Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History

Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History

by Francis A. Schaeffer

The book of Joshua brings to life real history during the crucial period of transition for the Israelites as they follow God's direction and settle in the promised land.

God's care of his people becomes obvious, and their struggle with disobedience, selfishness, and fear is very human.Francis Schaeffer's thoughts on the book of Joshua show readers the historic, spiritual, and intellectual nourishment available for the Christian life through the examples of Joshua and his fellow Israelites.

In the book of Joshua, Schaeffer finds that God reveals his sorrow over human sin, as well as his gracious love for his people.

This study of the settling of Israel will inspire readers to see the hand of God present in all of history, including today.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Christian
  • Rating: 4.06
  • Pages: 224
  • Publish Date: January 8th 2004 by Crossway Books
  • Isbn10: 1581345208
  • Isbn13: 9781581345209

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I found his style to be a bit slower than I remembered, and the insights from the opening chapters seemed rather obvious and shallow, as if the book were written for someone with no familiarity with the Bible.

The thing with Schaeffer (and I have mentioned this previously) is that his position was during the lead up to the modern fundamenalist position, however we must remember that he was actually quite welcoming to people and was also very much in favour of environmentalism. We see a similar thing in Jesus' time where when it came to the law the Pharasees were impeccable, yet Christ still rebuked them harshly for their outward appearances and their wicked and self-centred thoughts. Schaeffer, and many others, speak of this post-Christian world and claim that previously that our society was based upon a biblical foundation, however that biblical foundation was little more that a thin veneer that supported colonialism, oppression, economic inequality, and wholesale genocide of non-European cultures simply because they did not conform to our understanding of a civilised society (not to mention slavery and the over use of the death penalty). I see it all the time at work when people are offended at the suggestion that they are at fault and the idea of innocence gets thrown around so often that we actually forget what it means. In fact in one book that I read about aboriginal Christianity, this church actually garnered a mention in which the aboriginal author commented on how he did not feel welcome or comfortable in this church.

Noted author and speaker Francis Schaeffer, in his classic book Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History, takes a biblical theological approach to the book of Joshua, noting how important biblical themes are found throughout the pages of this story on conquest that should not be overlooked. While Joshua is perhaps not a book one would normally think would have more to offer than battlefield clashes, in reality, the recurring themes of humanitys penchant for sin and Gods mercy can be found on every page of Joshua. Furthermore, as noted by Schaeffer, what makes the book of Joshua overwhelmingly important is that is stands as a bridge, a link between the Pentateuch (the writings of Moses) and the rest of Scripture. With that understanding in mind, the reader will have a new appreciation for the book of Joshua and additionally, they will find themselves paying a bit more attention to the themes presented in Joshua and how those themes related to the greater message of Scripture. For instance, Schaeffer notes three changeless factors one can find in the book of Joshua, namely the written Book, the power of God, and the supernatural Leader. While the discussion of these cities in the book of Joshua may seem unimportant and unrelated to our lives today given we are not going to race off to find a city to reside in should we unintentionally kill another human, the cities of refuge provide a valuable picture of Christ. It is a book replete with themes that speak to the message of redemption, relationship, and salvation that form the core of Scripture and Schaeffer does a marvelous job of revealing those themes in a powerful and highly understandable way.

This seemingly trivial point is explained by Schaeffer as being significant since the stones from the river (assuming it looks different) will stand out on dry land and vice versa as a memorial of God's faithfulness when God once again parting water for Israel. Francis Schaeffer also had a good section on the Abrahamic covenant of God as the background to what was going on in Joshua in terms of receiving the promise land. Over all, for a devotional flavor commentary, this work had good use of antecedent theology in interpreting the text, with Schaeffer using the Laws of Moses to make sense of what was going on in Joshua.

I love Schaeffer's writing style and the connections he makes between the Old Testament and the New, and applications made for us as believers today.

Schaeffer provides an excellent work which travels through many highlights (and lowlights) of the Biblical book of Joshua, providing interesting geographic and historical details, and vividly applying the themes to anyone today.