Life-Study of Joshua, Judges & Ruthby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we will consider chapter five of Joshua. This chapter reveals that all the kings were afraid because of the miraculous crossing of the river Jordan. Before the children of Israel attacked, the Canaanites were already defeated. Their spirit was gone. Although the Israelites had been disciplined, trained, and qualified, after crossing the Jordan they still needed further preparation before the attack.
Joshua 5 covers four matters of intrinsic significance. The first item is circumcision. Circumcision is a continuation of the burial in the death of Christ. By crossing the river Jordan, Israel’s old man was buried and they came out to become the new man. This was an objective work done by God. Israel still needed to apply it to their flesh. Therefore, they prepared knives of flint to cut off their foreskins. This cutting was their application of what God had done in the crossing of the river Jordan. By cutting off their flesh to roll away the reproach of Egypt, they were buried and resurrected, both actually and practically.
In the New Testament circumcision means the constant application of the Lord’s death to our flesh. Romans 6:3-4 says that we have been baptized into the death of Christ and buried with Him, but Romans 8:13 and Galatians 5:24 tell us that we should apply the circumcision of the cross to our flesh by the Spirit. In fact, our flesh has already been crucified, but in practicality we need to crucify the flesh day by day. This is the reality and practicality of remaining in the death and burial of Christ, and this is the significance of circumcision.
The second item of intrinsic significance in Joshua 5 is the Passover. The feast of the Passover was held to remember Israel’s redemption from the death judgment on the firstborn sons and their salvation from Egypt and from the tyranny of Pharaoh. This is a type of the Lord’s table. At the Lord’s table we remember Him as the Redeemer and as the Savior. Our portion today is not death but the partaking and enjoying of Christ at His table.
The third item of intrinsic significance is the eating of the produce of the good land. For forty years the children of Israel had been eating manna without any labor on their part. But when the manna ceased, their food could be produced only by cooperating with God. The produce of the land of Canaan came out of farming. This means that it was the result of man’s labor and cooperation with God. This is in keeping with Genesis 2:5, which says that God sends the rain and man tills the ground. This refers to the cooperation of man and God.
Both the manna and the produce of the good land typify Christ. Christ in the stage typified by the produce of the good land is different from Christ in the stage typified by manna. John 6, which is not a deep chapter, speaks of Christ as the manna who came down from heaven to feed us. In the Epistles Christ is no longer just manna; He is the produce of the good land, prepared through our laboring cooperation with God. This brings in more Christ for ourselves and others and provides a surplus to God as our offering.
The fourth item of intrinsic significance concerns the Captain of Jehovah’s army. The children of Israel were ready. They had been circumcised, they had enjoyed the Passover, and they had enjoyed the produce of the good land. However, they still needed a Captain. Then Joshua saw a vision in which Christ was unveiled as the Captain of Jehovah’s army. Joshua was the visible commander, but Christ was the invisible One. Before the children of Israel attacked the Canaanites, they were fully prepared and qualified with Christ, the embodiment of God, as their Captain. When they attacked Jericho, they did this under the commanding of the Captain typified by the ark. The ark, a type of Christ, who was their Commander-in-chief, took the lead to attack the enemies.
To prepare to possess the good land, we need to enter into these four items. We need to deal with the flesh, enjoy the Lord’s table, enjoy the all-inclusive Christ as the produce of the good land, and see a vision of Christ, the embodiment of God, as our Captain.
Now that we have seen the items of intrinsic significance in this chapter, let us consider some of the details concerning the preparation before the attack.
In verse 1 we see the reaction of the kings of the Amorites and the Canaanites to Jehovah’s miraculous deed in drying up the waters for Israel to cross over the Jordan. Their hearts melted, and there was no longer any spirit (boldness) in them because of the children of Israel.
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