Waters & Walls: The God Who Splits Waters and Collapses Walls

Today’s selected reading continues in and concludes the Old Testament book of Joshua which was written and recorded by Joshua the son of Nun who was not only tasked with leading the children of Israel into the land of Canaan, but also to conquer and subdue it. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the final three chapters of this Old Testament book. When and as you consider the words which are written and recorded within the chapters of this book you will encounter and come face to face with the Old Testament book of Joshua drawing to a close—drawing to a close after the congregation of the children of Israel not only entered into the land, not only conquered and subdued the land, but also after the land was divided among the congregation and assembly of the children of Israel as an inheritance and possession. I continue to be amazed at the words which are written and recorded within the final verses of the twenty-first chapter, and how in these verses we find Joshua speaking unto the congregation of the children of Israel, and all the LORD did for them while they were in the land of Canaan. As the Old Testament book of Joshua draws to a close it does so with the congregation of the children of Israel having conquered and subdued the land, and having received it as an inheritance and possession given unto them by the LORD their God. If you study the book of Joshua you will essentially find three distinct phases upon their entrance into the land. In the first five chapters you will find the congregation of the children of Israel entering into the land of Canaan after they crossed the Jordan River when the LORD parted and divided the waters. Once the children of Israel had crossed the Jordan River and entered into the land of Canaan you will find Joshua and the children of Israel beginning to conquer and subdue the land by overtaking the enemies and adversaries which were present in the midst of the land. Chapters six through twelve describe how Joshua and the children of Israel destroyed two capital and royal cities—namely the cities of Jericho and Ai—as well as destroying the alliance between Adoni-zedek the king of Jerusalem and four other kings who aligned themselves in battle to make war with the people of Gibeon after they made an alliance of peace with Joshua and the children of Israel. The tenth chapter of this Old Testament book concludes with Joshua having commanded his commanders to put their feet on the necks of these five kings, and then ordered and instructed them to slaughter and kill them. What’s more, is when you come to the eleventh chapter you will find a host as numerous as the sand of the shore marching against Joshua and the children of Israel, and coming against them with horses and chariots to overtake and drive them out of the land. If and as you continue reading the eleventh chapter of this Old Testament book you will find and discover that Joshua and the children of Israel utterly and completely defeated this great host which marched out against them, and won a great victory over them.

As you come to chapter twelve you will find a list of all the kings within the land of Canaan which Joshua and the children of Israel engaged themselves in battle with and against, and how they utterly and completely subdued them within and throughout the land of Canaan. Chapters fourteen through twenty-one describe the third phase of taking possession of the land—namely, dividing the land as an inheritance among the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. The first of the three phases of taking possession of the land is entering into the land; the second of the three phases of taking possession of the land is conquering and subduing it; and the third and final phase of the land is dividing the land as an inheritance unto the congregation and assembly of the children of Israel. In all reality, it might very well be said that there was a fourth and final phase that is found in the narrative of taking possession of the land, and that is choosing which god you are going to serve—whether the gods which existed before the flood, or the living God of heaven and earth. The final three chapters can quite possibly be summarized as Joshua calling the congregation of the children of Israel to choose this day and to draw a definitive line in the proverbial sand concerning whom they would serve, and whom they would worship as their god. We must recognize that this would now be the second third time the congregation and assembly of the children of Israel would be called to choose whom they would serve, and to choose the living God. That first generation was given a choice between blessing and cursing as is written and recorded in the Old Testament book of Leviticus, while in the book of Joshua we find this second generation receiving a second definitive call to choose whom they would serve. The first and initial call would be found in the plains of Moab before they entered into the land of Canaan on the eastern side of the Jordan River. A second clarion call would come after they had conquered and subdued the land, and after the land had been divided among them as an inheritance by Joshua. The final two chapters of this Old Testament book of Joshua perfectly and accurately describe the congregation of the children of Israel being called to make a choice and a decision concerning whom they would serve, and whom they would follow—whether they would serve and worship the living God who created heaven and earth, or the gods of Egypt, and the gods which existed before the floods.

If you read the words which are found in the final verses of the twenty-first chapter of the Old Testament book of Joshua you will find Joshua writing and recording how the LORD had completely and utterly provided for them, and how He had come through on their behalf and had not failed in any of the promises He had made for them. Beginning to read with and from the forty-third verse of this twenty-first chapter you will find the following words which were written and recorded by Joshua the servant of the LORD: “And the LORD gave unto Israel all the land which He sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein. And the LORD gave them rest round about, according to all that he sware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hand. There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass: (Joshua 21:43-45). It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand the words which are found in these verses, for they reveal just how involved the LORD was on behalf of the congregation of the children of Israel, and how the LORD had indeed partnered together with them, and fought alongside them. As we read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture it is necessary that we understand that the LORD as just as much involved in the possession of the land of Canaan as the congregation of the children of Israel were, for not only did the LORD give unto the congregation of the children of Israel, but He also gave them rest round about, and delivered all their enemies into their hand. We must encounter and come face to face with this absolutely astonishing reality, as it dramatically alters and transforms our perception of the activity and involvement of the LORD God within our lives. There are a lot of people who talk about the LORD as one who fights our battles for us, and while it is true the LORD does indeed fight battles for us—He does not fight all our battles for us. Would it shock and completely surprise you to think about and consider the fact that the LORD does not and will not fight all our battles for us?: Would it absolutely stun you to think about and consider the fact that regardless of how much we want the LORD to fight all our battles for us—this simply isn’t the case? I would dare say there are countless men and women who are completely and utterly naïve into thinking and believing that the LORD does indeed and does in fact fight every single one of our battles for us, and that there is no responsibility or action needed on our parts. There are countless men and women who are “trusting” and “believing” the LORD to fight their battles, and that He can and will fight all their battles, however, the truth of the matter is that this simply is not the case. There are times within our lives when the LORD does indeed fight our battles, however there are other times when the LORD trains and teaches us to war and to fight some of the battles we face and encounter within our lives.

The more I read and the more I consider the words which are found in the final verses of the twenty-first chapter of the Old Testament book of Joshua, and the more I consider the entire narrative of taking possession of the land, dividing the land as an inheritance, and all that is written and recorded within the Old Testament book of Joshua, the more I encounter the tremendous reality that there are indeed times within our lives when the LORD does in fact fight our battles for us, while there are other times when the LORD teaches and trains us for battle, and allows us to fight and engage ourselves in the battle ourselves. What’s more, is there are times within our lives when the LORD will neither fight our battles, nor leave us to fight the battles alone, but will fight alongside and fight with us, in order that the battle might be won, and in order that we might triumph over our enemies. The eighteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Psalms is a truly wonderful and remarkable chapter found within this Old Testament book, for it is this Old Testament passage of Scripture that not only points to, but also reveals the absolutely astounding reality that it was true that the LORD did in fact come to the rescue of David, and the LORD did in fact fight the battles for David, but there were other times when David would be entrusted to fight the battles himself, as the LORD would give him strength to fight the battle. Oh, there are times when the LORD does indeed and when the LORD does in fact fight our battles for us, but there are other times when the LORD will teach us how to fight, and will allow us to fight and engage our enemies in conflict and battle as He fights alongside us, and as He He has trained our hands for battle and for war. Consider if you will the words which are found in the eighteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Psalms—words which were written after the LORD had delivered David out of the hands of all His enemies, and after the LORD had delivered David out of the hands of Saul. Consider if you will the words which are found in the eighteenth chapter of the book of Psalms, beginning to read with and from the opening verse of the chapter:

“I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliver; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. The sorrows of death compasses me, and the floods of the ungodly men made me afraid. The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me. In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry came before Him, even into His ears. Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because He was wroth. There went up a smoke out of His nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it. HE bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet. And he rose upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies. At the brightness that was before him this chick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire. The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice; hail stones and coals of fire. Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them. Then the channels of waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered at thy rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils. He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me. They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay. HE brought me forth also into a large place; He delivered me, because He delighted in me. The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all his judgments were before me, and I did not put away his statutes from me. I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity. Therefore hath the LORD recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight. With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright; with the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward. For thou wilt save the afflicted people; but wilt bring down high looks. For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness. For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall. As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: He is a buckler to all those that trust in him. For who is God save the LORD? OR who is a rock save our God? It is God that girdeth me with strength, and make the my way perfect. He make the my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places. HE teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms. Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath Holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great. Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip. I have pursued mine enemies, and overtaken them: neither did I turn again till they were consumed. I have wounded them that were not able to rise: they are fallen under my feet. For thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle: thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me. Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies; that I might destroy them that hate me. They cried, but there was none to save them: even unto the LORD, but He answered them not. Then did I beat them small as the dust before the wind: I did cast them out as the dirt in the streets. Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people; and thou hast made me the head of the heathen: a people whom I have not known shall serve me” (Psalms 18:1-43).

It is quite clear when reading the words which are found within this passage of Scripture that the living God did indeed rescue David, and did in fact fight some of the battles which David faced, however, it is also true the living God also taught and trained David’s hands for war, and his hands for battle in order that he might conquer and subdue his enemies before him. What I so absolutely love about the narratives of David and Joshua is that both men were given the necks of their enemies, and both men were given their enemies in battle, as the LORD was not slow, nor was He slack concerning His promises. What’s more, is that it would be during the days of both Joshua and David the living God would grant unto them rest from their enemies round about, and would allow them to enter into a period of time where they could enjoy and experience that which the LORD had given them. IT’s worth thinking about and considering the fact that the living God had indeed and had in fact raised up Joshua to bring rest in the midst of the land which was to be theirs as an inheritance, and Joshua was indeed given rest from his enemies round about; and it is also true that during the days of David the LORD also gave him rest from all his enemies round about. It would be during the days of David that the living God would indeed and would in fact give unto David a profound sense of rest from all his enemies round about him as he would secure and expand the kingdom of heaven. We dare not miss the narratives of Joshua and David, for within their generations the living God used them mightily to conquer and subdued enemies which were before them—enemies which were undoubtedly more and mightier than they were. It is necessary that we recognize and understand the absolutely wonderful reality that the congregation of the children of Israel experienced two distinct times during their history when the LORD did in fact give them rest from their enemies round about, and this rest would come during the days of Joshua and David. What’s more, is there were times within the narrative and history of the congregation of the children of Israel when they had absolutely nothing to fear—neither within the land which was given unto them as an inheritance, nor round about them in the midst of the earth. It is this concept of not fearing that which was before, nor that which was round about them, nor even that which was present in the midst of their borders and boundaries. I am reminded of the words which are written and recorded in both the twenty-seventh and ninetieth chapters of the Old Testament book of the Psalms, for it is within these chapters where we are completely and utterly gripped with the reality of confronting fear within our lives, and living in a quiet place of rest, trust and confidence. Consider if you will the words which are found in each of these passages beginning with the first verse of each chapter:

“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Thou an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident. One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD. Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek. Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up. Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies. Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty. I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say on the LORD” (Psalm 27:1-14).

“He that dwellers in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall delivere thee from the snare of the Fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I’d deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation” (Psalm 91:1-16).

As I read the words which the psalmist wrote in each of these chapters I can’t help but be absolutely and completely gripped with the tremendous courage and boldness that was needed within the hearts and souls of both Joshua and the congregation of the children of Israel as they crossed over the Jordan River and entered into the land. I continue to be absolutely and incredible amazed with and by the fact that we spend a great deal of time and effort focusing on the waters of the Jordan River parting before Joshua and the children of Israel, and yet we completely neglect and ignore the supernatural power that was needed to remove the restraint of the waters and allowing them to return unto their rightful place in the midst of the land of Israel. It was one thing for the living God to part and divide the waters of the Jordan River and thus allow the children of Israel to cross over into the land on dry ground, however, it is something else entirely for the LORD to remove His restraining power on the waters and thus allowing them to return to their rightful place. Once the waters of the Jordan River returned to their rightful place behind the feet of the priests who bore the ark it was a sign and symbol from the living God that their journey in the wilderness was over, and that the reproach of Egypt had been removed and rolled away. What’s more, is that when the waters of the Jordan River returned to its rightful place in the midst of the land it was a portent for Joshua and the children of Israel that the only way for them to move is forward. WHEN THE WATERS RETURN THERE IS ONLY ONE DIRECTION TO MOVE! WHEN THE WATERS RETURN THERE IS ONLY ONE PATH TO TAKE! WHEN THE WATERS RETURN THE CONFRONTATION OF THE ENEMY BEGINS! We dare not miss and lose sight of this absolutely wonderful and incredible reality, for to do so would be to miss the awesome significance and importance of returning waters. The LORD did indeed restrain and hold back the waters in order for the congregation of the children of Israel to pass over the Jordan River—at least six hundred thousand in total—and enter into the land, and the waters would be restrained until each and every sole of the feet of those soldiers and men of war crossed over into the land. Oh, I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like as more than half a million men of war passed through the parted waters of the Jordan River—particularly and especially for the inhabitants of the land. We know for a fact when reading the Old Testament book of Joshua that the inhabitants of the land heard the report how the waters of the Jordan River were parted and separated from before the children of Israel, and how they had entered into the land. I am sure there were those within the land who thought and believed that the waters of the Jordan River would somehow keep the congregation of the children of Israel out of the land of Canaan, and yet the LORD their God would prove and demonstrate otherwise.

The more I read and the more I consider the words which are found within the Old Testament book of Joshua the more I can’t help but get the strong sense and be confronted with the fact that there were essentially two obstacles which stood before the congregation of the children of Israel—both with their own symbolic and significant message. I have previously written concerning the city of Jericho and how the city of Jericho was tightly shut up so that none went in and none went out for fear of the children of Israel. The city of Jericho was surrounded by walls so thick you could race chariots on top of them, and all that was present within and in the midst of the city was tightly shut up and tightly shut off from the outside world and from the children of Israel. I firmly believe that the city of Jericho represents strongholds within our lives that are not only fortified with walls so thick that they seem impenetrable, but also preach a message that it is absolutely impossible for the people of God to gain access to it. When I think about and consider the words which are written and found concerning the city of Jericho I can’t help but get the sense that when the inhabitants of the city closed and shut the city off, it was a powerful message unto the children of Israel that access would indeed be denied, and that there was absolutely no way of accessing that which was inside. I firmly believe that this was a similar message to the waters of the Jordan River which stood and served as a border and boundary for the land of Canaan with all the inhabitants which lived and dwelt in the midst of it. I would dare say that there were those inhabitants of the land who might have felt that the waters of the Jordan River served as a boundary to keep the congregation of the children of Israel out of the land of Canaan, and that there was absolutely no chance for them to enter into the land. This would especially be true when you think about and consider the fact that when the congregation of the children of Israel came to the Jordan River, they did so at the time of harvest when the Jordan River overflowed its banks. In all reality, I would dare say that the time the children of Israel came to the Jordan River was a time when it might have seemed impossible to enter into the land, for it was the time of harvest when the waters of the Jordan River overflowed its banks. I am convinced that the Jordan River was more than just a border and boundary for the land of Canaan, for it was also a message that was preached unto the children of Israel that there was absolutely no way they were getting into the land of Canaan. I would dare say that the inhabitants of the land had heard what Joshua and the children of Israel had done unto Sihon and Og on the western side of the Jordan River, and they believed that the waters of the Jordan River would somehow keep the children of Israel out of the land.

IF THE WATERS OF THE RED SEA COULD NOT KEEP THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL IN THE LAND OF EGYPT, HOW COULD THE WATERS OF THE JORDAN RIVER KEEP THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL OUT OF THE PROMISED LAND? This is a truly astonishing and remarkable question when you take the time to think about it, for I would dare say that there were those in the midst of the land of Canaan who thought and sincerely believed that the waters of the Jordan River would and could somehow keep the children of Israel out of the land of Canaan, and yet this was perhaps what was so incredibly powerful about the parting of the Red Sea, for even if the congregation of the children of Israel doubted for a single moment that the waters of the Jordan River could keep them out of the land of Canaan, they needed only to look back upon their own narrative and their own history and point to that time when they were encamped between the adversary and impossibility, and how the LORD their God parted the waters of the Red Sea and thus allowed them to pass through and make it safely to the other side. What’s more, is that I am sure the inhabitants of the land of Canaan thought the congregation of the children of Israel would and could not enter into the land of Canaan, and that the waters of the Jordan River would somehow keep them out, and yet the truth of the matter is that while they might have heard reports of what the LORD had done forty years earlier at the Red Sea, it did not even register that the same God who parted the waters of the Red Sea a generation earlier could part and divide the waters of the Jordan River. THE GOD WHO REPEATS WONDERS OF GENERATIONS! We must understand and recognize that the living God is the same yesterday, today and forever, and is both the Alpha and the Omega. This indicates that there is no shadow of turning at all within the nature and character of God, and that who He was in generations past He continues to be in generations present. I absolutely love and am incredibly captivated with and by the fact that even if the inhabitants of the land of Canaan thought and believed—even for a single second—that the congregation of the children of Israel could be kept out of the land of Canaan because of the waters of the Jordan River which was before them, they would need to look back upon the history and narrative of the children of Israel, and how the Lord their God had parted and divided the waters of the Red Sea. If the Lord their God would, could, and in fact did part the waters of the Red Sea before them an entire generation earlier, then that same God would and could part and divide the waters of the Jordan River before the children of Israel, and thus allow them to cross over on dry ground and enter into the land.

YOU SPLIT THE SEAS SO I COULD WALK RIGHT THROUGH! This is a popular line in a contemporary Christian song that was written and sung by Bethel Music, and yet I am convinced that this statement only tells half the story, for the living God not only parted the waters and split the sea so the children of Israel could walk right through, but the living God also parted the waters and split the river so they could walk through the midst of them and enter into the land of Canaan. What is so utterly and completely fascinating about the encounter at the Jordan River is when you think about and consider the fact that just a generation earlier the living God had parted and divided the waters of the Red Sea after pushing and holding them back all night so the path beneath the waters would and could be revealed. In a similar manner the living God would not use a strong east wind to part and divide the waters of the Jordan River, but would cause them to be shut off upstream, and stand upon a heap a distance from where the congregation of the children of Israel would cross. The living God would part and divide the waters of the Jordan River so the congregation of the children of Israel could walk straight into the land which was to be theirs as an inheritance, and there was absolutely nothing that would and could keep them out. As deeply foreboding and ominous as the boundary and border of the Jordan River might have been for the congregation of the children of Israel, I can’t help but get the strong sense that despite the message which seemed to scream and shout at the congregation of the children of Israel that they would and could not enter into the land, the LORD their God would operate and move similarly to how He moved a generation earlier. Oh there would be no enemies behind them pursuing them when they came to the Jordan River, and the congregation of the children of Israel were not fearful when they came to the waters of the Jordan River, and I would dare say there was a certain measure of confidence and courage that was found within their hearts and souls as and when they came to the Jordan River, for they had experienced great victories and triumphs on the eastern side of the Jordan River. On the eastern side of the Jordan River the congregation of the children of Israel had utterly and completely defeated Sihon king of Heshbon with all his people, and had even defeated Og king of Bashan which was indeed a descendant of the giants. Even before the children of Israel would enter into the land of Canaan and confront the giants which were on the other side of the Jordan River, they would face and utterly defeat Og king of Bashan who was a descendant of the giants, and who attempted to stand against and before them.

I have to admit that I absolutely and completely love the narrative of the congregation of the children of Israel entering into the land of Canaan, and crossing through the Jordan River, for in order for them to begin conquering and subduing the land they needed to overcome two distinct and separate messages that essentially attempted to scream at them that they would and could not enter in. The Jordan River stood as a border and boundary that they would and could not enter into the land of Canaan, while the city of Jericho stood as a stronghold within the land that screamed and shout that they could not enter in, nor overthrow the stronghold. WHEN WATERS AND WALLS SHOUT IN YOUR FACE! Oh there is not a doubt in my mind that waters and walls can and do in fact shout and scream in your face, and attempt to declare to you that there is absolutely no way you can and will enter in, and that there is absolutely no way for you march straight up into that which the LORD your God has promised and declared unto you. The waters screamed and shouted at the congregation of the children of Israel that they could not enter into the land which was promised unto them and unto their fathers, while the walls of Jericho screamed and shouted at them that they would and could not take the times and strongholds which were present in the city, and that they could not access what was inside. The waters scream and shout that the congregation of the children of Israel cannot enter into that which the LORD their God had for them, while the walls of Jericho screamed and shouted unto them that they could not access that which was present within and in the midst of the land. Oh please don’t miss and please don’t lose sight of this absolutely tremendous reality, for the Old Testament book of Joshua is a truly wonderful and powerful message to the people of God when they face and encounter waters in their own lives which seem to scream and shout that there is no way they can enter into that which the LORD their God has for them. What’s more, is that the walls which stand in the midst of the city—walls which seem to scream and shout unto the people of God that even if they do manage to enter into that which the LORD has promised unto them, they cannot access that which is inside—are a powerful message unto the people of God when they encounter walls which are present within their own lives. The walls of the city of Jericho stood and served as a daunting, taunting, and flaunting message before and unto the children of Israel concerning the land which was before them, for if they could not enter into the city of Jericho—how on earth would and how on earth could they enter into and access that which was present within and throughout the land. I absolutely love how in this passage of Scripture we find the first battle which the congregation of the children of Israel faced was the city of Jericho, for not only was it a stronghold directly east of the Jordan River, but despite the fact that its walls taunted and flaunted a certain strength and fortitude before the children of Israel, they were not destined to stand.

WALLS WERE NOT MEANT TO STAND, AND WATERS WERE NOT MEANT TO KEEP YOU OUT! Pause for a moment and think about and consider that statement—in fact those two statements—for if and when you do you will encounter and come face to face with the tremendous reality that as the people of God we encounter waters and walls within our lives, and each reality has a very specific message which is being preached unto and before us. The message of the waters is that there is absolutely no way we can and no way we will enter into the land which the living God has prepared for and promised unto us, while the message of the walls is that there is absolutely no way we can access that which is found in the midst of the city, and there is absolutely no way we can take the strongholds which were present in the midst of the land. Perhaps the greatest question we must ask ourselves as we consider the book of Joshua is whether or not we are believing the taunts and flaunts of the waters and walls, and whether we are choosing to believe the lies which are before us—lies which are meant to keep us out, and keep us from entering in and taking possession of that which the LORD our God has promised unto and prepared for us. There is not a doubt in my mind the inhabitants of the land thought and believed that the waters of the Jordan River would and could keep the congregation of the children of Israel from entering into the land, and much to their surprise—the waters were parted before the children of Israel, and all their men of war would cross over the Jordan River and enter into the land. Undoubtedly the inhabitants of the city of Jericho thought and believed that their walls could keep the children of Israel from enter in, and from overthrowing and taking the city, and yet the LORD their God would Himself cause the walls to collapse before his people. What I find to be so absolutely astonishing and remarkable is when you think about and consider the fact that when it came to the waters of the Jordan River, and when it came to the walls of Jericho, the people of God had absolutely nothing to do with either of them opening up for them. When it came to the waters which were before them, the priests which bore the ark were to enter into the waters, and the minute their feet were in the waters, the LORD would part and divide the waters before the children of Israel as the priests moved toward the center of the river and stood stationary on solid and dry ground. When it came to the walls of Jericho, the congregation of the children of Israel had absolutely nothing to do with them collapsing and coming crashing down before them, for the only thing they did was march around the city in silence one time for six days before marching around the city in silence seven times on the seventh day before shouting with all their might as they watched the walls of the city collapse and crumble before them. Oh, I firmly believe that the congregation of the children of Israel didn’t simply shout at the conclusion of that seventh time marching, and only shout until they began to see the walls crumble before them. I firmly believe the children of Israel shouted until they began to see the walls crumble, and continued to shout as they continued to watch the walls of the city crumble and collapse in a heap of ruins before them. What’s more, is I would dare say that it is very possible that they screamed and shouted even as they marched straight up into the city, and as they put the city to the edge of the sword, and completely and utterly took it.

WHAT WALLS AND WHAT WATERS ARE BEFORE YOU TODAY? It is necessary that we consider these questions, for how we answer these questions can and will determine how we respond to Joshua’s clarion call and clarion cry at the conclusion of the book concerning which god we can and will choose to serve. We cannot, we dare not, and we must not miss and lose sight of the tremendous reality of the walls and waters which are before us, for despite the flaunting and taunting screams and shouts of both—neither were meant to keep us out, and neither were meant to keep us from accessing that which the LORD our God has for us in this life and in the midst of the generation in which we are living. The waters which were before the children of Israel were not meant to keep them out, and they were not meant to keep the children of Israel on the eastern edge of the Jordan River. Despite the fact that it was harvest time when the congregation of the children of Israel came to the Jordan River—the waters themselves were not meant to remain in their place before the people of God, for the LORD their God would part and divide the waters before them, thus causing and thus allowing them to cross over and enter into the land on dry ground. The walls of the city of Jericho—despite the fact that they taunted and flaunted strength and fortitude before the children of Israel, and despite the fact that they screamed and shouted unto the children of Israel that they could not access that which was present in the midst of the land—were not meant to keep the children of Israel out of the city, nor keep them from utterly and completely taking the city. When it came to the waters which flowed before the people of God the LORD their God would part and divide the waters, and when it came to the walls which stood before the people of God the LORD their God would collapse those walls and cause them to crumble in a heap of ruins before the people of God. THE GOD WHO PARTS THE WATERS AND COLLAPSES WALLS! I have to pause here and ask you the underlying question of whether or not you truly recognize and understand what is found within this Old Testament book. Are you aware of just how great and just how significant it is for the people of God to not only come to waters, but also come to walls—both of which screamed and shouted unto them that they would and could not enter into, nor access that which was present in the midst of the land? The people of God came to waters which I am sure they wondered how they would cross and pass over them—only to discover the LORD their God would part and divide the waters before them. The people of God came to walls which were incredibly fortified, and I am sure they wondered how those walls would fall, and yet the LORD their God would cause the walls to fall and crumble before them.

WATERS WERE NEVER MEANT TO KEEP YOU OUT AND WALLS WERE NEVER MEANT TO KEEP YOU FROM MARCHING UP AND ACCESSING THE LAND! It is absolutely necessary for us to think about and consider these words, for what we find within these words brings us face to face with the absolutely wonderful and incredible word and message that neither waters nor walls could keep us out, nor could they keep us from accessing that which the LORD our God has for us. Despite the fact the inhabitants of the land might very well have felt that the waters of the Jordan River would and could keep the congregation of the children of Israel out of the land of Canaan, the LORD their God had different plans, as He would cause the waters to part. What’s more, is that not only did the LORD cause the waters to part, but He also allowed the children of Israel to set up a monument in the midst of the Jordan River, which would stand as a monument for generations to come concerning the faithfulness of the living God. When it came to the waters of the Red Sea there was no monument that would be set up in the midst of the sea, but there would be a testimony that would be established there in the midst of the waters, as the horses and chariots of the host of Egypt would be drowned beneath the waters. There would be bodies of Egyptians that would line the shore of the sea, and I am sure there were even more bodies buried beneath the waters—and not only bodies buried beneath the waters, but also horses and chariots which were buried beneath the waters. At the Red Sea the monument beneath and in the midst of the waters were the horses and chariots of Egypt which came out against the people of God, while at the Jordan River the monument in the midst of the waters was twelve stones which were deliberately and intentionally placed there by twelve men—one from each of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. At the city and walls of Jericho there was no monument that was set up or established, however, there was a powerful testimony that existed at this city, for Joshua declared that the city itself was never to be rebuilt, and that whoever would attempt to rebuild its walls and gates would do so at the expense and cost of his first and second born sons. I absolutely love that neither the waters nor the walls would and could keep the children of Israel out of that which the LORD had promised and prepared for them, and the LORD would cause the waters to part and would cause the walls to collapse before them. It is these two realities which bring us face to face with the truly wonderful and powerful reality concerning which god we will choose to serve. We cannot, we dare not, we must not miss and lose sight of this reality, for when you come to the final chapters of this Old Testament book of Joshua you will find the fourth phase of the possession of the land—namely, choosing which god the children of Israel would serve, and which god they would worship and follow. Consider if you will the words which are found—first in the twenty-third chapter of this Old Testament book:

“And it came to pass a long time after that the LORD had given rest unto Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua waxed old and stricken in age. And Joshua called for all Israel, and for their elders, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers, and said unto them, I am old and stricken in age: and ye have seen all that the LORD your God hath done unto all these nations because of you; for the LORD your God is he that hath fought for you. Behold, I have divided unt you by lot these nations that remain, to be an inheritance for your tribes, from Jordan, with all the nations that I have cut off, even unto the great sea westward. And the LORD your God hath promised unto you. Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written int eh book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left; that ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them: but cleave unto the LORD your God, as ye have done unto this day. For the LORD hath driven out from before you great nations and strong: but as for you, no man hath been able to stand before you unto this day. One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the LORD your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as He hath promised you. Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the LORD your God. Else if ye do in any wise go back, and cleave unto the remnant of these nations, even these that remain among you and shall make marriages with them, and go in unto them, and they to you: know for a certainty that the LORD your God will no more drive out any of these nations from before you; but they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you. And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof. Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all good things are come upon you, which the LORD your God promised you; so shall the LORD bring upon you all evil things, until he have destroyed you from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you. When ye have transgressed the covenant of the LORD your God, which He commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed yourselves to them; then shall the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and ye shall perish quickly from off the good land which he hath given unto you” (Joshua 23:1-16).

I leave you with the following words which were written and recorded by Joshua in the final chapter of this book as a powerful warning and word of caution to you who experience waters and walls, as you make the decision this day which god you will worship, which god you will serve, and which god you will follow. Consider if you will the words which are written and recorded in the twenty-fourth and final chapter of the book of Joshua beginning with the first verse of the chapter:

“And Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers; and they presented themselves before God. And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Torah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nacchor: and they serve other gods. And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac. And I gave unto Isaac Jacob and Esau: and I gave unto Esau mount Seir to possess it; but Jacob and his children went down into Egypt. I sent Moses also and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt, according to that which I did among them: and afterward I brought you out. And I brought you’re fathers out of Egypt: and ye came unto the sea, and the Egyptians pursued after your fathers with chariots and horsemen unto the Red Sea. And when they cried unto the LROD, he put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea upon them, and covered them; and your eyes have seen what I have done in Egypt: and ye dwelt in the wilderness a long season. And I brought you into the land of the Amorites, which dwelt on the other side of the JORdan; and they fought with you: and I gave them into your hand, that ye might possess their land; and I destroyed them from before you. Then Belak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and warred against Israel, and sent and called Balaam the son of Beor to curse you: but I would not hearten unto Balaam; therefore he blessed you still: so I delivered you out of his hand. And ye went over Jordan, and came unto Jericho: and the men of Jericho fought against you, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Girgashites, the Hittites, and the Jebusites; and I delivered them into your hand. And I sent the hornet before you, which drove them out from before you, even the two kings of the Amorites; but not with thy sword, nor with thy bow. And I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat. Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:1-15).

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