The Book of Joshua – Exciting or Boring?

This month I have been reading through the book of Joshua for my devotions. This book starts with God commanding Joshua to lead the Israelites into the promised land. It is exciting to read about the people of Israel finally getting ready to enter the land that God had promised them so many years prior.

Exciting Stories

There are so many fun and exiting stories as I read about the two men who spied out Jericho and were hidden by Rahab, the harlot. The men promised to save her and her house because of her fear of the Lord and her protection of them. A few chapters later I reread one of my favorite Sunday School stories about the Israelites marching around the city of Jericho. On the seventh day after they marched around seven times, the priests blew their trumpets and walls of Jericho came tumbling down.

Chapter three gives the second account of the Lord holding back a body of water and allowing His people to cross over on dry ground. This one always amazes and fascinates me! When the people had all passed over, they set up a memorial of twelve stone as a reminder to their children of what God had done for them.

Chapter five brings the somewhat awkward account of all the males being circumcised. This was a ritual appointed by God for the Israelites to set them apart from others. This hadn’t been performed since they left Egypt, so now was the time to catch everyone up. Soon after that, they celebrated the Passover in the new land and the manna ceased.

The Israelite army then began to conquer all the cities and claim their land. There were a few setbacks along the way, such as when Achan stole goods from one of the cities and hid them in his tent. The Israelites lost the next battle because of his sin. However, he was found out and stoned for his sin.

In chapter ten, Joshua asked God to make the sun and moon to stand still to give the Israelites more time to defeat their enemies. God did it!

Boring Lists

Then we come to the second half of the chapter and I began to read list after list. It became tedious and boring. I read about who conquered what lands. Then I read about which lands were still left to be conquered. This was followed by chapter after chapter of who was given which land.

I began to wonder why I thought Joshua was such an exciting book. Why did God put all this boring stuff in the Bible? Who cares, right? It might be useful to a historian or a serious Bible scholar, but what does it have to do with me? After all, I just skimmed those repetitive sections of names and places.

Herein is where our view of the Bible is flawed. We tend to think the Bible is all about us, don’t we? We read it looking for what it has to do with us. But the Bible isn’t all about us. It is about God! The Bible is written to reveal to us who God is. He tells us about His character and His plan for his creation.

The Purpose of the Boring Stuff

Joshua 21:43-45 (ESV) sums up the purpose for all the “boring” stuff.

“Thus the Lord gave to Israel all the land that he swore to give to their fathers. And they took possession of it, and they settled there. And the Lord gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the Lord had given all their enemies into their hands. Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.”

This is exciting! What did I learn from all the lists and seemingly endless verses of dividing up the land? I learned an important lesson about God. I learned that He keeps His promises! He gave Israel everything He promised to give them. They weren’t always faithful to Him, but He was faithful to them.

Because God did this for Israel, I know he will do it for me! That doesn’t mean He has promised me land and will give it to me or my family some day. But He has made other promises, and I know He will keep them.

Here is a list of some of the promises that God has made to those who trust in Him.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

James 4:7 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Philippians 4:19 “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

Psalm 9:9-10 “The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

2 Timothy 4:7-8 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.”

These are just a sampling of God’s promises in the Bible. Let me encourage you to do a study on this topic. I also want to encourage you, along with myself, to consider how you are reading His Word. Is our reading self-focused or God-focused?

Wife, mom, grandma, and country girl. I am living by faith and encouraging others to do the same. I integrate faith, family and country living.

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