In the Book of Joshua, we find that Moses is dead, and the Lord has tapped Joshua as successor. The son of Nun is to lead the Israelites across the Jordan River and into the Promised Land. Yahweh assures Joshua that his covenant promises remain intact. No one is able to stand against Joshua because the Lord is with him, just as he was with Moses. Three times in the opening verses of the Book of Joshua, the Lord urges Joshua to be strong and courageous. The key to the new leader’s success is to carefully observe every instruction the Lord has given the people through Moses. “Do not be afraid or discouraged,” says Yahweh, “for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go” (Josh. 1:9).
As Joshua prepares the people for their journey, he sends spies to Jericho. They come to the home of a prostitute, Rahab, who hides them from Jericho’s king and helps them escape. In return, the spies agree to spare Rahab and her family on the day the Israelites attack. Returning to camp, the spies report to Joshua, “The LORD has handed over the entire land to us. Everyone who lives in the land is also panicking because of us” (Josh. 2:24).
The Israelites advance to the banks of the Jordan River, where they stay for three days and receive instructions. Joshua sends Levitical priests, carrying the ark of the covenant, ahead of the people. When the priests reach the water’s edge, the Jordan River divides, and the entire nation crosses on dry ground. The Lord commands Joshua to build a memorial from stones taken from the river bed, one stone for each tribe. Finally, when Joshua calls the priests to come up out of the Jordan, the waters resume their normal course.Continue reading