I love the Book of Joshua and one of my favorite stories is found in chapter 4. God is sending His people into the promised land. Finally! The Israelite people had waited for a very long time for this day. For generations, they had longed to have their own land and be their own nation. That day had finally arrived but in order to enter the land they had to cross the Jordan River. Some of what makes this story so fascinating is the details behind the story. You see, the crossing of the Jordan River is a little different than the crossing of the Red Sea that happened years ago. This crossing was organized and very procedural. In fact, a lot of the chapter is spent describing the process by which they would cross. Furthermore, the procedure of this crossing has a lot of meaning to it. Meaning we probably don’t notice because we are so far removed from that time period. The whole setup is that of a military procession. There are a lot of strong similarities to the marches of Egypt and other Near East powers. For instance, ancient descriptions from the Hittites describe how the king was to be transported from his palace to other locations. The guards were to surround the king to protect him which is very similar to how the Israelites were ordered to march through the wilderness. Of special note is the distance the guards had to keep from the king. In the same manner, the Israelites were commanded to stay 2,000 cubits from the ark as they crossed the Jordan (Joshua 3:4). Quite honestly, all of chapters 3 and 4 paint the picture of a king surrounded by his soldiers as they march into battle. The author is 100% trying to communicate something to us. God is king. Plain and simple. Furthermore, these are not people who are passively marching into a land to camp. This is a group of people who are marching into battle to take the land that God has promised them. What is to come throughout the rest of the book will not be a surprise. War is on the horizon and the Israelite nation is marching into battle. I know this is a hard thing to wrestle with sometimes. It is hard to rationalize the fact that God and His people are marching into battle. And honestly, I am not sure that is what this is about. This is less about them marching into battle and more about acknowledging who their king is. All the other nations do the same thing that Israel is doing. The difference is, that they march behind, protect, and proclaim a human being as king. Not Israel. Not now. Their king is the Creator God. And that simple fact foreshadows everything about to happen and the victories that Israel is about to have.

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About the Author: Tony Johnson
Tony Johnson is the lead pastor of 2|42 Community Church where he is helping people take next steps with God. Prior to his time at 2|42, Tony served for 15 years in various capacities within the Methodist denomination. He has degrees in broadcasting and marketing from Vincennes University and Ball State University, and he’s also a graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary. Tony is passionate about helping people discover and embrace their God-given purpose and potential. In his spare time, you can find Tony cheering on the Miami Dolphins or camping and fishing with his family.

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