When Joshua Met Jesus…and More
Reading: Joshua 4-6
•Joshua 4:21 (the Memory Stones);
• Joshua 5:15 (Joshua meets Jesus);
•Joshua 6:26 (Joshua the Prophet)
Part I: Memory Stones
“In the future, when your descendants ask their fathers, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them…He did this so all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.” (Joshua 4:21, 24, NIV)
Two years ago my daughter (who at the time was 3 years old) and I started a stone collection, our own memory stones. Every time we prayed and asked God for something, we’d write that request on a river rock-like stone. And every time God answered that prayer or sent a blessing, or in another way showed Himself to us, we’d write that down on a stone and put it in a container. It was our way of remembering how good our God is, and that He hears our requests.
It’s not unusual (and is to be expected) that in the Christian life we will encounter some dry spells. God will seem distant, our prayers will appear to be unanswered, or one tragic circumstance after another will roll over us like a tidal wave. It’s in these moments we need to pull out our own memory stones and remind ourselves how loving, just, and faithful God is, despite our feelings and circumstances. God knows how easily we forget such things, which is why he told the Israelites to erect their own monument of stones in memory of that epic moment when God did the impossible (as He usually does).
God works in the unexpected, unlikely, and unknown. We pray, and usually have an idea of how we think God will answer, but in the end, He often answers in ways most unexpected. And when we’re in that treacherous time of waiting and uncertainty, we need to pull out those memory stones and meditate on His sovereign goodness.
Part II: Joshua Meets Jesus
“’As commander of the Lord I have now come,’ then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, ‘What message does my Lord have for his servant?’ The commander of the Lord’s army replied, ‘Take off your sandals, for the place you are standing is holy.’ And Joshua did so.” (Joshua 5:14-15, NIV)
Jesus first appeared on earth in human form as a baby in a manger, but He often appeared in another form to the people of the Old Testament. (When Jesus reveals Himself in a visible form in the Old Testament it is known as a Christophony). If you want to keep a lookout for these Jesus sightings, keep in mind a few key words: The Lord of Hosts or The Angel of the Lord of Hosts (because Jesus is the only leader of the heavenly armies--see Revelation 19:11-21).
A couple of other notable Christophonies would be Judges 13:17-18, “Then Manoah [Samson’s father] inquired of the angel of the Lord, ‘What is your name, so that we may honor you when your word comes true?’ He replied, ‘Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding.’” (Compare this with what is said about Jesus in Revelation 19:12, “And he had a name written, that no man knew but Himself.”)
And who can forget the fiery furnace, “He said, ‘Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like the son of the gods!’” (Daniel 3:25)
Point being, Jesus was always the Father’s representative to us (see John 5:37), God’s children, and this has always been the case. Sometimes we think the God of the Old Testament operates differently than He does today, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Part III: Joshua‘s Prophesy
“And at that time Joshua pronounced this solemn oath: ‘Cursed before the Lord is the man who undertakes to rebuild this city, Jericho: At the cost of his firstborn son will he lay its foundations; at the cost of his youngest will he set up its gate.” (Joshua 6:26, NIV)
Joshua declared this prophecy around 1406 B.C. and some five hundred years later this prophecy was realized in 1 Kings 16:34 with a man named Hiel. In this we are reminded that God’s word never EVER returns void. He is faithful to keep His word.
Three Key Takeaways:
1: We honor God not only when we remember His character and goodness towards us, but we also honor Him through teaching His character and good deeds to our children.
2: We honor God when we listen to His Son, Jesus, and represent Him well to the world.
3: We honor God when we remember His word and repeat His word, because it cannot return void (see Isaiah 55:11).
Next Reading: Joshua 7-9
Rebecca Aarup has written devotionals and Bible teaching articles for a variety of publications including The Secret Place (Judson Press), Evangel (Light and Life Communications), Mustard Seed Ministries, and the SERVANT Sisters Women's Ministry. She is also a regular columnist for The Christian Online Magzine. She just released a new Bible Study The Word: Six Lessons from Psalm 119 which is available as a free download on her website or in print form from Amazon. Beyond writing, Rebecca is a wife, home-schooling mom, and Bible student at Liberty University. She lives in Glendale, Az with her husband Chris and 5 year old, Samantha. You can read more from Rebecca by subscribing to her blog (it’s free) and following her on twitter and facebook.