Joshua 1:2-5, Palestinian Covenant; Iniquity of the Amorite; Four Promises to Joshua Apply to Church Age Believer
Note that when the covenant was originally given it was to Abram’s descendants.
Genesis 15:18 - On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram saying, “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates.”
Who were Abram’s descendants? True Israel! Those who not only have the genes of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob but also the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
It would take until the year 1400 b.c. before descendants would emerge with a capacity to take the land of promise.
And in the meantime, who were the ones who populated the real estate between the Nile and the Euphrates? We learn from:
Genesis 15:19 - the Kenite and the Kenizzite and the Kadmonite
v 20 - and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Rephaim /REF-aye-em/
v 21 - and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Girgashite and the Jebusite.
These are the various peoples who populated the land at the time the Lord proclaimed it to Abram. Verse 19 mentions a number of related tribes who were itinerant metal workers who worked the copper mines around the southwestern shore of the Dead Sea. They were probably descended from the Midianites.
Those mentioned in verses 20-21 are familiar to us because they are the ones who still populate the land at the time Joshua and the second generation prepare to enter the land.
These peoples are really Hamitic first cousins. They populate the land which lies to the West of the Jordan River Valley called Canaan, taken from one of the tribes of cousins who reside there.
The most powerful among the several cousins were the Amorites and the Hittites. In fact the entire region was identified by the Lord with the Amorites in:
Genesis 15:16 - “In the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete.”
This discourse between Abram and the Lord takes place around 2086 b.c.
Please also note in this passage what the Lord tells Abram in:
Genesis 15:13 - “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs [ Egypt ], where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years.
Even before the birth of Ishmael or Isaac, the land of Canaan was populated by a group of peoples who were involved in iniquity. While the Jews were in slavery to Egypt for over 400 years, the inhabitants of the Land of Promise were being given time to recover from their degeneracy.
That they did not do so is the reason for the mandates given in:
Leviticus 18:3 - “You shall not do what is done in the land of Egypt where you lived, nor are you to do what is done in the land of Canaan where I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes.
v 20 - “You shall not have intercourse with your neighbor’s wife to be defiled with her.
v 21 - “Neither shall you give any of your offspring to offer them to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God; I am the Lord.
v 22 - “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.
v 23 - “Also you shall not have intercourse with any animal to be defiled with it, nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it; it is a perversion.
v 24 - “Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled.”
v 27 - (for the men of the land who have been before you have done all these abominations and the land has become defiled).
Consequently, as the second generation prepares to enter the land we see the following order given to them by Moses during his commencement address in:
Deuteronomy 20:16 - “In the cities of these peoples that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, you shall not leave alive anything that breathes.
v 17 - “But you shall utterly destroy them, the Hittite and the Amorite, the Canaanite and the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, as the Lord you God has commanded you,
v 18 - in order that they may not teach you to do according to all their detestable things [ Leviticus 18: incest, adultery, child sacrifice, homosexuality, bestiality, or idolatry ] which they have done for their gods, so that you would sin against the Lord your God.”
According to Joshua 1:2 the time has now come to execute these mandates. The citizens of Canaan have received over 400 years of grace to respond to the Gospel of the God of Israel, YHWH Elohim.
They have refused to do so and instead have continued in their degenerate lifestyle to the point where the Lord considers their “iniquity to be full” (Genesis 15:16).
During those same 400-plus years, the Lord has been preparing a generation of Israelites who, through positive volition, now have the capacity to take and hold the land.
It is this second generation to which the Lord will give the land. But they have to have the confidence and courage to execute the process. Both are based on faith.
Verses three and four describe the extent of real estate the Lord makes available to the Israelites:
Joshua 1:3 - “Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses.
v 4 - “From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun, will be your territory.
We can already see that even the second generation will not have the capacity to take all the land that is promised since they never come close to conquering the land all the way to the Euphrates.
Verses 5-9: Provision for Conquest
Joshua 1:5 - [NASV] “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you. I will not fail you or forsake you.
In this verse we see the Lord issuing Joshua divine promises which provide the encouragement to execute the duty expressed in verse 2.
In verse 2 the general order is, “Arise, cross this Jordan … to the land which I am giving … to the sons of Israel.”
But that order is an awfully tall one. The Canaanite Empire is made up of powerful tribes according to:
Deuteronomy 9:1 - “Hear, O Israel! You are crossing over the Jordan today to go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than you, great cities fortified to heaven,
v 2 - a people great and tall …
v 4 - “Do not say in your heart when the Lord your God has driven them out before you, ‘Because of my righteousness the Lord has brought me in to possess this land,” but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is dispossessing them before you.”
The Canaanite nations were greater and mightier, their cities were fortified, and many were considered to be giants.
In addition, in order to attack them, the Israelites faced an impassable, flood-swollen Jordan River.
These intractable problems require divine problem-solving devices.
In verse 5 the Lord issues four promises to Joshua and by application to the people of Israel:
Not any man will be able to stand before you.
I will be with you as I was with Moses.
I will not fail you.
I will not forsake you.
The question may arise as to whether such promises issued to Old Testament saints are applicable to the Church Age believer.
The principles found in this verse formed the basis for Paul’s confidence and courage against the hostility he faced as the Lord’s apostle in the first century.
The Lord Himself paraphrased to Paul the very same promises He proclaimed to Joshua in: