Joshua Chapter 5

Joshua 5  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 11
2. However much the Lord's power may have inspired the enemies of God's people with terror, so as to apparently secure victory, the first thing, before any effort to win it, is to make good the relationship with God by a perfectly circumcised heart; compare also Ezek. 3:33And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness. (Ezekiel 3:3).
13-15. There is a point I have not noticed; the manna, Christ for the Wilderness—the corn, the heavenly Christ, i.e. Christ now in heaven as well as heavenly, i.e., heavenly as now—the Passover looking back, not a present escape merely, i.e., the Cross understood with all the value peace in heavenly places gives it—all this after Jordan and Gilgal, and the Captain of the host coming after, i.e., the beginning of conflict. But there is another point—simple obedience and dependence. In heavenly things men are for or against "for us or for our adversaries "; but whatever the conflict, all we have to say is "What saith my Lord unto His servant?" This is the spirit in which we are led—something like Paul, though there is a shade of difference there. The holiness needed for the conflict has been remarked. It is the confiding obedience which I had not noted; nor let us forget that if we eat the corn and fruit of the land now, we have the hidden Manna in heaven—Christ in His thrice blessed humiliation is never lost to our hearts.
The passage of the desert, however invaluable the instruction contained in it, is in a certain sense a parenthesis in the history. The Jordan coalesces, so to speak, with the Red Sea. I still judge what has been often remarked, that the Red Sea is the death and resurrection of Christ for us, and the Jordan our death and resurrection with Christ, but that only shows that one is the realization of the other, and that all the desert is not the realization, as in point of fact it is our life in this world with and under the hand of God, but not in heavenly places in conflict with Satan. This idea, remark, leads to a further point, that as we are dead and risen again in fact, another point is involved—ascension—for then we enter into the heavenlies; the redeemed and justified people are not there necessarily—it is their calling, as in Hebrews. So, as to justification in the Romans, we have never the ascension (only once, chapter 8, the fact that Christ is in heaven to intercede), while in the Ephesians we are sitting in heavenly places in Christ. It is not our ascension (then combats will cease) but our place in Christ there which brings, as in Ephesians, into combat with spiritual wickedness, though as to place and title we sit in Christ there. Combats with spiritual wickedness do not belong to the wilderness—we are there with God by redemption.
But some interesting points are connected with this coalescing of the Red Sea and Jordan bringing into the heavenly place.
It is to be supposed that the Passover was celebrated in the desert, as the case of an unclean person, or one on a journey is considered, but it essentially belongs to Egypt or Canaan. None of the men, born after Egypt, had been circumcised; this was evidently a characteristic difficulty. The moment they cross Jordan, before a conflict, they are circumcised—then only was the reproach of Egypt rolled away—they eat the old corn of the land, and they celebrate the Passover. And now, note, they had not to put the blood on the doorposts. In Egypt it was present security from deserved judgment—when sitting in heavenly places it was the memorial of Christ's work which had delivered. I apprehend that we never, in this way, realize and meditate on the value of the Cross till, as dead and risen again, we are sitting in heavenly places. Entered in virtue of it, we contemplate its value from a heavenly point of view and capacity. In Egypt we are, as men speak, at the foot of the Cross and come to believe on it as that which we there need. The Christian only in the wilderness may inquire from his experience if he is really out, and has properly, not as in Egypt, the blood for his present need to look at, nor as in heaven, the sweet and blessed memorial of what was done to deliver him. The saint, as sitting in heavenly places, turns to the true Passover, the work of Christ, with thoughts which not even the undelivered sinner in Egypt can have, though it is not his present need.
Nor, as elsewhere observed, is there circumcision till then. Manna was suited to the desert, the corn of the land and the Passover for those who had passed Jordan and were circumcised, who had judged flesh in a heavenly way. This character of the desert is instructive too.