Entering the Promised Land
March 3 - Nº 62 Joshua 3:7 – 6:2
The next morning, Joshua instructed the priests to carry the Ark of God down to the Jordan River. It was time to cross into the land God had promised to them. But it was also the time of year when the river overflowed its banks. The water was deep and treacherous. However, God was already at work eighteen miles upstream. Earlier He had caused the flow to stop and a great wall of water to form at a town called Adam. His timing was perfect! As soon as the priests’ feet touched water, it trickled to a stop right where they were.The priests carried the Ark to the center of the riverbed and stood there while the entire Israelite nation crossed on dry ground. God told Joshua to select twelve men—one from each tribe. Each of the men was to transport a large stone that had been in the middle of the river to the place where they would camp that evening. When all the people had crossed, the priests carried the Ark to the other side. As soon as their feet touched the bank, the waters rushed back, raging dangerously over the rocks again. The people recognized God’s power and the fact that He had chosen Joshua to be the one to lead them into their new land. Joshua set up the stones as a monument at their campsite—a place called Gilgal. In the future, when their children asked what the stones meant, the Israelites could tell them how God had miraculously stopped the waters of the river, allowing them to walk across on dry land. Word spread quickly, and soon all the people of Canaan (the land the Israelites had just entered) heard what had happened. But instead of being filled with awe and respect, their hearts were filled with fear. A few days later, the Israelites celebrated the Passover. This was a memorial feast reminding them how God had miraculously rescued the nation out of Egypt (see #44 - February 13). The following day, they gathered and ate some of the produce in Canaan. When they got up early the next morning to gather manna, there wasn’t any on the ground. They no longer needed it because they could now harvest food from their own land. While the people were still camped at Gilgal, Joshua looked toward Jericho. He saw a man standing there with a sword in his hand. Joshua walked toward him and asked, “Are you for us, or for our enemies?” “Neither” the man replied, “I am the commander of the Lord’s army. I have just arrived.” Joshua fell and worshiped him and asked what God wanted him to do. The commander replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” Joshua obeyed. Then the Lord said to him, “I have given Jericho into your hand, along with its king and its fighting men. You won’t even need to fight!”
Do you take time to remember the amazing things God has done for you? Was there a difficult test or task that He recently helped you through? Or a decision He helped you make? Or a time He miraculously filled a need? We must find tangible ways to memorialize His special deeds so we can look back and recall His goodness.