Continuing a plan to get through the entire Bible in a year, follow as I journal through the reading. I have chosen a straightforward approach that begins in Genesis and ends in Revelation. This will not be an in-depth study or a comprehensive commentary. There are plenty of sources for such material. This is stage one Bible reading, taking the text at face value and sharing impressions.
Today’s reading comes from the book of Joshua, chapters 1 through 4, telling the story of Rahab and Israel’s crossing of the river Jordan. Some impressions from the text:
- It’s interesting that God repeatedly commissions Joshua to “be strong and very courageous” as Israel crosses into the Promised Land. It’s clear that God is Israel’s strength, and He reiterates that here. Yet he calls on Joshua to be strong. Why? Why does Joshua have to be strong and courageous if God is the one doing everything? The strength Joshua needs is the strength to rely on God.
- Rahab lies to protect the Israelite spies whom she hides in Jericho. Lying is a sin, of course. While not condoned by God anymore than her career as a prostitute, Rahab’s lie serves a purpose in God’s plan.
- Rahab responds to tales of Israel and their God with faith. This faith enables her salvation from the sacking of Jericho. This demonstrates once again that God was not primarily concerned with ethnicity or nationality. He was concerned with the glorification of his name, and willing to bestow mercy upon any who recognized his sovereignty.
- Rahab asks that her family and their households be spared. The Israelites provide a condition. She must gather her family in her house when the time comes, and they must each stay there to be spared from the attack. This places the responsibility on each individual to submit to the sovereignty of God. So it is today. No one can make the choice to repent for you, or lend you some measure of their own faith.
- Once again, Israel walks on dry ground as a watery body is miraculously held back. For all but Caleb and Joshua, this was the first time this generation of Israelites had seen such a wonder.
- Little detail is given regarding the twelve stones of Gilgal which are taken from the Jordan River as a memorial of Israel’s crossing. However, it stands to reason that the stones were removed from the deepest part of the riverbed to stand as evidence that God had indeed held back the waters while Israel crossed. There would be no other explanation for such stones being removed from the river than the waters drying up since there existed no technology for their removal from submersion at that time.
Return soon as we continue our year-long journey through the text of the Bible.
Catch up on the previous entries: