Saturday, September 1, 2012

Commemoration of Joshua - 2012

Commemoration of Joshua
September 1, 2012

The Lord be with you

Joshua, the son of Nun, of the tribe of Ephraim, is first mentioned in Exodus 17 when he was chosen by Moses to fight the Amalekites, whom he defeated in a brilliant military victory. He was placed in charge of the tent of meeting (Exodus 33:11) and was a member of the tribal representatives sent to survey the land of Canaan (Numbers 13:8). Later, he was appointed by God to succeed Moses as Israel’s commander-in-chief. Joshua eventually led the Israelites across the Jordan River into the Promised Land and directed the Israelites’ capture of Jericho. He is remembered especially for his final address to the Israelites, in which he challenged them to serve God faithfully (Joshua 24:1-27), concluding with the memorable words, “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (24:15).

Joshua Crossing the Jordan River - Unterberger
Joshua is mentioned by name seven times in Exodus, eleven times in Numbers, and nine times in Deuteronomy. He is referred to six times in the first two chapters of Judges. In 1 Kings 16:34, a prophecy he made (Joshua 6:26) is referenced when Jericho is rebuilt. He is in a genealogy in 1 Chronicles 7:27. In the New Testament he is referred to by Steven in Acts 7:45 and Hebrews 4:8. There are some other Joshuas in the Bible as well. Oh, yea, he is referred by name 151 times in the book of Joshua.

No vowels are used in the ancient written Hebrew language, only consonants. Also, the symbol for the sound “sh” and “s” are the same. Like all the abbreviations used by people who “tweet,” the reader was expected to know the correct sound to include when reading the consonants. The reason I bring this up is that, in Hebrew, the names “Joshua” and “Jesus” are spelled the same and have the same meaning, “savior.” (“Jesus,” by-the-way, is the Greek form of our Lord’s name, and we use it because the New Testament, which is written in Greek, uses it. Some groups, in an effort to appeal to possible Jewish converts, use the name “Joshua” or “Jesuah” or “Yahshuah.” It is not more accurate, or more biblical, and could be confusing. But if using one of these alternate spellings gets a hearing for the Gospel, then I’m all for it.)

In Joshua 3, the crossing of the River Jordan is directly compared to the crossing of the Red Sea under Moses (3:7, 13, 16; Exodus 15:8). Saint Paul links the crossing of the Red Sea to our baptism (1 Corinthians 10:2), therefore many have also seen the crossing of the Jordan as a type of our baptism. As Joshua led the people of God through the waters of the Jordan and into the Promised Land, so we, through the waters of baptism, enter into our Promised Land where our Joshua (Jesus) gives us the ultimate fulfillment of our Sabbath rest (Hebrews 4:1-11).

Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, Your servant Joshua led the children of Israel through the waters of the Jordan River into a land flowing with milk and honey. As our Joshua, lead us, we pray, through the waters of our Baptism into the promised land of our eternal home, where You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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