This podcast is designed to help you better understand the Word of God — both the Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament is the story of the Covenant which God made with His chosen people Israel. And the New Testament is the story of the Cross which signifies the fulfillment of the Old Covenant with Israel and the formation of a New Covenant with redeemed people from many nations.
We always like to start out with the Word of God, and today’s passage of Scripture is from Joshua 3:15-17 which reads: “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,) 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. 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.”
Regarding this passage, Dr. R.C. Sproul notes in the Reformation Study Bible:
The language in this passage has similarities to Exodus 15 and Psalm 78, which describe the crossing of the Red Sea. The God of the Exodus is the God of the conquest. Because the Jordan is overflowing, the crossing will be even more remarkable than previously indicated. As instrumental in the miracle, the Ark conveys the powerful message of God’s faithfulness to His covenant promises.
Today’s Covenant & the Cross quote about the Bible is from Sir William Jones. He said: “The Bible is the light of my understanding, the joy of my heart, the fullness of my hope, the clarified of my affections, the mirror of my thoughts, the consoler of my sorrows, the guide of my soul through this gloomy labyrinth of time, the telescope went from heaven to reveal to the eye of man the amazing glories of the far distant world.”
Our topic for today is titled “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho — and Hazor Too (Part 5)” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin. And, I want to remind you to take advantage of our special offer. If you enjoy this podcast, please feel free to purchase a copy of this book — “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin. It is available on our website for just $20.
— ENTERING THE LAND
Joshua told the people to get ready and to consecrate themselves, since God was going to do something great the next day. As we look at this account, we realize that the special nature of their crossing of the Jordan River served a multiple purpose. First, it helped solidify Joshua as the new leader of the people. Second, it reminded the people of the earlier crossing of the Red Sea, thus unifying the nation. The older people, those who had been under twenty at Kadesh Barnea, would recall that event and relate it to the younger generations. Third, the crossing of the Jordan served to remind the nation of God’s power. We are told that the time picked for the crossing was when the Jordan was at flood stage. The Israelites had been camped across the river for several months and could have crossed earlier, so this timing made the supernormal nature of the upcoming event even more dramatic. Not only would it remind the nation of the power of God, it would also serve to warn the nations in the land.
The process was very ordered and dramatic. The priests with the Ark went first. As they stepped into the river, it stopped flowing and backed up several miles upstream. The priests moved to the middle of the river channel and then stood there, holding the Ark. At this point, the people crossed over. Before the priests were allowed to move out of the riverbed, Joshua had twelve men (a man from each tribe) take twelve large stones from the riverbank and build a cairn in the middle of the riverbed. They also took twelve large stones from the middle of the river and built a cairn on the west bank. After these monuments had been built, the priests were allowed to join their brothers on the west bank of the Jordan River in the land God had promised. After all this, the river began to flow once again.
Historically, earthquakes have blocked the Jordan River, backing up the flow of the water. Some have argued that some such natural event allowed the Israelites to cross. Even if an earthquake occurred, however, the timing was amazing. Joshua announced to the people three days in advance that they were going to cross over. Then, just as the priests reached the water, the flow stopped and remained stopped until the people had crossed and the monuments were erected. Then, as the priests left the riverbed, the flow began again.
The spectacular crossing of the Jordan served one other function. It frightened the inhabitants of the land so that they did not dare to attack Israel at their camp on the west bank. This was important, because after the crossing, God required the men who had not been circumcised to undergo that ritual. While this was an important act to show their inclusion within the Abrahamic covenant, it also served to incapacitate the army for several days. This vulnerable condition reminded the original audience of how God was indeed their Suzerain. As such, God would take care of His own when they were obedient.
As the men healed, Passover time arrived, and they celebrated the festival that reminded them of their deliverance from Egypt. As we noted in chapter 7, associated with Passover is the Feast of Firstfruits—the time when the first of the harvest is brought to God. On this occasion, the nation enjoyed the firstfruits of their new land, and with that the manna stopped.
It must have been a very exciting holiday, given that the people had now reached the objective for which they had been working for forty years. At the same time, it was probably a very sobering moment as they now confronted the idea of the actual conquest. But God had given them reasons for encouragement. The constant provision of manna for forty years showed that their Suzerain was indeed taking care of them. They had conquered the regions on the other side of the Jordan, so their troops had already been exposed to battle—and had seen victory. Furthermore, they had the reports from the spies in Jericho. God was working in the hearts of the inhabitants of the land, and victory seemed certain.
Lord willing, we will continue this topic in our next broadcast.
Let’s Pray —
I am your host, Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International. This podcast is designed to help you better understand the Word of God — both the Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament is the story of the Covenant which God made with His chosen people Israel. And the New Testament is the story of the Cross which signifies the fulfillment of the Old Covenant with Israel and the formation of a New Covenant with redeemed people from many nations.
Before we close, dear friend, I want to remind you that the most important thing you should know about the Bible is that it is the story of God working to save humanity from sin and the consequences of sin. He did this by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins and take the punishment that we deserve on Himself. Romans 5:8 says, “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, and you want to get to know Him today, here’s how.
All you have to do is believe “that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” and you will be saved. The Bible states in the book of Romans 10:9, 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will.
Until next time, remember the word of God is the foundation to a successful life. God bless.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.