February 2, 2021 – Joshua 1-5

Joshua is now leading the nation. The Lord assured him, “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you” (1:5) and commanded him, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (1:8). Pretty self-explanatory, I think.

The story continues with the episode with the harlot Rahab. Spies were sent into the land, they were given lodging and protected by Rahab, and they covenanted with her: “If you do not tell this business of ours, then when the Lord gives us the land we will deal kindly and faithfully with you” (2:14). Charles Spurgeon noted a particular objection to the observation made in Hebrews 11:31 – “By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient” – the objection being: “And now there is some gentleman in the audience who says, ‘There's a gospel for you; it is a kind of sanctuary for wicked men, unto which the worst of people may run and be saved.’” Can you hear the sarcastic tone of this gentleman of whom Spurgeon speaks? “Well, there’s a gospel for you! Harumph!” And while we’re at it, what might we say of the inclusion of Rahab in the genealogy of the Messiah (Matthew 1:5)? Yep, that’s “some kind of gospel,” indeed!

What a sinner was Rahab! How could such a one as she be accepted among God’s people? But, then, how great is God’s grace! How often do we hear, out in our Irish Hill neighborhood, people say to us, “Well, I can’t imagine God accepting me.” Oh, but this is the gospel! Hear it! “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). Not those who have earned salvation. Not those who have cleaned themselves up sufficiently. Not those of a particular family pedigree, but everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved!!!

By the end of chapter five, the people have set up the memorial of stones in the Jordan River, Israel has crossed the river, the new generation has been circumcised, the Passover has been observed, and Joshua sees the heavenly visitor in a vision (more on that, tomorrow).

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