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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

December 13: Joshua and Jesus

After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' assistant, “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. . . No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. . . Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lordyour God is with you wherever you go.” - from Joshua 1:1-9, ESV

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” - Matthew 1:18-21, ESV

Joshua and Jesus:
Leading God's People to Victory and into the Promised Land

Jesus' name in Hebrew is Y'shua, a variation of Joshua. so he shares the same name with the Old Testament hero who led the people of God into the Promised Land after the death of Moses. Their name means "YaHWeH saves" and they both serve as living examples of the saving power of God. But these two remarkable figures share more than just a name:

1. Both men got their strength from the Lord and did everything in the power of God.
2. Both men won great victories over strong enemies.
3. Both men meditated on the Law of God and spoke words of powerful truth to God's people.
4. Both men came into their positions of leadership after a long period of waiting.
5. Both men brought the people of God from the wilderness into the Promised Land.

You might be surprised to see Jesus being described as a man in these ways, but He was and is truly man, even as He has always been and always will be truly God. As the Messiah, our Anointed One, Jesus stood in our place as our representative and champion in every aspect of His life. He was and is our prophet who speaks the truth of God, our priest who intercedes for us and our king who reigns over us. 

Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld (1794-1872),
The Battle of Jericho
Joshua was a remarkable man, one of the few men in the Old Testament who doesn't have any shameful sins recorded of him. In so many ways, he is an admirable example and a type, or foreshadowing, of Christ. He was empowered by the Holy Spirit to lead God's people to victory over fierce enemies - walled cities, giants, powerful alliances of Canaanite kings. He was provided by God for His people after an extended period of wilderness wanderings, and he brought them into the Promised Land. Joshua spoke powerful truth to the people of God, calling them away from sin and idolatry and challenging them to serve the Lord wholeheartedly. 

Jesus came and fulfilled the role of Joshua but in a much better way. As wonderful as Joshua was as the leader of God's people, he did not succeed in bringing them into God's true rest. As Hebrews 4:8 says, "For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on." God still spoke and promised His people rest after Joshua was long dead and gone. 

The true rest for God's people, the true Promised Land, was secured only by Jesus, after He had won victory over the true enemies of God's people. The real obstacles keeping God's people from true rest with God were not the inhabitants of Jericho or Ai but Satan and sin and death. These are far greater and deadlier enemies than the giants of the land of Canaan. For Jesus to defeat them, He had to suffer and die and unimaginable death. 

Whenever we read the exciting stories of the conquest of the Promised Land under Joshua, we need to remember that Jesus is the real champion of God's people. Joshua may have seen the walls of Jericho come down, but Jesus leads His church in triumph over the very gates of Hell itself.   

Lord Jesus, we thank You for Your great victory over all of our enemies. You have paid for all of our sin, defeated Satan, overthrown death and secured entrance for us into the true, eternal Promised Land. Thank You that You are our rest and our very great victory! Let us always and only rest in You. Amen.

The victory that Christ has won for us gives us every reason to rejoice this Christmas and always!

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