Verses 1-15: Joshua by now has shown a pattern of faith and fortitude. Without fail he has obeyed God and went up against enemies that should have beaten the Israelitete army. The successes of Israel have now spread even further in the land and attracted the attention of yet more kings and armies. In this instance, the armies that amass and travel to fight Israel is the greatest number yet.
God does not waver in his commitment to His people and again tells Joshua not to be afraid, but to be confident and brave. Joshua is to handicap their horses and burn their chariots. This, along with another reference in Deuteronomy 20:1, and the fact that the Israelites left Egypt on foot with their livestock (Exodus 12:35-38), strongly suggests that the Israelites did not have cavalry of their own. This only adds to God’s power on behalf of aiding His people. Think of it – the Israelites have been decimating armies and kingdoms that are stronger than them, armies with horses and chariots – and Israel had been winning with confidence and outright success (aside from the ordeal with Achan in chapter 7).
Joshua defeated these armies and then went to their kingdoms and defeated the men there, leaving no man breathing. Remember also that these victories and their manner were in accordance with the commandments that God gave to Moses. Prophecy and faith begets progress and fulfillment of God’s plan.
Think of the fulfillment here, it is no mistake that Moses is mentioned after having been dead for some time. The point is that God is keeping His Word. God will not let the Israelites down. Consider also the reciprocity. The Israelites and their leader had to follow and obey Him and have no doubts whatsoever while doing so.
Verses 16-23: Joshua continues to seek out and defeat armies that are in the land. Utter defeat occurs and finally Joshua retains the land and gives it to the Israelites, dividing out among the tribes. The final line of this chapter, “Then the land rested from war,” reads like an exhalation after so much bloodshed and conflict.
When I think of fulfilling my end of the spiritual plan God has set for me, do I do so proudly? Do I do it with as much confidence and tenacity as Joshua did? Do I trust God so absolutely?
He gave us Christ, what else are we to do but have nothing but total confidence and faith in Him that He will save us? I have to keep my end of the bargain, though. This means study and obedience. This requires my commitment to His Word.