Life-Study of Joshua, Judges & Ruthby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Chapters three and four are on Israel’s crossing of the river Jordan. The people of Israel were ready to enter into the good land and to take it as their possession. However, in their old man they could not gain the victory. Their old man had to be buried so that they could become a new man. This corresponds to the New Testament economy of God. The children of Israel were buried in the death of Christ and then they were resurrected in the resurrection of Christ. This indicates that even in the Old Testament time the children of Israel were identified with Christ and were one with Him. Because they were one with Christ, passing through Christ’s experiences, His history became their history. In particular, they passed through Christ’s death to bury their old man and to become a new man in Christ for the fighting of the spiritual warfare.
We need to realize that our natural man, our old man, is altogether not qualified to fight the spiritual warfare for the gaining of Christ. God’s intention is to join us to Christ to have an organic union between us and Christ, making us one with Christ, that His history might become our history. His history is our story, and our story is His history. We have been identified with Christ to experience what He has gone through. In union with Christ, His experiences become ours. He died on the cross, and we died with Him. He was buried, and we were buried with Him. He was resurrected from the dead, and we were resurrected with Him. Now because we are persons in Christ, we are no longer the old man but the new man.
Let us now consider the various matters related to Israel’s crossing the river Jordan.
The ark of God with the bearing priests took the lead to go into the waters of the Jordan and stood still in the waters (3:3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 17a). The ark was a type of Christ as the embodiment of the Triune God. When the ark of God went with the children of Israel, the Triune God went with them, taking the lead and thus being the first to step into the water. Yet the ark was on the shoulders of the bearing priests. This indicates that the priests bearing the ark became one entity with the Triune God; they were one corporate person. God walked in their walking, and they walked in God’s walking. The spread of the Lord’s recovery today is through Christ’s move together with His bearing priests. We and He walk together as a corporate man.
When the feet of the priests who carried the ark dipped into the edge of the waters that overflowed all the banks of the Jordan, the waters that flowed down from upstream stood and rose up in a heap a great distance away (vv. 13, 15-16). This was the greatest miracle in human history, and the first miracle performed for Israel as they entered the good land. Such a miracle surely was a sign to the children of Israel that their God was real, true, living, and active.
The priests who carried the ark of Jehovah stood firmly on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel was crossing over on dry ground, until all the nation had completely crossed over the Jordan (v. 17; 4:10-11). No doubt it took a long time for about two million people, including children, older ones, and weaker ones, to cross over the river with all the things that they were carrying. However, I believe that the priests were not bothered but, happy about the miracle God had performed, were glad to watch all the people cross over the Jordan.
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