23 So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the Lord had spoken to Moses, and Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. Thus the land had rest from war.
Through the fall of Adam, God’s people and land had been lost. The covenant of the torch was ratified in order to recover God’s people and land. This covenant is the central covenant of all the covenants, acting as the foundation of the entire process of redemptive history in recovering God’s people and His land. God ratified the covenant of the torch with Abraham in 2082 BC, giving the specific boundaries of the land to be inherited by Abraham and his descendants (Gen 15:18-21). This covenant is an everlasting covenant (Psalms 105:5-8) that was promised to us as Abraham’s spiritual descendants (Gal 3:27-29). The Israelites’ faith and journey exemplifies the faith we must have and the life we must live.
1. Crossing the Jordan
The Israelites crossed the Jordan in 1406 BC, after their 40-year wilderness journey. God tells Joshua to be courageous and arise with the people and move forward in conquering Canaan. We must also arise and go forward to conquer the world with the Word of redemptive history, for God called us as His people and brought us from darkness into His light (Isa 60:1-3; 1 Pet 2:10-13) in order to proclaim the Word and be the shining light that draws others to Him (Prov 20:27). God ordered the Israelites to be circumcised (Josh 3) in Gilgal, which represents putting away the old self and becoming a new person, a true child of God, since only the true sons of God have the right to inherit the Promised Land. Crossing the Jordan symbolizes throwing away all earthly things and becoming a spiritual person in order to enter the kingdom of God (1 Cor 15:50-53). “Gilgal” means to roll away reproach, and the greatest reproach is death (Isa 25:8), which God will roll away once and for all.
2. The Six Years of War (1406 BC ~ 1400 BC)
The Israelites first conquered the central region of Jericho, Ai, and Gibeon, which prevented the northern and southern regions from uniting against them. At the fortified city of Jericho, God gave specific instructions to Joshua to silently march around the city once for six days, led by the high priests and the ark. On the seventh day, God instructed them to walk around seven times and to shout out after the seventh time. The walls of Jericho crumbled down and the city was conquered. Just like the Israelites, we must silence our complaining and grumbling, and if we pray and obey God’s Word with praises and shouts to God, the walls of Jericho in our lives will come crumbling down (Psalm 22:3; 119:164). In the city of Ai, God instructed to not take the things that were under the ban, for they are the Lord’s. God revealed to Joshua that Achan took what belonged to God, and it was only after Joshua correcting this did the Israelites obtain victory. If we take away what belongs to God, we cannot obtain victory in our lives (Mal 3:10). All of our firstlings belong to God, like the first day of the week (Sunday, the Lord’s Day) and the first time in the morning (dawn prayer). Tithing, thank offerings, and keeping worship all belong to God. After conquering Ai, the Israelites then conquered the lands of the southern five kings. The five kings planned to attack Gibeon, but the Gibeonites hadthe spiritual discernment to make a peace treaty with Joshua. We must also have the spiritual discernment to make peace treaties and get along with others. Joshua respected the covenant he had made and went to Gibeon’s aid, where he prayed for the sun to stand still and to gain victory over battle (Josh 10:12). Joshua’s faith was hotter than the sun, and we too must have the passionate heart to hear God’s Word (Rom 10:17), which will lead us to the burning faith that guarantees victory. Josh not only conquered the southern region, but also conquered Hazor in the north and defeated the northern kings. Thus Joshua conquered all of Canaan in six years (Josh 11:18) and the land had rest from war (Josh 11:23).
We battle with the good and evil in our hearts. We must overcome the sins in our hearts (Mark 7:20-22). We are also constantly at war with other people and obstacles. But just as “the land had rest from war,” we will also obtain peace within ourselves and with others when we go out and possess the land with the Word of God. We must be filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8) and become true witnesses for God, and arise and take courage andgo forward in conquering Canaan by spreading the Word of redemptive history.