’s words in his final farewell take on ominous reality, “But just as every good promise of God has come true, so the Lord will bring on you all the evil He threatened, until He has destroyed you from this good land, He has given you. If you violate the covenant of the Lord your God… you will quickly perish from the good land He has given you.” (Joshua 23:15-16).
Though the land promises reached their zenith under Solomon, the land eventually vomited out the children of the promise just as it vomited out the Canaanites before them. During the Assyrian and Babylonian exiles the wanderings experience by Adam were once again experienced by the descents of Abram.
Of course, God’s promises to Abraham were far from exhausted because Palestine was but a preliminary phase in a patriarchal promise. God would make Abram not just the father of a nation but Abram would become Abraham the father of many nations. Abram would be heir of the world. The climax of the promise would not be Palestine regained but something far greater, it would be paradise restored—as God had promised Abraham real estate, so too He has promised him a Royal Seed. Joshua led the children of Israel into the regions of Palestine, but Jesus—the Royal Seed of Abraham—will one day lead his children into the restoration of paradise.
The point here is simply to say as you read through Joshua, remember you are on a continuing journey through the Bible, which is God’s unfolding plan of redemption. It starts with paradise and the loss of paradise and it ends with paradise restored. A New Jerusalem, not the old Jerusalem, but a New Jerusalem that Paul says, “is free and she is our mother.” (Gal. 4:26) Paradise lost becomes Paradise restored, and that is what each and every one who loves Jesus Christ had to look forward too.