The result of a lifetime’s study, this book is heart-warming, searching and readable. The author’s years of preaching through Joshua are clearly discernible in the structure of each chapter.
As well as making warm application of the text, he shows consistent attention to those details that anticipate the final triumph of God’s kingdom, through the life, death and resurrection of our ‘Joshua’, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Preachers in particular will benefit from reviewing the insight given into God’s Word. The pattern Dodson follows in each chapter is to have an introduction, followed by clear exposition and explanation, before proceeding to insightful illustrations and applications. His footnotes wrestle with difficult passages and identify other useful sources of information.
He describes the overall theme of the book in the introduction thus: ‘God was faithful to give Israel the land He promised to Abraham. From that big idea five sub-themes emerged: (1) the covenant was the foundation; (2) the presence of God was the key; (3) warfare was the means; (4) sin was the impediment; (5) inheritance was the fulfilment’ (p.ix).
This volume has great potential to encourage us as God’s people today. It reminds us of the sure foundation we have in God’s promises and the certainty of their complete fulfilment in the final triumph of his Son’s kingdom.
In the first chapter, we read: ‘For four centuries, Israel had possessed the promises to Abraham concerning the land, but decade after decade the promise had gone unrealised. Now, as they were poised on the eastern shores of the Jordan River, the conquest of Canaan still looked impossible. How could a wandering group of shepherds ever overthrow a country of fortified cities? The answer to that dilemma unfolds in the book of Joshua’ (p.3).
The last chapter states: ‘Though these events happened a long time ago, in a far away place, they mirror our history as well’ (p.362). Dodson elaborates on our utter dependence on the grace yet promised to us.
He reminds us of the purpose of God’s Word and the place of prayer. He stresses the Holy Spirit’s power to equip God’s people, to triumph over sin and commit to conquering the kingdoms of this world through gospel-based revival.