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Lessons from Joshua

March 13, 2016

Joshua 4:23

 for the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed over…”

crossing_the_red_sea
Right now I am reading through the book of Joshua, this is such an amazing book to read. There is so much spiritual and practical application riddled throughout this book.

However today I want to highlight on of the great miracles in the Bible; the crossing of the river Jordan. Here is a little background on this crossing:

Copied from: mudpreacher.org

In order to understand how the river appeared when it was thus out of its banks, let me state that the valley fourteen miles wide, lies about seventy-five feet higher than the bed of the river. As you walk across the valley toward the river, you come to a bluff, not very steep usually–in some places too steep for a horse to go down, in others a gradual slope–and you look down seventy-five feet into a river bottom, from a half mile to a mile wide. Now a river which falls as rapidly as the Jordan (falling nearly seven hundred feet in sixty miles) has a rapid current when it is low; but when it is so swollen that it leaves its crooked channel, and its waters rush in a direct line toward their resting place, we can see at once with what a terrific force it plunges along. And as that valley is full of small trees and underbrush, thick and rank of growth, you can see that as the water would be tearing its way over the brush and the tree tops, it would be a fearful sight to look at, and to think of marching across it would appear preposterous. THE RIVER JORDAN by J. W. MCGARVEY. 1894

It seems safe to say that we would all be in agreement that this was truly and amazing miracle. God orchestrated this supernatural experience for so many reasons, that fill volumes of commentaries.

What I want to highlight is the things God does after this event.

In no way would I dare to place God in a box, and say God is conditional or non-conditional. God is God, and He has shown so many different examples of His works, blessing and wrath throughout scripture.

Although this morning God gives us a glimpse of a non-conditional miracle.

In Joshua 5, two things really stood out to me that reveal the brokenness of man, yet the love and mercy of a Holy God.

Joshua 5:7

Then Joshua circumcised their sons whom He raised up in their place; for they were uncircumcised, because they had not been circumcised on the way.

Verses 2-9 illustrate the describe how the Israelites how declined in their walk with God. They had drifted away from the Abrahamic covenant, which required all men to be circumcised.

Why was this important to God? The most important reason I see is that it was about obedience. This obedience required their heart to trust in the promises of God, and to obey God’s commands to His people.

God commanded Joshua to circumcise the people after the great miracle! In my finite brain this really amazed me. I many times feel like I need to do certain things to please God, then He will bless me. Or I need to be a certain way before God can use me. Although there is a time and place, and situation where this may be true, we must not always put this demand on ourselves.

In God’s grace and mercy He knows that we are all works in progress. He does not expect us to be perfect before He begins to work in your life.

Joshua 5:13

And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood 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?”

The lifting of eyes in the Bible generally precedes some type of prideful moment. Here was have little ole Joshua who in a very short time has gone from faithful sidekick to an extremely powerful leader.

If you continue reading this passage, verses 13-15, you see that this man was the commander of the Lords Army. None other than Jesus Christ Himself showed up on Joshua’s doorstep.

What was this about? Well in a commentary I read by J. Vernon McGee, it was put very clearly that pride was beginning to infiltrate Joshua’s heart. Joshua, looking over a camp of several million people, all 12 tribes of Israel, crossing the impassible Jordan river, and thinking, I am the leader.

This commander shows up and brings Joshua to his knees in worship, tells him that he is now on holy ground. Clearly indicating the presence of God. Reminding Joshua who is really in control, and who the real leader is.

Amazing to me, is that God still works miracles among stubborn and prideful hearts. I am guilty of both of those. Yet it brings me great joy to know that God can still work in our lives. That through the ups and downs of life, He wants us to continually seek Him.

Our modern day gospel gets twisted and sometimes teaches that before we come to God, before we can truly seek Him we must work out all the junk first. We must be squeaky clean, sin free Christians, then and only then will God receive us and love us.

Complete lies brothers. God does want us to purify our hearts and minds, but in His grace He knows it is a process.

Isaiah 1:18

“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.

Just don’t twist the gospel.

Galatians 5:13

 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

 

 

 

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