It is not difficult to determine the major theme of the book of Joshua. Chapter 1 has only 18 verses, but makes a point to say the same things over and over.
Take a look...
"Cross the Jordan into the land." - Joshua 1:2
"I will give you what I promised Moses." - Joshua 1:3
"You will inherit the land I swore to give." - Joshua 1:6
"Three days from now you will take the land." - Joshua 1:11
"The Lord has granted you this land." - Joshua 1:13
"You may occupy your own land." - Joshua 1:15
"I will be with you." - Joshua 1:5
"I will never leave you." - Joshua 1:5
"I will never forsake you." - Joshua 1:5
"The Lord your God will be with you." - Joshua 1:9
"The Lord your God be with you." - Joshua 1:17
"Be strong and courageous." - Joshua 1:6
"Be strong and courageous." - Joshua 1:7
"Be strong and courageous." - Joshua 1:9
"Be strong and courageous." - Joshua 1:18
As we continue through our 2020 Bible Project, we have now begun reading this book of Joshua. This is an action packed, if not dangerous and eyebrow raising, part of the story centered on God's people taking the land of Canaan by force.
In the book of Genesis, God promised to give the land of Canaan to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In the book of Exodus, God delivers those descendants from slavery in Egypt, and begins leading them towards Canaan intent on fulfilling that promise. The book of Numbers ends with Moses and the people conquering some land on the East side of the Jordan river, and then Deuteronomy contains a long speech from Moses, including the last installment of God's Law, and a commission, and then with his eyes on the "promise land" across the Jordan from a mountain, Moses dies.
The book of Joshua takes it from here. Fueled by the promise and power of God, Israel will take this land, and then it will be divided and distributed among the twelve tribes. While there is much left in the story of God, this is a major moment in history. God promised this land. God is delivering His people to this land.
But this conquest of Canaan was no easy task for Israel. It was fraught with danger and overwhelming odds against them.
Much like your life, perhaps.
This is why there is chapter 1. It serves us today as a meditation on the promise and presence of God, and the resulting strength and courage that we need.