Jesus Our Conqueror
Diving into the Book of Joshua
facilitated by Ptr. Joedy
“God gives and Israel inherits”
Humility is the proper place for the grace of God to manifest. Consequently, when the grace of God manifests, we are humbled and put into our place.
Such is the case with Joshua. He was brought into his role of saving the nation of Israel, based on the covenant God made with his ancestor Abraham so many generations ago. Up to this point the Israelites were sustained in the wilderness by manna, and now they were entering into the Promised Land, one “flowing with milk and honey”. The book of Joshua covers the nation of Israel crossing into the promised land, possessing it, and dividing it among the tribes. He ended with a call to the tribes to serve, hence his iconic line – “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Our life’s journey won’t become complete and fulfilling until we learn to trust Jesus to be our captain, who leads us to our Promised Land. We see Jesus through Joshua, as a Leader, as a Successor, as a Commander, and as our Redeemer.
Let’s look at Joshua’s calling, as read in Joshua 1:1-9. Moses chose Joshua, who shared with him a promise of possession; it ends with the very memorable verse which mentions for Joshua to be ‘be strong and courageous’, for God was with Him. Here, we see a definitive secret to Joshua’s success – The Lord was simply WITH him. Joshua led one nation to one promised land, a sign of what – or rather, who was to come: Jesus was One man who was given all nations (Psalm 2).
After Joshua’s calling, Joshua 3-4 tells of the Israelites crossing the Jordan River. The Ark of the Covenant was to be ‘walked’ into the middle of the river, and when this was executed, the river parted ways for the rest of the nation to pass through safely. Pastor Joedy points out that this is showing us how God goes ahead – rather, how His presence does go before us to ensure we have sure paths.
Personally, this means that we can cross safely. I can see what’s in front of me, and I can step forward one step after another. More than God giving the direction, just to know that He is present as I cross is such a huge help. I have peace no matter what happens, but there it is – the presence of God is in the middle of the river, bringing us through – but more than this is tells us that we must constantly be moving from one side to another.
What river are we in right now?
After the crossing, things take quite a strange turn. We’re reminded of circumcision that happened within the men of the tribes. Pastor Joedy took time to talk about how circumcision is the ‘rolling away of regrets, sins, and sufferings’, therefore bringing us into a new season of grace. He pulls up Philippians 3:3, Ezekiel 36:26-27, as well as Hebrews 8:10-12.
Pastor Joedy tells us of the three aspects of our being, and how all three – mind, soul and spirit (?) were circumcised as we were made new creations through Christ. After circumcision they seemed to have celebrated Passover, which was quite timely as a reminder to them, as well as motivation for them that as they were rescued from Egypt, so they would be rescued INTO the Promised Land.
Some time later in the book of Joshua, Jesus Himself appeared as the Commander of the Army of God. We can say that this is Jesus because if it were an angel, He would not have asked Joshua to take off his sandals, for he was on holy ground. In this encounter Jesus tells Joshua that the nation is called not only to purge the land but to be a blessing to it. We’re reminded of John 3:17 where Christ says God sent Him not to judge the world, but to save it.
Jesus also points out that He is neither friend nor foe, only to point out that He did not choose Israel for their righteousness, but because of HIS righteousness.
So many beautiful points here and I don’t know if I could catch up.
The crossing was apparently one of many new beginnings, just as our Salvation in Christ is a new beginning ushering in new beginnings as well. But even as we talk about new beginnings, Christ shows, just by being Commander, that there is an enemy to defeat – this is the one who comes to steal, kill and destroy. Christ came back then, and was eventually born into this world to say those words – Just as He helped Joshua into the Promised Land, so we ourselves were helped into life, and life abundant.
Through Joshua we see how Jesus is a complete Commander, One who brings us to conquer, just as He keeps us in protection. We are eventually brought into the situations surrounding the conquest of Jericho. Joshua’s spies encountered Rahab, and she assisted them.
Pastor Joedy took some time here to mention how Rahab was mentioned in the book of James, and how people take ‘faith without works is dead’ on its own without context. He points out that it is the preaching of the Gospel that allows faith to arise in us, and it is this faith that produces the works. By no means is works to be used as a gauge to measure faith – Faith comes FIRST. See, just as Rahab HEARD of the Israelites and how God moved in their previous conquests, so she did not hesitate to work to help the spies.
The spies instructed Rahab to hang a scarlet rope out of her window to indicate that they would be spared when the invasion would happen. This is another picture of the faith that saves us – a faith that was established first by the words of grace shared to us, propels us to move, and also propels us to move in trust.
This was all covered within an hour. There are clearly more indications of how Jesus is seen in the book of Joshua, but I think I can stick with this for now.
We give God the glory, and we are so thankful for the story of Joshua, for through it we see yet another picture, another perspective of Christ and His finished work in our own lives today.