Joshua Generation: The Testimony of Christ
Pastor Rollan Fisher
Whereas in other portions of Scripture you can be tempted to individualize it’s application, you can not do that with the Book of Joshua. The only reason something like the Israelites crossing the Jordan would seem irrelevant to us as Christians is if we forget that in following Christ, God is:
Taking us to a Place
Taking us With a People
Taking us for a Purpose
Then Joshua rose early in the morning and they set out from Shittim. And they came to the Jordan, he and all the people of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over. At the end of three days the officers went through the camp and commanded the people, “As soon as you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God being carried by the Levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place and follow it. Yet there shall be a distance between you and it, about 2,000 cubits in length. Do not come near it, in order that you may know the way you shall go, for you have not passed this way before.” Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” And Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on before the people.” So they took up the ark of the covenant and went before the people. The Lord said to Joshua, “Today 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. And as for you, command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, ‘When you come to the brink of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.’” And Joshua said to the people of Israel, “Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God.” And Joshua said, “Here is how you shall know that the living God is among you and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Perizzites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, and the Jebusites. Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is passing over before you into the Jordan. Now therefore take twelve men from the tribes of Israel, from each tribe a man. And when the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap.” 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, 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), 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. 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 Trials that we face are Systemic Challenges. The Temptation is to revert to the Naturalist Modus Operandi. The Testimony of Christ is the only lasting solution.
Making a Move to Take the City
The Trials that we face are Systemic Challenges (every year the Jordan was at flood levels during harvest)
On a personal level
On a Body of Christ level
On a Societal level
The Temptation is to revert a Naturalist Modus Operandi (wait for another season, build a dam or don’t cross at all)
The temptation is to address issues that need a supernatural solution with natural means.
Your plans vs. God’s plans.
If you think that you need to have a season of disobedience to accomplish your goals, then they are not Christ’s goals for your life. God will always lead you in a manner where his commands, his provision and his timing line up. If you have to break the first to accomplish the second two, it is not the Lord.* God continually provides stones of remembrance to show that if he did miracles before, he will lead us into them again. People have been wondering how to respond as Christians to issues found amidst our national landscape.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”
-George Santayana (1863—1952)
“We live as Naturalists when we talk about issues incessantly but do not devote ourselves to committed corporate prayer through the church to address these issues. Talking more about what needs to be done is not the answer. Appealing to the God of Heaven consistently to intervene (priests standing in the middle of the Jordan until all cross over) and then planning/taking action out of that place is the key.”
(The Life of Reason: Reason in Common Sense. Scribner’s, 1905: 284)
i.e. - The history of the civil rights movement made much of its progress through the impetus of the church.
We need the miracle power of Jesus Christ and his gospel to address the systemic issues of our day. The Testimony of Christ (Red Sea to the Jordan) is the only lasting solution.
At the end of three days the officers went through the camp and commanded the people, “As soon as you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God being carried by the Levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place and follow it. Yet there shall be a distance between you and it, about 2,000 cubits in length. Do not come near it, in order that you may know the way you shall go, for you have not passed this way before.”
When you follow God long enough, you will need to believe him for miracles to follow Him forward. When making major life’s decisions, you need to follow the ark of the covenant. The goal is that next time you will know the ways of the Lord, which way to go, how to go about doing things. The Ark of the Covenant was the relic in Israel that both symbolized and mediated God’s presence amongst the Hebrews. Its contents included:
The two stone tablets of the Testimony (the Ten Commandments) - God’s Prescriptions for Living
A Golden Urn holding Manna the Israelites were fed with in the desert - God’s Provision
Aaron’s Staff that Had Budded
God’s Person (Delegated authority)
On a Personal level - I need consecration. (Christ)
On a Body of Christ level - Following the Ark into the Waters
I need to plan to address the challenges that I find (whether familial, financial, health-related, job-related, etc.) and contend for miracles, together with my church community.(Community)
On a Societal Level (Culture) -
The priests were to remain in the MIDDLE OF THE JORDAN where the miracle needed to take place until the people crossed over (we are a Kingdom of Priests - I Peter 2:4,5)
What can we do now (along with prayer and service) to address systemic societal issues?:
A wise man scales the city of the mighty and brings down the stronghold in which they trust.
Changing the Conversation to a Gospel-Centered one with each opportunity.
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious (giving people what they don’t deserve), seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
And Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.”
It is only the redeeming work of Jesus Christ at the cross that can save a soul, change a heart and redeem a nation. He is the stone of testimony and the living ark, the very embodiment of God’s presence that creates the miraculous dry ground for us to walk across.
And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.
The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy for things to change in the cities/nations in which we live through the gospel.
Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
Second City Church - Joshua Generation - Pastor Rollan Fisher 2019