Crossing the Jordan

*image originated here

Joshua 1 – 5

It is finally time to enter the promised land. Moses is dead and Joshua is taking charge. God tells Joshua not to be afraid or discouraged because He is going with him. The Israelites are to gather up their belongings and ready themselves to cross the Jordan river. Meanwhile, Joshua sends to spies in secret to see the land paying especial attention to the city Jericho.

Upon arriving in Jericho these two spies enter the house of a prostitute named Rahab. The kings of the land have heard that these two men have come to spy out the land for Israel and are in her house. When they come to kill the spies Rahab hides them. In return, she demands that when Israel takes possession of Canaan they will be kind to her family as she was kind to them. The spies agree, but tell her they will not be held responsible if she does not hang a scarlet cord out the window on the wall side where she is lowering them down to escape. This way all of Israel will know whose home it is and pass by. They will also not be held responsible if any of her family leaves that house. Rahab agrees and sends the spies on their way to safety.

They return to Joshua and tell him not to fear the people of Canaan’s hearts are melting in terror because of all God has done for them.

Rahab informed him that all the land was aware of how God brought them out of Egypt across the Red Sea and defeated the kings of Og and Bashan. The Canaanites do not want to face Israel in battle because “the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on earth below.” (Joshua 2:11b)

That very day she hangs the scarlet cord out the window in anticipation of the coming war.

Early the next morning Israel set out to where they would cross the Jordan. God commanded that the Ark of the Covenant be carried to the middle of the river and the water would be dried up just as the Red Sea dried up before them. Out of the river, they were to take 12 stones to set up in the next camp as a memorial to the LORD. All this was done has God said and the people crossed over safely on dry ground.

The kings of Canaan heard of this and lost their courage. Because of God’s doing miracles through Joshua the people now respect him as they respected Moses and will do so for the rest of their lives.

Finally, God demands that the whole nation be circumcised. The men who came out of Egypt were circumcised, bu they died in the desert because of their disobedience. Their sons have been raised up in their place. However, no one has been circumcised in the desert along the journey. Israel obeys God, becomes circumcised and rests in the camp until they are healed.

‘”Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.’ So the place is called Gilgal to this day.”

Joshua 5:9

As Joshua neared Jericho he finds a man standing in front of him drawn a sword in hand. Naturally, Joshua wants to know if he is going to have to fight this guy so asks him the basic question, friend or foe? The man says he is neither, but He is the commander of the LORD’s army and so He has come.

Joshua falls on his face in reverence and just as God said from the burning bush to Moses, Joshua is commanded to removes his sandals because the place on which he stands is holy ground.

The commander of the LORD’s army has come and the nation of Israel is arrayed for battle. I am seriously excited to watch how the LORD will at long last fulfill His ancient promise to Abraham by driving out all their enemies!

 

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