Thursday 28th February
The moment had come. Finally it was time to cross over the Jordan River into the Promised Land. What anticipation and excitement there must have been. We join the story in verse 9 where Joshua prepares the eager crowds for what is about to happen. He first tells them in full confidence and assurance that God will “without fail”, drive out Israel’s enemies and give the land to them. Secondly, Joshua tells the Israelites that God Himself will go before them (the ark of the covenant was a sign of God’s manifested glory on earth, hence its place in the Holy of Holies). Thirdly, that God will make a way so that they will be able to pass through the Jordan River and into the Promised Land.
Joshua’s first point comes from both an assurance in what God had promised the Israelites and the confidence in the knowledge that what God had spoken to Joshua, would come to pass. The promise was that of an inheritance in a land flowing with milk and honey. The knowledge was that God was with him as a leader “as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.” Knowing who you are in Christ and your purpose in His plan for your life, leads to a life of confidence and assurance that whatever trials you face, God is with you.
Joshua’s second point was again confidence in God’s presence with them. This is grace. A rebellious people group, unworthy of God’s presence, find God not only with them but going before them to prepare the way for them. God is so gracious that in our battles, we don’t even need to fight for God goes before us in victory. In verse 4 the commanders of the armies of Israel inform them that the Ark of the Covenant was going ahead of them as a guide and as a representation that God will go before them to prepare a way so they can pass over the river. This was new territory for the Israelites. Verse 4 states that “you (they) have not gone this way before.” We too must remember that when God leads us into paths unknown, He not only is with us but also goes before for us in victory as our guide.
Finally, Joshua’s third point is assurance that the victory had already been won. Interestingly, the Israelites left Egypt by passing through the red sea and now here God has led them to another hopeless situation so that He may show them that their faith should not be in their own strength or any other gods but only in the One true God, Yahweh. Although humanly speaking it was a dead end, for God it was an opportunity to show His grace and favour. Only Joshua and Caleb had seen the parting of the red sea and now here God shows Himself strong again by making a way through the Jordan River. The difference is, is that upon passing the river, the Israelites did not start a wandering journey into the wilderness, but rather stepped into their destiny, finally in the place where God wanted them to be.
We too must remember firstly who we are in Christ, our vision and purpose. Secondly, that we can only accomplish or walk in God’s will for our lives when we are submitted fully to His presence and are guided by the Holy Spirit. And thirdly, we must remember that the victory has already been won, so we must stand in boldness and assurance in Christ’s finished work. When God is on our side, we never loose. We may lose the fight sometimes but the war had already been won.