banner
bar
winning business team March 25 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: Joshua 3, 4, 5, 6

Preparing to Win

A leader faces big challenges, especially if he follows someone successful and has big shoes to fill. Will his leadership be followed? Will they have confidence in him? Will they win? The opposition can sometimes be overwhelming. How can they win and what will be their strategy? How can they prepare for victory? How can we prepare for victory?

If leaders have God on their side, he can help them win. The LORD said to the new leader, Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses,” (Joshua 3:7, NIV). If God would work through Joshua as he did with Moses then the Israelites would place their confidence in him and follow him. Is God on your side? Is he leading you?

As the Israelites were about to enter the Promised Land and face battles with many nations in Canaan that were giants in size and strength, he gave Joshua strange instructions. He did not immediately give them a battle plan. He did not tell them to get their weapons and get suited up for the conflict. No, he told them to consecrate themselves, or in other words, fully devote their hearts to God and his ways (Joshua 3:5). This would be a Holy War against the Canaanites. The Israelites were to sanctify themselves. In other words they were to get rid of their sins and uncleanness, make sacrifices, and dedicate their lives to God, for it was he who would lead them into battles to win victoriously. They needed to be ready soldiers, not just with good physical training and skill, but ready in their spirits in total devotion to their heavenly commander. Are we ready in our spirits for spiritual battles? Have we confessed sin and rid ourselves from it? Are our hearts totally devoted to God? (more...)

Leaders need encouragement when they are facing the enemy. God gave Joshua words of encouragement the day before they crossed the Jordan River. The very next day the LORD would work a miracle like he did with Moses and the people would respect him (Joshua 3:7-8). It is most encouraging when leaders receive an early win; followers place confidence in their leadership. Sometimes, in God's sovereign plan, that does not happen, but God is still faithful and present with them.

The next day the Levites carried the Ark of the Covenant (a symbol of God's presence) to the Jordan River, which was at flood stage. As soon as their feet touched the edge of the bank, the river parted and walled up a far distance to the city of Adam and the river bed dried up. Then the Ark stood in the middle of the Jordan as the millions of Israelites crossed. Today, we do not have the Ark of the Covenant as a symbol of God's presence. Instead, true believers in Christ have his Holy Spirit within them. Other people perceive that we are Christians when they see God is with us in the floods of adversity or by the victory he gives us in our daily lives.

After they crossed, God told Joshua to choose twelve men (one from each tribe) to go into the middle of the Jordan and pick out twelve large stones for a monument. It would serve as a memorial to God's power in drying up the Jordan River, as he did the Sea of Reeds (Red Sea), so that their children and other nations would learn to fear and worship the LORD (Joshua 4:20-22). What memorials do we have to show people how God has won the victory in our lives?

When the nations west of the Jordan heard that God had dried up the Jordan River so that the Israelites could cross, “their hearts melted and they no longer had the courage to face the Israelites,” (Joshua 5:1b, NIV).

After they crossed, the Israelites did not immediately engage their enemies in battle. Instead, the LORD said to Joshua, “Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites again,” (Joshua 5:2, NIV). This seems like a strange request. Why did Joshua have all the Israelite males circumcised? The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the Old Testament, by Walvoord and Zuck, ©1985, p. 337 says that it was a ritual that symbolized the cutting away of their ties with heathen nations, particularly regarding all sexual sins and perversions that other nations were practicing. It was a covenant first instituted in the time of Abraham when God promised to bless his progeny if they were obedient (Genesis 17:4-14, 23-27). The first generation out of Egypt was circumcised, but apparently out of indifference to God, they did not circumcise their children. Physical obedience symbolized spiritual obedience (Deuteronomy 10:16; 30:6; Romans 2:28-29). Under the New covenant of Christ's death, Christ circumcises our spiritual hearts when we believe in him for salvation. Will we be obedient to God, leaving the life of our flesh behind? (Colossians 2:11).

After the men had healed from the circumcisions, they celebrated the Passover. Why do this? Why take the time to have church when it is time to fight battles? The answer is this was a Holy War and God was their commander; he would help them fight their battles. We are not in a Holy War, but do we seek God, our commander and defender when we are facing conflicts or do we just fight our own battles?

The Passover commemorated how God brought the Israelites out of Egypt with a mighty hand and a great deliverance. This would be a symbolic encouragement to the Israelites that the same God who fought for them in Egypt would fight for them against the Canaanite nations. Since the first generation of Israelites out of Egypt had not circumcised their male children, the Passover had also not been observed since they were at Mt. Sinai (Exodus 12:43-49; Numbers 9:1-4). This was a good time to do the circumcision and the Passover when their enemies had lost courage to attack Israel. If the Promised Land pictures heaven, then celebrating the Passover pictures the Communion and the Wedding Supper of the Lamb, in which Jesus predicted all true believers from the church age will participate in heaven (Matthew 26:29; Revelation 19:6-9).

After the Passover, a heavenly commander, “the commander of the army of the LORD” (Joshua 5:14, NIV) gave Joshua a strange battle plan: have the army march six times around Jericho, once each day, and then the seventh day have them march seven times around it with the priests blowing their trumpets. The seventh time around they were to signal the 600,000 Israelite soldiers to shout. Perhaps the first few times marching around their city was intimidating, but one wonders what their enemies were thinking when Israel did not attack. Were they thinking their walls were too high and impregnable? Did they taunt the Israelites and perhaps throw things at these stolid marching soldiers? The people in Jericho were greatly surprised when on the seventh day they all shouted and the walls fell down flat! Our God fights for us and can do miracles.

Joshua gave instructions to the Israelites to kill all but Rahab and her family and not to take anything devoted for destruction, except precious metals for the tabernacle of the LORD. To have complete victory requires complete obedience to our commander.

The purpose of the victory at Jericho was to show Israel that God was bringing about his promise to drive out the heathen nations from the land (Joshua 1:2-5), and that he was with Joshua as he was with Moses (Joshua 6:2, 27). Because Joshua was obedient, God gave him victory. God can give us victory, too, if we will trust in him and be obedient.

Lessons to live by:

•  If leaders have God on their side, he can help them win. Do you have a personal relationship with God through Jesus? He can give you forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life. He can help you win (more...)

•  Are we ready in our spirits for spiritual battle? Have we confessed our sins and rid ourselves from it? Are our hearts totally devoted to God? (more...)

•  It is most encouraging when leaders can get an early win; followers place their confidence in their leadership. Sometimes, in God's sovereign plan, that does not happen, but God is still faithful and present with them.

•  Today, Christians have God's Holy Spirit within them. Other people perceive they are Christians when they see God is with them in the floods of adversity or by the victory he gives them in their daily lives. Do others see Christ in you?

•  Christ circumcises our spiritual hearts when we believe in him for salvation. Will we be obedient to God, leaving the life of our flesh behind?

•  The Passover pictures the Communion and the Wedding Supper of the Lamb, in which Jesus predicted all true believers from the church age will participate in heaven.

•  Our God fights for us and can do miracles. He can break down walls that we cannot budge. Listen to an encouraging song about this.

•  To have complete victory requires complete obedience to our commander. Because Joshua was obedient God gave him victory. He can do the same for us.

Today's Bible memory verse:

Joshua 1:9 “Have I [God] not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (NIV)

praying girl Write a private prayer response to today’s Bible study:

Please send your comments to mtbiblestudies@gmail.com

Previous Lesson  |  Next Lesson

Back to top of page
Return to Chronological Bible Studies main page
Go to Scriptures main page
Go to Topics main page
Go to Home page

Scripture
Contact Us
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

COPYRIGHT @ 2016, MASTER'S TOUCH BIBLE STUDIES