Today the Israelites prepare to cross the Jordan River. The Lord says to Joshua, “This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.” Then the Lord parts the waters of the Jordan so that the people of Israel can cross the Jordan on dry land, much like the miracle He did with Moses and the Red Sea, proving that the Lord is with the Israelites. After all the people cross the Jordan, the twelve tribes set up stones from the Jordan as a memorial to the children of Israel forever. Then Joshua makes a memorial in the midst of the Jordan with twelve stones where the priests stood as the Lord pushed the waters of the Jordan back to a town called Adam. When Joshua gathers the congregation he tells them, “When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’ then you shall let your children know, saying, ‘Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry land’; for the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan… that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.” When the surrounding Amorites and Canaanites hear of the Lord drying up the Jordan for the Israelites to cross, “their heart melted; and there was no spirit in them any longer because of the children of Israel.”
God has the Israelites reestablish His covenant ceremony of circumcision, for the males born in the wilderness had not been circumcised. Afterwards, the new generation of Israelites observe the Passover for the first time since they came out of Egypt, the manna ceases, and they eat the food of the land of Canaan.
Since the Israelites are about to engage in battle for the conquest of the land, the Commander of the army of the Lord appears to Joshua. As the Lord did with Moses at the burning bush, He instructs Joshua to take his sandal off because he is standing on holy ground. Joshua obeys the Lord and worships Him as did Moses. Then Joshua receives from the Lord some unusual instructions regarding the battle of Jericho that involve marching around the city, blowing trumpets, and shouting. This is not your typical attack plan, but the Lord is teaching His people that this battle is His, that the Israelites can’t rely on their own abilities, and that they must trust Him.
Joshua orders that Rahab and anyone in her home be spared, and he tells the Israelites not to take the accursed things. They are to bring the silver, gold, bronze vessels, and iron to the treasury of the Lord because this is the Lord’s battle. So the Israelites take the city of Jericho, and Rahab’s family proves to share the same faith as Rahab as they chose to hide under her roof during the battle, resulting in the salvation of Rahab and her family. Rahab, the former harlot, will become the great great-grandmother of King David and ultimately a distant great-grandmother to the ultimate King, Jesus Christ.
Tomorrow we discover that someone disobeyed God and took from the spoils of the battle of Jericho. Also, did you notice the last thing Joshua said today? – “Cursed be the man before the Lord who rises up and builds this city Jericho; he shall lay its foundation with his firstborn, and with his youngest he shall set up its gates.” Surely no one will rebuild Jericho… or will they? Keep reading to find out. (Joshua 3:1-6:27)