Sunday October 7th
Joshua 4 and 5
The main focus of Joshua chapter 4 is a memorial sign that God wants the people to establish after crossing the Jordan. We see this in verses 1-3:
Now when all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord spoke to Joshua, saying, 2 “Take for yourselves twelve men from the people, one man from each tribe, 3 and command them, saying, ‘Take up for yourselves twelve stones from here out of the middle of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet are standing firm, and carry them over with you and lay them down in the lodging place where you will lodge tonight.’”
And then in verses 6 and 7 Joshua explains to the people what the significance of these stones is:
6 Let this be a sign among you, so that when your children ask later, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ 7 then you shall say to them, ‘Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.’ So these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever.”
That’s the value of our testimony! We proclaim the power that God has displayed in our lives – for all to see!
In chapter 5 God asks them to remember another sign:
2 At that time the Lord said to Joshua, “Make for yourself flint knives and circumcise again the sons of Israel the second time.” 3 So Joshua made himself flint knives and circumcised the sons of Israel at Gibeath-haaraloth. 4 This is the reason why Joshua circumcised them: all the people who came out of Egypt who were males, all the men of war, died in the wilderness along the way after they came out of Egypt. 5 For all the people who came out were circumcised, but all the people who were born in the wilderness along the way as they came out of Egypt had not been circumcised.
This circumcision was necessary because the old generation of Hebrews that originally came out of Egypt wasn’t going to be allowed to enter into the Promised Land because of all their grumbling and complaining along the way. But in His great mercy and grace, God was raising up a new generation of Israelites to inherit the covenant promises. Keep in mind that God’s real desire was that His people would live with circumcised hearts.
Look at Deuteronomy 30:6 “Moreover the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live.”
Now look at what the Lord pronounces over them in verse 9:
Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” So the name of that place is called Gilgal to this day.
When God says that He has “rolled away the reproach of Egypt”, He is indicating that He has removed their shame and their pain.
This was crucial for them to enter into the fullness of what God had promised to them. And it’s crucial for us as well, which is why we want to ask God for a greater measure of inner healing for our past wounds.
In addition to renewing the circumcision observance, the Israelites also remembered to keep the Passover feast. And an interesting thing happened the very next day:
12 The manna ceased on the day after they had eaten some of the produce of the land, so that the sons of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate some of the yield of the land of Canaan during that year.
The fact that the manna ceased was an indication that a new era has begun. God had provided food for the people in the wilderness, but now they would eat of the fruit of the Promised Land. Isn’t that true for us as well?
Look at what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:1-3
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, 3 for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?
In a sense, the manna was like milk. God had to hand-feed the people along the way, the same way that a mother feeds her baby. But now God was expecting the people of Israel to be mature enough to gather their own food in the Promised Land.
There is one more interesting encounter at the end of this chapter:
13 Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” 14 He said, “No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the Lord.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, “What has my lord to say to his servant?” 15 The captain of the Lord’s host said to Joshua, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.
This commander of the Lord’s army is actually considered to be an Old Testament appearance of Jesus. There are several times in the Old Testament when Jesus does that – shows up in the form of a human being.
One reason why we can believe that this was Jesus and not just some angel is that the “captain of the host” allows Joshua to bow down to Him, which is something that angels never allowed people to do.
We also see that Joshua is in the presence of the same God that appeared to Moses in the burning bush. That’s why Joshua is told to “Take off your sandals” - the same thing that Moses was told in Exodus 3:5.
But what’s important for us to realize when it comes to inner healing is this significant point:
Jesus was there with Joshua, but Joshua didn’t know that the Son of God was right there beside him!