God Magnifies Joshua
It is now time for the Children of Israel to enter the Promised Land and occupy it. They are on the east side of Jordan north of the Dead Sea (which lies 1,285 feet below sea level). The stroll into Canaan is not without obstacles however. For instances there is this river called Jordan that separates them from the land of milk and honey. The Jordan is a fast moving river dropping 580 feet in 68 miles (an average of 8.5 feet per mile). It is also at flood stage at this time.
The terrain is inhospitable, where they started out in Shittem receives less then 2 inches of annual rain fall. They are still receiving manna, God has not discontinued that. Their journey across the Jordan is not on flat ground. Shittem appears to be at sea level but they must descend into the Jordan Valley (a descent of about 1,000 feet). Then they must ascend to Jericho which is at -840 feet. A possible 200 foot climb.
These figures were ascertained from the Oxford Bible Atlas. There are several maps showing the topography, climate, vegetation and where the tribes settled. It is rich in knowledge regarding the area, a valuable book to have in one's library. Those who are familiar with that area realize that the journey is not an easy one. For the rest of us it behooves us to become familiar with Canaan so that we may appreciate the magnitude of what God has done for the Old Testament Believers.
So now it is time to put ourselves in Joshua's shoes. He is following a great and notable leader, Moses. The people believe that they can now enter and occupy the Promised Land but, they need to trust their leader. Let us see what God does for Joshua and the Children of Israel.
The tribes have now moved from Shittem down to Jordan and they camp there for three days watching this river at flood stage. God then tells Joshua to prepare everyone to follow the ark of the covenant, yet stay 3,000 feet away. They are going to cross this swiftly flowing flooding river.
:5 And Joshua said unto the people,
for to morrow the Lord will do wonders among you.
:6 And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying,
Take up the ark of the covenant,
and pass over before the people.
And they took up the ark of the covenant,
and went before the people.
:7 And the Lord said unto Joshua,
This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel,
that they may know that,
as I was with Moses,
so I will be with thee.
:8 And thou shalt command the priests that bear the ark of the covenant, saying,
When ye are come to the brink of the water of Jordan,
ye shall stand still in Jordan.
:9 And Joshua said unto the children of Israel,
Come hither, and hear the words of the Lord your God.
:10 And Joshua said,
Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you,
and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites,
and the Hittites,
and the Hivites,
and the Perizzites,
and the Girgashites,
and the Amorites,
and the Jebusites.
:11 Behold, the ark of the covenant
of the Lord of all the earth
passeth over before you into Jordan.
:12 Now therefore take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel,
out of every tribe a man.
:13 And it shall come to pass,
as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the Lord,
the Lord of all the earth,
shall rest in the waters of Jordan,
that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off
from the waters that come down from above;
and they shall stand upon an heap.
So what do you think happened. The people balked and said, "You are out of your mind, you are not Moses, Jordan will sweep us away, why did you bring us here? It is better that we stayed in the desert and wandered around there. At least we wouldn't have to deal with this raging river." NO! That is not what they did.
:14 And it came to pass,
when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan,
and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people;
:15 And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan,
and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water,
(for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,) [harvest is April]
:16 That the waters
which came down from above
stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam,
that is beside Zaretan:
and those that came down toward the sea of the plain,
even the salt sea,
failed, and were cut off:
and the people passed over right against Jericho.
:17 And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord
stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan,
and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground,
until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.
:14 On that day the Lord magnified Joshua in the sight of all Israel;
and they feared him,
as they feared Moses,
all the days of his life.
Do you think that took some intestinal fortitude? Do you think they had to believe God was going to make a way where there didn't seem to be a way? Do you think God moved the water before the priests stepped into? No--God turned off the faucet when they acted on the revelation that God had given Joshua and not before! What an example of His mighty power. I know that this bolstered the people's trust in God and confidence in Joshua.
God also had the those twelve men select stones out of the river to set up as a memorial to remind them and their children of God's might.
:20 And those twelve stones,
which they took out of Jordan,
did Joshua pitch in Gilgal.
:21 And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying,
When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying,
What mean these stones?
:22 Then ye shall let your children know, saying,
Israel came over this Jordan on dry land.
:23 For the Lord your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you,
until ye were passed over,
as the Lord your God did to the Red sea,
which he dried up from before us,
until we were gone over:
:24 That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord,
that it is mighty:
that ye might fear the Lord your God for ever.
God had not changed. He is still mighty in our lives.
II Corinthians 10
:3 For though we walk in the flesh,
we do not war after the flesh:
:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal,
but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
:5 Casting down imaginations,
and every high thing
that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God,
and bringing into captivity
every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Our battle is spiritual. There may be personal battles left to fight but Jesus Christ won the war for us. We can be victorious through him by believing God, by not listening to the five-senses circumstances. We must cast down the worldly thoughts that bombard us that are against the truth of His Word and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. Confess His Word, confess His promises and He shall perform His Word in our lives.