A significant theme used to open the book of Joshua is the Divine Warrior (Josh 1:1-5). The key ideas associated with this theme are victory, fight, and trust. As the Divine Warrior, the Lord promises to terrorize Israel’s enemies and to abide with them as His covenant people.
The Lord is presented to us as the Divine Warrior in Exodus 15 in the Song of Moses. In this song Moses sings, the Lord is a man of War, the Lord is His name (15:3). In addition to this text we learn that the Lord will go before the nation and fight for them (Ex 14:14; Dt 1:30). Another affirming narrative of the Lord as Divine Warrior is His appearance to Joshua prior to the conquest of the land as the Captain of the Lord’s Host (Josh 5:13-15).
The Lord, Israel’s Divine Warrior works in an awesome way throughout the drama of Israel’s history. He terrorizes the enemy so that no one will be able to stand in opposition to Israel (Exod 15:13-14; Num 14:9; Deut 11:25). The most amazing display of His power is how he marshals supernatural weapons against the enemy (Exod 14:21; Josh 10:9-10). Although the Divine Warrior fights to defend and protect His people, He will fight against His people when they are disobedient to His covenant Word.
The Lord, the Divine Warrior not only fights for His people, He abides with them. The commanding General of Israel calls on Israel to be strong and courageous, to not tremble and to not be dismayed (Josh 1:6,7,9). This command to quietly trust rests on the foundation of the Warrior’s divine character and His unfailing presence with His people.
In what way can we appropriately apply this theme to the life of the New Testament believer and to the New Testament Church? How do we get to Jesus from here? What is the gospel news? What is the gospel living benefit?
The Divine Warrior Good News: Jesus Christ is the Divine Warrior. He is the Mighty One who has done great things (Lk 1:49ff). He is One transfigured like a divine warrior on the high mountain (Mk 9; Mt 17). He is the One who defeated the principalities and powers (Col 2:15; Eph 2:1-4). He is the One who defeated death (1 Cor 15:26). He is the One who will never leave you or forsake you (Heb 13:5). He is the victorious Lamb of God (Rev 17:14). John brings together the royal, the redemptive, and military themes under the image of the Lamb. He is worshipped in Rev 5:6, 8, 12. He opens the seal judgments (Rev 6:1, 3, 5, 7). He fights for righteousness and against unrighteousness (Rev 19:15, 21)
The Gospel Living Benefit for You and for Me. Jesus, our Divine Warrior is the God of Conquest for every battle of our life. According to 1 Corinthians 9:26, In the race of life we can run with certainty; we are not beating the air.
The Divine Warrior is the one who enables you to fight the good fight of faith. Consider 1 Timothy 1:18, you are able to wage a good warfare. In addition, 1 Timothy 6:12, you are able to fight the good fight of life. You will be able to lay hold of eternal life. Jesus, our Divine Warrior is the God of Conquest who battled for your soul (Eph 2:1-10). The “but God” of Eph 2:4 is pivotal in this section. Jesus, our Divine Warrior delivered us from the prince of the power of the air. Jesus, our Divine Warrior is a God of Grace. He is active; He is the agent of our redemption and deliverance. He is the one loving us; fighting for us; and accepting us. He is the one calling us to love and trust Him.
My thoughts in this post are informed by the work of Tremper Longman III and Daniel Reid in God is Warrior.