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10th March

Joshua 22-24; Psalm 69

Bible in a Year
6 minutes
In this article
10th March

Joshua 22-24; Psalm 69

Bible in a Year
6 minutes


So far in Joshua we've read as Joshua has picked up the reins where Moses left off. Joshua is now in charge, and we read as God commanded him to be courageous and loyal to his word. In turn, the Israelites were courageous and faithful to Joshua. Continuing from Deuteronomy, we see this theme of faithfulness and obedience leading to blessing.

Joshua sent out spies, just as Moses did, but these spies were successful. God led these spies to a Canaanite woman named Rahab, who sided with them. Upon returning with news, Joshua then led the people across the river Jordan, just as Moses led the people across the Red Sea.

On the other side, Joshua led the people through the practices that God commanded them. Circumcision and the Passover. Outside of Jericho, Joshua met the commander of God's army, who reminded Joshua he was part of God's plan, not the other way around.

And then the fighting began. Through obedience and faithfulness, God led the people to victory over Jericho. Unfortunately, immediately the people began doing things their own way and were defeated in their next battle against Ai.

Joshua reaffirmed the Israelites' obedience and faithfulness by punishing those who rebelled and seeking God for wisdom. The second time round, they defeated Ai. Having learnt their lesson afresh, the Israelites once again committed themselves to their covenant relationship with God. They will be obedient and faithful.

We read as the Israelites made the same mistake of checking in with God. They granted peace to a neighbouring nation, the Gibeonites, before realising their mistake. God used this mistake to gather Israel's enemies together so Israel could defeat them together. We then read the list of conquest in both southern and northern Israel, and Joshua led the people to victory through obedience.

Then yesterday we covered the dividing of the land amongst the tribes of Israel. Some land still remained to be conquered and Dan was unable to hold the land it was given, later moving north and taking land from Naphtali to claim as its own.

Joshua 22-24

We come now to the closing chapters of the book. Now that the Israelites have claimed the land promised to them, if in part, those on the eastern side of the Jordan can go back to the land they claimed under Moses.

Joshua commends them for their faithfulness in supporting their fellow tribes and then releases them to go back to their homes. Before they go, he encourages them to continue in obedience and faithfulness to God.

But it isn't long before trouble arises. Those east of the Jordan decide to build an altar, but the problem is there is only one place that the people are allowed to offer sacrifices to God.

Hearing about this, the tribes west of the Jordan immediately ready up to go to war with the eastern tribes for turning their back on God.

Ironically, the eastern tribes set up the altar to maintain the unity between the two sides. It was to serve as a reminder that these eastern tribes are as much part of Israel and God’s people as the western tribes.

Hearing this, the western tribes are satisfied and go back home. But it's important to notice how quickly things turned south. It didn't take much to turn the people of God against each other, and we're going to see this pop up throughout Israel's history.

But for a time, there is peace for the Israelites as they enjoy their new land. Eventually Joshua reaches the age where he is preparing to die and so, like Moses, calls the people together one last time to encourage them and get them to renew their commitment to God.

Like Moses, Joshua encourages the people to be obedient to God, to follow his ways. He then reminds them of what God has done for them, going all the way back to Abraham, to Jacob and his descendants settling in Egypt, to Moses and Aaron bringing them out of Egypt, to their time in the wilderness and finally to their claiming of the land promised to them.

He reminds them of the relationship they have had with God so far and encourages them to commit themselves to it going forward. The people echo this back to Joshua and commit to stick with God and serve him.

Finally, Joshua dies and is buried. This was a man that was as great a leader as Israel could have asked for, a worthy successor to Moses. But unlike Moses, we don't read Joshua appointing a leader after him.

So as we finish Joshua and go to start Judges tomorrow, the question is "who's going to lead the Israelites, and are they really going to stay committed to God?"

Psalm 69

This psalm is attributed to king David and falls into the category of a lament psalm.

Psalm 69:1-5 - A complaint

Psalm 69:6 - A request

Psalm 69:7-12 - A complain

Psalm 69:13-18 - A request

Psalm 69:19-21 - A complaint

Psalm 69:22-29 - A request

Psalm 69:30-36 - Declaration of trust

The psalmist open with a request that God save them and then jumps in with their complaint. It feels like they are drowning, being swallowed up in thick mire. They are worn out, tired, and weary, and are surrounded by people who hate them.

The psalmist recognises it’s their own foolishness and mistakes that have caused this, and so they turn to their first request. May no one who is loyal to God or wants to know him more be negatively affected by the psalmist’s mistakes.

And then we’re back to the complaint. The psalmist argues that they are suffering because they have been loyal to God. They were hated by others for their faithfulness, be it their own family or others who hate God. The more they sought God, the more they were hated for it.

The psalmist turns back to request. May God answer the psalmist because he is a loving and faithful God. May God deliver them from the waters that they feel like they’re drowning in. But perhaps most importantly, may God be near to them. May the psalmist get to experience God’s presence again.

Then, again, we’re back to the complaint. The psalmist’s heart is broken because of all the rebukes they are getting. All they wanted was some pity and someone to comfort them, but they are all alone. Those near them continue to taunt them, offering them drinks that are actually poison, and places at their table that are actually traps.

This time, the psalmist’s request is focused on their enemies. May God defeat them. May they become blind and weakened. Their wealth and flourishing are gone. May God punish them and remove them from among the righteous.

Finally, the psalmist turns to trust. Despite their struggle, they will praise God. They understand that God prefers obedience and thanksgiving over offerings that don’t reflect one’s heart.

He is the God of the humble and the needy. All of heaven and earth will praise him. Then, as is common in these psalms, the psalmist turns from their own situation to the situation of Jerusalem, Zion.

Not only will God rescue and restore the psalmist, he will also rescue and restore Jerusalem, the embodiment of God’s people. God will cause his people to flourish.

Anything you think I've missed? Maybe you've got a question that still needs answering. Send me a message over on my Instagram (@brynjoslin). I'd love to talk it through with you some more.

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