Joshua 4- 6 The Power of God

Today we are going to see how God uses His people to accomplish the impossible. We are going to see how God uses strategies that do not make sense so people will know that it is God at work and not just man.

Have you ever had a difficult task? What did you do to prepare for it? Read books? Get advice from others who are succesful? Do you just go for it and chalk it up to trial and error? What if there was something that was so much better than all the ways the world tells you to go about doing things?

We are going to learn how we can know what to do when lifes obstacles are bigger than anything we have ever faced and who we can turn to when the task ahead seems impossible.

Read Joshua 6:1-21

1)   The Power of God removes obstacles

 Before the people could get to Jericho the people of God still had to cross the Jordan river. This was not an easy task and the timing of the crossing could not be at a worse time.

Joshua 3:14-17 So when the people set out from their tents to pass over the Jordan with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people,15 and as soon as those bearing the ark had come as far as the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest),16 the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite Jericho.17 Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan.

The scripture is clear that the banks are overflowing which means to cross the Jordan this time of year would have been twice as wide as normal. One hundred yards wide is what the river would have been at this point in the year. Not only was the River twice as wide but because of the melting snow and rain in the Mountains it would have made the river have a rougher current even more like white water rafting conditions.

The Crossing of the Red Sea gets a lot of attention because God split the Waters  and critics of the Bible try and come up with explanations for it, but with the crossing of the Jordan they do not have any explanations. God did not divide the waters like He did when they left Egypt, this time God stopped the water upstream at the City of Adam while the people crossed directly across from Jericho.

Crossing the Jordan Map

The scriptures make it clear that they were crossing on dry ground which makes it even a bigger miracle. The People and all of their possesions did not struggle to cross in a muddy pit but were able to walk across the river as if it were a road.

The Priest, with the Ark of the Covenant, stood in the middle of the river bed while all the people crossed the Jordan river.  With this many people crossing some estimate the line of people would have been a mile long. This would have taken some time and was probably observed by farmers on the other side of the river.

Up to this point the people of the City of Jericho would have known that Israel was on the other side of the river and they would of had a false sense of security because of the waters being uncrossable.

The first thing you have to know is that there is no obstacle that God cannot remove if He chooses to.

When you have that obstacle in your way that you cannot get over or get through you just need to trust God to take care of it.

2)   The Power of God must be remembered

Joshua 4:1-3 When all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua,“Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man,and command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests’ feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.’”

So after all the people cross God sends a representative to go back and get 12 stones representing each tribe of Israel. Some believe that not only did the 12 go and pick a stone near where the priest were but that they also took stones and placed them in the middle of the river as well.

The Man was to carry a stone as big as he could carry.(Joshua 4:5) The Purpose of all of this was so that when their children asked them about the stones they would tell the story of how God stopped the river from flowing so they could cross it.  It was a reminder that they crossed over from the wilderness to the promise land. That God brought them out of Egypt into the promise land.

The Problem is we forget the power of God because we do not remember what He has already done in our lives.  God knew they would forget as well and that is why you have to remember what God has done so that you know that He can handle any obstacles in the future. Many times the situations we face become our focus instead of what God can do.

John 5:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

The NIV version uses the word crossed over from death to life. The Children of Israel crossed over the Jordan which was represenative from death to life and Jesus uses the same words that the people would have known He was making reference to the crossing of the Jordan River.

We cannot cross over from death to life on our own we have to have a miracle of God to get to Heaven. This is what Jesus was refering to when He said we have passed from death to life. We also have to remember it is only through the power of God that we can cross from death to life and it is not something we can earn on our own. The distance between God and us is too wide and too rough for us to cross and therefore we need a miracle to get to God. Jesus was that miracle and He made the path for us to get to God. (John 14:6; Ephesians 2:8-9)

Just like when the children of Israel crossed over they still had battles to fight so we still have battles to fight with sin in our own lives, but we have already crossed over to a new life.

Romans 1:16 says I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the Power of God for Salvation

This is why we take communion to remember the power of Christ who brought us from death to life. Jesus said this is my body broken for you, this is my blood shed for you. (Matthew 26:26) So when we take communion we remember God brought us across the uncrossable to Him.

You will not face the challenges of tomorrow if you forget the miracles of today

This is why we sing songs to Him because we must remember that “There is power, power, wonder working power …”  We forget to easily what God has already done and so we panic when we have to face more obstacles in our lives.

Psalm 21:13Be exalted, O Lord, in your strength! We will sing and praise your power

3)   The Power of God will be known by the world

Joshua 5:1 As soon as all the kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan to the west, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard that the Lord had dried up the waters of the Jordan for the people of Israel until they had crossed over, their hearts melted and there was no longer any spirit in them because of the people of Israel.

Romans 1 is clear that God has made Himself known but people continue to reject it. Although I know God knows all things and that He already knew that the time has come that Jericho would reject Him, that does not mean they did not have a chance to be saved. Just like Rahab and her family were rescued the rest of the city had the same opportunity to repent and be saved.

Miracles will not save people because it is not from lack of evidence that God has demonstrated His power it is refusal to believe.

God will do crazy things  so that there is no question that it was Him who was doing it. Your obstacle may be Gods way of showing others Himself. Then it is up to them if they want to believe in God.

4)   The Power of God is a personal encounter

Joshua 5:13-15  When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?”14 And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?”15 And the commander of the Lord‘s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.

Joshua had his own burning bush moment like Moses. It was a personal encounter with a personal God. This is what makes God of Christians so different because we do not believe He is elusive or absent.  Many believe this to be Jesus Himself and I agree because Joshua bows down and was asked to take his shoes off because of being on Holy Ground. Only Jesus should be worshiped (Acts 10:25-26; Revelation 19:10) and if it were an angel then they would have refused to be worshiped.

Joshua ask Him, “Are you for us or for them?” The Angel of the Lord answers, ” NO”

God was not against the people of Jericho they just kept rejecting Him and turning to other Gods. God will not force you to love Him or to follow Him but there will come a time when His judgment will be handed out for rejecting Him.

Hebrews 11:30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.

It was not going to be by Joshua’s strategic planning or his leadership that led this victory but by the Power of God. What a crazy plan to just walk around the city one time a day until the seventh day and then walk around seven times. Not only did they walk around they were silent except the trumpets would play. No human would have come up with this strategy and if they did then they would have been dismissed from the planning room. God again wanted the world to know that He was God in hopes that they would turn to Him.

People need to see the power of God in our lives in supernatural ways. Many Christians have tried to make God explainable as well as stories in the Bible explainable. We have taken the supernatural out of the equation with our lives and have relied on our own abilities, intellect and understanding. Christianity is about a supernatural God who works in supernatural ways because He is not confined to the laws of nature. He created the laws and is above those laws they do not control Him.

We are to walk by faith and that means in the things that we do not understand and things we cannot see. It is not a blind faith as many say, but a faith in the power and work of Jesus Christ. Our faith is because of what God has already done and how He has stepped into history and into our present and demonstrates His power.

Our job is to trust what God has already told us to do and then walk by faith in in the things we do not understand. We are to seek God out in a personal encounter and ask Him what we should do and not just make plans and ask Him to bless them.  Joshua heard the voice of God and then moved forward by faith. Our problem is we are so busy trying to move forward we miss the personal encounter we can have with Jesus.

We do not have to wait on God to tell us some plan because He has already told us what to do in His word. If you are looking for Gods will for your life just do what He already said in the Bible until He shows you exactly what you need to do. Cross the Jordan first and then He will tell you what to do next.

We want the whole plan but God does not always give us the whole plan only what we need for that day.We want the plan but we do not want to do the hard work of getting alone with God. God desires a relationship with us and that is why He died for us. If we got the whole plan we would never speak to Him again because we would just be busy working the plan and not building the relationship with Him.

Mark 1:35 And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.

Jesus, God the Son, knew the importance of staying in a constant relationship with God the Father. We need to slow down enough or cut things out of our life so we can hear the voice of God daily. Are you busier than Jesus? I guarantee if you did miracles like Jesus did you would always have people looking for you. Your phone would never stop ringing and you would never be able to take a vacation. Jesus did not wait to have time, He made time to daily spend with God so that He could do exactly what needed to be done on earth.

5)   The Power of God will eventually be shown in Judgment

 The King of Jericho was an experienced fighter but instead of Fighting he just closed up the gates of the city and trapped everyone inside. The children of Israel, after they crossed the Jordan River, were able to eat the fruit of the land because many believe the farmers all left to go to the city for protection.  (Joshua 5:11-12)

The King of Jericho could have come out to Joshua and surrendered and repented to God but instead he chose to be stubborn in his beliefs instead of looking at the miracles God had shown him. Many people are the same way that no amount of evidence will ever convince them to give up the way they believe no matter how much proof there is that God exist.

God in His mercy gave them seven more days to repent. The children of Israel   walked around the city once a day for 6 days and 7 times on the seventh day. Jewish Historians believe the walls fell down on the Sabbath day. Some believe it was only the military that was walking around the city and not 2 million plus people which would have included children.

God’s judgment had come and the walls of Jericho fell down.  The walls either fell flat or they crumbled on top of each other making a ramp where the army could easily access the city.

When the trumpets sound

If you study the book of Revelation you will see that trumpets play a role in the judgments of God. (Revelation 8) God gave those in Jericho 400 years to turn to Him but then His judgment came upon them quickly. Many will face the same judgment of God, even though He has made Himself known, because they hide behind their walls of lies and deception.

Archeology Has found

  1. That Jericho did exist and was strongly fortified as Joshua 2;5,7,15;6:5,20 indicate
  2. The city was attacked at harvest time
  3. The inhabitants did not have time to flee with their food as Joshua 6:1 says
  4. The siege was short
  5. The walls were leveled in such a way giving the invaders access into the city
  6. The city was burned after the walls had been destroyed. (Joshua 6:24)

The Rest of the Story

At the end of Chapter 6 Joshua curses Jericho and whoever tries to rebuild it. 550 years later that curse was fulfilled in 1 Kings 16:34. Although Jericho was destroyed by judgment it did not mean that God abandoned any future inhabitants of the city. Elisha and Elijah both visited Jericho (2 Kings 2) along with Jesus (Luke 18:35; Matthew 20:29).

Whose power are you relying on for your life?

Whose power are you relying on for your salvation?

Just because you cannot see the plan of God does not mean He does not have a plan. What are you facing today that is too big for you to handle on your own? Have you gotten away from the noise to go and find His will? Have you taken the time to spend with Him so that He can tell you what to do? If the plan is crazy will you still do it?

Trusting in God is to trust in His timing and His plan no matter how crazy that plan may be.

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