Joshua Generation – Part 2
Canaan (the “promised land”) – we must make the proper analogy. This is NOT a type of Heaven – there are giants, walls, enemies, battles to fight!
Israel is in the same place that we stand today – on the threshold of a new experience, on the way to a new level of living. They are a new generation, holding an old promise that has never yet been possessed!
Joshua 1:2-3 Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.
DARAK (“tread”) – “Take up your weapons and fight!” – command still used with Israeli army today – “every place that you FIGHT FOR, I will give you”
THEY ARE ABOUT TO TRANSITION INTO A BRAND NEW EXPERIENCE!
Joshua 3:3-5 And they commanded the people, saying, When ye see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it. Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore. And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the LORD will do wonders among you.
TRANSITIONS are difficult, but transitions are necessary if we are to be all that God has called us to be. The people of Israel have been landless for nearly five hundred years, and now God says – “Take the land.” It is YOUR Promised Land. And it is at this point in their history that God begins to transition His people from a nomadic culture and a slavery complex to a nation of conquering warriors. Wandering and bondage have been in their DNA for five centuries – that is all they have ever known.
But you can’t act like wanderers and think like slaves and function like conquerors at the same time!
God is not transitioning them (or us!) to a place where there are no more battles, but to a place where the battles are more STRATEGIC – and therefore the results are more SIGNIFICANT, influential and eternal.
THE LESSON OF JERICHO (last week) is that God's people don't simply fight FOR victory (silver trumpet) but FROM victory (ram’s horn), because the Lord has already won the battle! We are VICTORS, not VICTIMS!
There was an obstacle on the way to Jericho, and that was the JORDAN RIVER. It was one thing for two spies to slip across the river, but quite another for a few million Israelites (including women and children) to cross. They needed a miracle.
Crossing a body of water on dry land had happened before in their history – remember Moses and the Red Sea? But this time it was not one man holding up a rod, it was a TEAM of priests holding up the Ark of the Covenant. It was WHEN THEY ALL STEPPED IN that the miracle happened and the waters parted for them to walk across.
Acts 2:1-2 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
Spiritual TEAMWORK is certainly one of the lessons of the crossing of the Jordan. Another lesson is that Joshua’s generation used DIFFERENT METHODS than Moses’ generation to get the job done! But neither of those principles is what the Lord is directing us to today …
In the Bible, any time you see a HEAP OF STONES it means that (1) something died here, (2) God did something miraculous here, (3) we made a commitment to God here. Or, many times, it means all three happened!
At the Red Sea, God destroyed the power of Egypt that had held His people captive for so long. But at the Jordan River, God removed the obstacle that barred the way into their inheritance. When Satan’s captives are set free from sin through salvation, he doesn’t just ignore them and leave them in peace! He keeps putting barriers between them and their “promised land” – but he is ultimately powerless to prevent them from entering in!
There was a long list of enemies that could have prevented Israel from entering into their Promised Land – Amalekites, Ammonites, Amorites, Canaanites, Edomites, Gebalites, Geshurites, Gibeonites, Girgashites, Girzites, Hittites, Hivites, Horites, Jebusites, Kenites, Moabites, Perizzites. That’s why God told Israel to DRIVE THEM ALL OUT!
Numbers 33:51-53 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan; Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places: And ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it.
Matthew 11:12 (KJV) And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.
Matthew 11:12 (AMP) And from the days of John the Baptist until the present time, the kingdom of heaven has endured violent assault, and violent men seize it by force [as a precious prize—a share in the heavenly kingdom is sought with most ardent zeal and intense exertion].
The Jordan River is the watery boundary defining the Promised Land, and it is the first obstacle they come to. It represents every obstacle to come. That is why God has Israel set up a memorial to commemorate the miracle!
Joshua 4:4-9 4 Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man: 5 And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take ye up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel: 6 That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? 7 Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever. 8 And the children of Israel did so as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones out of the midst of Jordan, as the LORD spake unto Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, and carried them over with them unto the place where they lodged, and laid them down there. 9 And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests which bare the ark of the covenant stood: and they are there unto this day.
The monument of stones erected in Gilgal was a SIGN to Israel, a message for their hearts via their EYES rather than their EARS. It was an enduring sermon in stone. It signified that Israel had not crossed the Jordan by their own ability, but because of the miracle working power of God. And it was also a pledge of what God would yet do for them!
These stones were to be a memorial to Israel “forever” (Joshua 4:7). They were still in existence at the time of John the Baptist, who baptized in Bethabara (“the house of passage”) according to John 1:28. It is probably this memorial that John pointed to when he accosted the Pharisees …
Matthew 3:9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
But there was a SECOND monument set up by Joshua (4:9) in the MIDST of the Jordan River – WHERE ONLY GOD COULD SEE.
BEFORE JOSHUA EVER STEPPED OUT OF THE RIVER INTO HIS PROMISE, HE BUILT AN ALTAR IN THE MIDST OF HIS TRIAL!