After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:1-9.
Even though there is a new generation inheriting the land, and Moses is dead, “this book of the law” is still the standard. It is still on mission to have Israel displace the wicked in the land of promise and establish God’s righteous rule. Many Hittites and Jebusites are about to get the axe.
Is that the case today? Are these instructions applicable today? Are we on a mission of conquest? The answer is yes, but the battle is fought on a different, transcendent plane.
In Galatians, Paul tells us:
“For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.
Jesus (the same word translated as Joshua) sent us as His ambassadors to declare that He has won the victory over sin. The battle is over. We aren’t conquering sinners by force. We are converting them, bring the word of their deliverance. Our kingdom is from above. We establish God’s rule by establishing it in the hearts of those who believe.