The Exodus journey started with God parting the water of the Red Sea, and it ends here in Joshua very similarly. Yahweh miraculously parts the Jordan, and the people walk through on dry ground (chapter 3).
The spies of the wilderness generation were faithless, but in Joshua they are crafty and trust that their conquest will be successful (chapter 2).
Joshua also has a burning bush moment. He suddenly sees the “commander of the army of Yahweh” with his sword drawn, and though there is no burning bush, the man says to Joshua,
Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy. (Joshua 5:15)
It’s almost as though we have a complete re-do. The wilderness generation never happened. We’re back at the beginning, and this time they are going to carry out the conquest.
The promises are fulfilled, and this generation is keeping the covenant:
- They have the land.
- They are circumcised, and they observe the Passover.
- The people are as numerous as the stars.
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 … Not one word of all the good promises that the LORD had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass. (Joshua 21:43, 45)
Nevertheless, it is clear that not everything is OK. Just before Joshua dies, he calls the people to put away foreign gods, and they say they will. But his response is telling:
You are not able to serve Yahweh, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God … You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen Yahweh, to serve him. (Joshua 24:19, 22)
We know what’s next — the darkest of dark ages.