Wednesday, Jul 26th

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Joshua 4

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The book of Joshua, amongst others, challenges the minds and hearts of so many who call themselves Christians. Modern Christians try to stay quiet, rather than speak of God’s greatness and His miraculous power. This is because their faith is on a knife-edge, and they are afraid to appear to be ‘stupid’ or of low intelligence.

This is why unbelievers think Christians have nothing to say. And even if they do, they agree with pseudo-science and self-professing intellectuals. I have a PhD, which proves something about my intelligence. Many I know also have PhDs in a variety of disciplines. None of us is stupid or of low intellect. So, we do not hide it and will challenge those loud-mouths who try to challenge us! Will you do so to hold your own and speak out for the Lord? You do not need a PhD, just truth and a willing heart.

Verses 1-3

  1. And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying,

  2. Take you twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man,

  3. And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests' feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night.

The people crossed the Jordan on a dry river bed. When all had passed over God spoke to Joshua about the 12 men previously chosen from the tribes as representatives. Each man was to pick up a large stone from the river bed and to bring it to the dry land on the West of the river. This was where the tribes would sleep for the night. It means the Israelites were now very close to Jericho, and could easily be seen from the walls, bringing terror to the inhabitants.

Verses 4-7

  1. Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man:

  2. 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:

  3. 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?

  4. 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.

Stone memorials play a big part in the Old Testament. Twelve stones are also mentioned in Revelation; each one represented an original Apostle. Here the twelve stones represented the twelve tribes, as confirmed by Joshua. The stones must have been very large and heavy, for the twelve men had to carry each one on their shoulders. Future generations of Hebrews would be told why the memorial stood where it did – to bring back the memory of God parting the waters of the Jordan. Christians should have many reasons to hold God in their memory, for things He has done for them. But, do we hold such in memory and praise God?

Verses 8-10

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. For the priests which bare the ark stood in the midst of Jordan, until every thing was finished that the LORD commanded Joshua to speak unto the people, according to all that Moses commanded Joshua: and the people hasted and passed over.

The twelve men complied with Joshua’s command and picked up a stone each. Joshua then built the twelve stones into a memorial on the water’s edge, at the exact spot where the priests held the Ark. They held it up until all the people had crossed over. The sense of this portion appears to tell us that the large stones were placed in the camp set up by the people, on the west side of the Jordan. Then, probably next day, Joshua had the twelve men carry the stones back into the Jordan to the east side, where the priests stood holding the Ark, at a point where the river water had overrun the bank.

Verses 11-13

  1. And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over, that the ark of the LORD passed over, and the priests, in the presence of the people.

  2. And the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh, passed over armed before the children of Israel, as Moses spake unto them:

  3. About forty thousand prepared for war passed over before the LORD unto battle, to the plains of Jericho.

The ark, then, I suggest, stayed on the east side of the river bed until everyone passed over. The soldiers from the tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh passed over before the rest of the people. The text advises that ALL the men of fighting age from Reuben and Gad bore arms, whilst only half of the men bore arms from the tribe of Manasseh, as promised by Moses in Numbers 32. The number thus prepared for war was 40,000. Yet, men from the remaining tribes were available if needed... a vast number. But, it was up to God. The soldiers faced Jericho, guarding the people in their temporary camp, which probably took up all, or most, of the five mile plain between the city and the river.

Verses 14-18

  1. On that day the LORD magnified Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they feared him, as they feared Moses, all the days of his life.

  2. And the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying,

  3. Command the priests that bear the ark of the testimony, that they come up out of Jordan.

  4. Joshua therefore commanded the priests, saying, Come ye up out of Jordan.

  5. And it came to pass, when the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD were come up out of the midst of Jordan, and the soles of the priests' feet were lifted up unto the dry land, that the waters of Jordan returned unto their place, and flowed over all his banks, as they did before.

When the Hebrews passed over the Jordan, taking many hours to do so given their numbers, Joshua was seen to be God’s man. He prophesied what would happen and it did, thereby testifying to His godly standing. “And they feared him, as they feared Moses”. Christians today have odd ideas about fear, whether it is fearing God or fearing men such as Joshua. Not wanting ‘fear’ to mean ‘fear’ they develop all kinds of word games to make the word into something less. But, they are very wrong.

‘Fearing’ here is yare’. It means to be afraid, something terrible or dreadful, to be fearful (afraid); it can also mean ’reverence’ – in this case because they are afraid. If a man consistently shows himself to be of God, doing His bidding, others should fear him, because he speaks truth and acts accordingly.

It has sometimes come back to me that Christians in my own city are ‘afraid’ of talking with me. Why? Because I do not join them in their silly word-games, playing their politically-correct agenda. I speak truth and will never tolerate lies or theological stupidity. So, they do not talk to me! This is so bad, they shun me!! Yet most nowadays have never met me, nor do those who shun me even know what I teach! But, with Joshua they had good reason to be afraid of him, for God was with him and their future depended on the faithfulness of God, through him.

Are Christians afraid of you? If not, do you personify truth and faith, godly teaching and holy doctrine? Or, do you waver and stumble, like so many, just to maintain a false community spirit that hides from truth and fosters all manner of bad teaching?

God spoke to Joshua: he had to command the priests to bring the Ark out of the Jordan onto the west bank. This he did. As soon as they stood on the bank, the river again began to flow, covering the once-dry river bed. Not only that, but the water also overflowed the banks as they did prior to the crossing. It was as much a miracle for wet mud and river bed to be completely dry, as it was for the river to stop flowing and to stand up like a wall. Would you relate this miracle as historical fact to unbelievers? Or, would you stay quiet and not mention it, for fear of their scorn? If so, why do you fear them (and thereby Satan who controls them) and not God, or His preachers?

Verses 19-24

  1. And the people came up out of Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and encamped in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho.

  2. And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal.

  3. And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones?

  4. Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land.

  5. For the LORD your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over:

  6. That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever.

The miracle of the crossing took place on the tenth day of the first month (remember – ancient Israelites did not name their months or years, but used numerals). The crossing took place five days short of the forty years God said they would wander the earth, so they could be fairly settled before the passover took place. This was in the middle of March (now called the month of Nisan).

The people made camp at Gilgal, east of Jericho. It was here that Samuel was later a judge, and where Saul was made king. Today, the site is uncertain, but we know it must have been in between Jericho and the Jordan. The people’s numbers meant they filled the space, which was a plain.

Again, God prompted Joshua to remind the people of the significance of the twelve stones set up on the river bank – the children must remember what had happened. They crossed over safely just as their fathers did at the Red Sea. Their God is the ONLY God, and mighty. Though primarily for the Hebrew nation, this amazing miracle was also for all the people of earth, who must be told of God’s existence and might, that they will fear God forever. The same word (fear) is used as for ‘fearful’.

It is very clear that Christians today are more afraid of men than of God. They stay silent instead of proclaiming boldly that God is with us, is real, and does extraordinary things, being the Creator of everything. But, how many Christians say this? Very few. And so they see almost no power in their lives... they are like dogs hit by a car on the road, feebly dragging themselves to the pavement, ready to die!

TELL people God is mighty! TELL them He created all things! TELL them He made them in six literal days! TELL them the miracles are REAL accounts. If they laugh look them straight in the eyes, don’t smile, and ask them WHY they do not believe! They will soon be embarrassed.

Always remember – no matter how high their IQ is, they are automatically stupid according to God! This is because they reject Him and say He does not exist. They make all kinds of excuses about miracles, and stumble around looking for ‘scientific’ answers. Read my book on miracles and see how you can strike their ideas down easily. You can do this firstly by relying on the Lord, and secondly by knowing your subject.... and it is a grave shame when a Christian knows nothing about God and His power! Knowledge of this kind takes effort and time and a love for truth. How are you in this respect... do you watch more TV than read your Bible?

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Published on www.christiandoctrine.com

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