Read: Joshua 4
Finally! There was no more waiting, no more wandering, no more preparation, no more training, it was time to march forward into battle, to claim the inheritance that Yahweh had promised Abraham generations before.
Forty years before, the Hebrews had been cursed by God for their lack of faith when the twelve spies returned with a report of the fearsome tribes that inhabited the land of Canaan. All the men of fighting age, twenty years and older, had died during the years of wandering and in their place were their children and grandchildren. Only a portion of these Hebrews had walked out of Egypt and through the Red Sea, and even some of them would have been too young to remember the miraculous events or the way the waters split in two.
Can you imagine the awe these people experienced as they walked on dry ground into the Land of Promise, just as their parents and grandparents had done so many years ago? The event served to confirm Joshua’s divine appointment as the inheritor of Moses’s leadership and confirmed Yahweh’s promise that he was with them as they marched into battle.
Since the waters were cut off near the town of Adam which is quite a ways north of Shittim where they were encamped, it would have been quite simple for the large company of Hebrews to walk side by side across the river—a line of men, women, children, wagons, and beasts stretched for many miles. It must have been quite a sight to the Canaanites who were keeping watch on the horde of invaders.
Considering that it was the height of the spring harvest and the snowmelt from Mt. Hermon had caused the Jordan to become a rushing river overflowing its banks, too dangerous to cross, I would imagine the King of Jericho would have been quite shocked that the multitude he feared was suddenly in his territory, armed for battle, and marching in organized formation toward his city. Jericho is only about a two hour walk from the Jordan River, there must have been quite a bit of panic within that mighty high-walled fortress that day.
Before the waters returned to their normal flow, however, Joshua ordered one man from each tribe to collect twelve large stones from the dry bed of the river to be used as a memorial at Gilgal, their next campsite, which was within sight of the city they were about to attack.
These stones would inspire generations of Israelites to recount the story of the Exodus out of Egypt and the journey to Canaan to their children, to remember the faithfulness of Yahweh, how their ancestors had been rescued by his hand, and how their presence in the Land struck fear into the hearts of their enemies. They were prepared to celebrate the victory they had not even won yet.
We should be just as prepared for battle as the twelve tribes were that day, outfitted with the armor of God, the orders of our Commander firm in our heart, the Word of God leading the way, and completely convinced that the victory is already determined before we even step foot into the rushing waters.
If we are in covenant with Yeshua, then the Ruach HaKodesh (the Holy Spirit, or literally the Breath of God) lives within us. The same power that inhabited the Ark of the Covenant at the center of the multitude through the wilderness, and led the Israelites to victory at Jericho, resides within us. And since the enemy has no choice but to flee in the presence of the shekinah glory of God, let’s embrace the freedom to be a spirit-filled warrior for Yahweh, without fear or hesitation.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
What times in your life do you consider to be ‘wilderness wanderings’? What valuable lessons did you learn during those times of struggle? If you are in a time of testing or trial right now, what is Yahweh teaching you in the desert?
What memorial stones, tangible reminders of past victories or miraculous provision, do you look to in order to give you courage for the long fight against the Enemy? How does the knowledge that the Spirit of God, and therefore his power and might, resides within you change your perspective of your daily struggles?
Review Ephesians 6:10-18, the passage about the armor of God. How are you actively outfitting yourself, in preparation for battle, with the various pieces of protective covering and weaponry described therein?
Who in your life do you consider fellow soldiers in your personal battle against the Enemy? In what ways do you support and fight for each other on the battlefield? If you are feeling alone on that battlefield today, take some time today to thank the Lord that although men may fail you, he will never leave, nor forsake you. Thank him that although the fight may be long and hard, he is your guaranteed victory!