“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 21:45
The first five books of the Bible take us from Eden to Egypt where we find God’s people in captivity from which they are delivered by His grace and power according to His promise. As the people were enslaved in Egypt, so man is enslaved in sin. Sinners need to be delivered, which only happens by grace through faith according to God’s promise and power. By His grace and for His glory, God delivered His people out of the house of bondage, led them through the wilderness, sustaining them and testing them along the way to the land of promise. In a mighty way, God delivered His people so that they might know that He is the Lord their God who alone can deliver. Those who believe and live by faith understand this. And led by Moses they sing a new song:
“You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed; you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode.” Exodus 15:13
Here is the perfect introduction to the book of Joshua. Moses is leading the whole nation in a song of joy, a song of deliverance in praise to the Lord who not only saves but leads His people to His “holy abode”. The book of Joshua teaches us something about God who not only delivers His people but leads them all the way to their new home.
The book of Joshua sets before God’s people at the time the hope of the eternal Sabbath rest. The author of Hebrews makes it clear that Joshua didn’t really lead the people of God to the real Promised Land, the better heavenly country. Only Jesus does that. But here is a type or picture of how that happens and what it looks like to march to Zion by grace through faith. Here is a picture of why and how we are led to our Heavenly Home and the eternal Day of rest and gladness we all long for (Heb. 11). The book of Joshua keeps the hope of eternal rest alive. It is part of the unfolding promise of God in the covenant of grace. And looking back to it from this side of the cross, we glean much from God who delivers us and knows us and feeds us and leads us Home to glory. There is much here to learn about Jesus and how He saves to the uttermost those who draw to God through Him.
The deliverance and rest we so long for comes only by the grace and power of God according to His Word and faithfulness. It is the Lord Jesus who leads His people forth as more than conquerors over sin and death and hell and the world forever. It is Jesus who leads us forth to victory and triumph over the foes to receive that eternal inheritance that is imperishable and unfading, which is being guarded in Heaven by God as we await the salvation ready to be revealed. Every Lord’s Day is a reminder of the eternal Sabbath rest that is to come. Though we have entered that rest through faith in Jesus, there is more of it to come when Jesus returns and finally conquers all His and our enemies. Every Lord’s Day is to stir up our faith and obedience and courage and perseverance towards eternal rest from sin and the world and the devil.
Ultimately, the book of Joshua teaches us that “the Lord is salvation”. Joshua’s name carries the meaning of the whole book. And it isn’t merely that “the Lord saves”, though that is true. The point is that the Lord is Himself salvation for His people. The salvation isn’t outside of Him but is found in Him. God is our salvation and not one who simply gives us salvation. Here is a major lesson to learn. The Lord is our salvation or rest and not merely the giver of it.
The Lord is mighty and faithful to save. Every Word of God proves true; not one word fails. He leads us forth into the Promised Land to receive our eternal rest. Jesus, to whom Joshua points us, is our salvation who saves us from all our enemies. Jesus is the Captain of our salvation who leads us to sing “Hallelujah!” in triumph over all His and our enemies. The same One who declared, “It is finished” also declares that those who follow Him He will lead to eternal life (Jn. 10:27-28; 12:26). The same Savior also urges our faith when he says,
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” (John 14:1–4)
Let us trust our Lord who is our salvation. For not one word of all the good promises that He made will fail.