A Devotion for 6 November 2019 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
1 Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, 2 Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. 3 Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. 4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast. 5 There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. 6 Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. (Joshua 1:1-6)
You may recall our pointing out that the Old Testament, wherein the Law that was written on Tables of Stone, proved to be an impossible obedience to the Children of God. It was the instrument of teaching to the people of God that their righteousness could never be that perfect righteousness which the Law compelled. The Law was a curse to the people. Though codified on Mount Sinai, the Law truly became a binding curse at that tragic Fall of Adam before the ominous Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. (Gal 3:10) Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:20)
In the final analysis, the Law is forever a ‘curse’ to them who are bound there under. The Old Testament Witness rightly seals its close with the word, “CURSE.” (Malachi 4:6) The curse of the Law is death, and Moses, the Lawgiver, died on the slopes overlooking the Promised Land – not being permitted to enter therein. So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day. (Deut 34:5-6) But Moses suffered no loss. He went to a far better land of promise. His next appearance was on another mountain with Christ – Mount of Transfiguration! “And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.” Matthew 17:1-3 (KJV)
Moses, the Law Giver, expired short of the Land of Promise because the law cannot avail to gain our entrance therein. Joshua, whose Hebrew name is the same as that of our Lord – Jehoshua – or salvation of God, was able to cross the Jordan Waters on dry ground and lead the Children into that Land. When the righteousness of man fails, the grace of God carries the line to victory. Joshua was, like Christ, obedient to God insofar as he was able to be. God expects no more of any of His children of flesh. He is well aware that only His Son could be obedient with a perfect obedience, and righteous with a perfect righteousness. It is for this reason that only Christ could atone for the sins of the world. I love to think of the atonement of Christ as a reconciling of our fleshly minds with that perfect Mind that was in Jesus and making us ONE with God – so, He came to atone (place our minds and hearts AT-ONE – atone -with that Mind of Christ).
As Joshua led the Children of God into the Promised Land, so does Christ lead us into that Greater Paradise of Promise. What the Law could not accomplish, Grace in Christ has, indeed, accomplished. Abraham is the great ancestor of that promise which would come in the Promised Seed that was Christ. What the Law (Moses) could not do through the infirmity of the flesh, our Joshua (Jesus) accomplished through His righteousness and sacrifice as the Rock of our Salvation – that same Rock that followed the Children of Israel in the Wilderness. Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. (1 Cor 10:1-4) Do you not love the beauty, clarity, and cohesiveness of Holy Scripture?
Joshua was a mighty warrior to defeat many kings and enemies of his people. So like Christ is a might King – the King of Kings – and has defeated unnumbered principalities and powers that have stood against, and oppressed, His people. He defeated, for all time and eternity, that hapless King and Prince of the Air, Lucifer (alias) SATAN. He also has defeated that terrible tyrant of our souls, SIN, which has kept us in bondage from our birth until our being found in Christ. Jesus defeated that last Sovereign of the Long Home so that it wields no power whatsoever over His people – DEATH!
What of those promises made to Abraham by the Almighty God? They all had their fulfillment in the Lord Jesus Christ. What of all those promises made to Moses and the Children of Israel? They all had their consummation in Joshua. As the host of Israel, under their commander Joshua, spared the harlot, Rahab (and ancestor of Christ) by a scarlet chord, so Christ has spared His people from the pains of Hell by the scarlet Blood of His Cross.
At the last, Joshua received in peace those Gibeonites who sued in humility for it. Jesus Christ spared those of us who were before His enemies when we sued in humility for peace and acceptance of God.
As Joshua had crossed the Jordan Waters and stood upon the plains and without the walls of that wicked city, Jericho, he was attended by an Angel of the Lord and fell upon his face. And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant? And the captain of the LORD’S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so. (Josh 5:13-15) This Personage was no Angel, but seems to me to have been the pre-Incarnate Christ since He demanded worship.
Christ also, ere the great battle of His Soul in the Garden before Golgotha, fell on His face and was attended by Angels. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. 39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. (Matt 26:38-39) And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, 42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. 43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. (Luke 22:41-43)
The human type always falls short of the heavenly type. Joshua’s salvation was conditional and temporal. The salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ is eternal and unconditional in faith and grace. Have you seen the glory of our wonderful Savior contrasted with these lesser types? Do you KNOW Him enough to recognize the vast difference?