As we move ahead in Joshua ("Yeshua," actually!), keep in mind he is a Christ-type. As we saw in yesterday's reading, he may well be a picture of the Spirit sent ahead with the followers of Jesus after He ascended into heaven (Pentecost in Acts). Remember that Moses imparted the "spirit of wisdom" by the laying on of hands to help Joshua guide the people into the Promised Land.
3:6,11 In the morning Joshua said to the priests, "Lift up the Ark of the Covenant and lead the people across the river." And so they started out and went ahead of the people. ...Look, the Ark of the Covenant, which belongs to the Lord of the whole earth, will lead you across the Jordan River! It is by the New Covenant that we cross from death ("the letter of the law kills") to life ("the Spirit gives life").
3:13 The priests will carry the Ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth. As soon as their feet touch the water, the flow of water will be cut off upstream, and the river will stand up like a wall." The town "Adam," where the water was to be cut off, was actually 30 miles upstream. Since this was in the day before cell phones and email, the people didn't know just how far upstream God meant, which means they didn't know just how long they'd be waiting out in the cold water! And notice, they had to actually step into the water before it would be stopped upstream. The point is, the people did not "see the promise" immediately, even though God's miracle had already taken place—they had to act, wait patiently for 30 miles of water to pass by, and believe.
4:2-3 "Now choose twelve men, one from each tribe. Tell them, ‘Take twelve stones from the very place where the priests are standing in the middle of the Jordan. Carry them out and pile them up at the place where you will camp tonight.'" Notice this beautiful picture! Joshua chose 12 men and 12 stones out of the Jordan. Jesus chose His 12 disciples right after His baptism in the Jordan and they were called the foundation stones of the Church with Him as the chief cornerstone. I also see that the 12 men Joshua chose also represented the 12 tribes, and the 12 stones represented the 12 disciples. Remember how we discussed the possibility at one time that the "twenty-four elders" depicted in Revelation could be the representatives of the 12 tribes as well as the 12 disciples. I don't know? But the tribes and the disciples are also pictures as the precious stones in the future Kingdom (we have previously discussed this in both Leviticus and Revelation).
4:7 More altars of remembrance!
4:9 Joshua also set up another pile of twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan, at the place where the priests who carried the Ark of the Covenant were standing. Food for thought: I have often wondered if this is the place where Jesus got baptized.
4:19-20 Then they camped at Gilgal, just east of Jericho. It was there at Gilgal that Joshua piled up the twelve stones taken from the Jordan River. Here is a cool piece of trivia. The word "Gilgal" in Hebrew means, "full circle." I believe this gives us a picture of a spiritual full circle -the perfect start in a garden paradise, the fall of man into slavery to sin (Egypt), the journey through the desert of testing and refining, and the eventual freedom from slavery into the Promised Land of eternal life. Amazing picture!
80:15-17 Take care of this grapevine that you yourself have planted, this son you have raised for yourself. For we are chopped up and burned by our enemies. May they perish at the sight of your frown. Strengthen the man you love, the son of your choice. This is a Messianic prophecy. Remember that Jesus is the vine.
Questions for reflection:
What promises have you received in your life from God, even though you don't see the answer yet? Let me encourage you that the miracle may be already completed, but you just have to act in faith, and wait patiently! In my life, God has asked me to give up many things (Isaacs), promising to give them back better than before. I have seen some of these things come back in the way He promised, and I am still waiting on some of them. But I will tell you that I always had to act in faith as if I could see the promise at a distance!