Joshua 3: Exaltation

Read: Joshua 3

Joshua had already received his commission from God and Moses before all the people of Israel. He had been commanded to be bold and courageous and be obedient to the law of God. The people had recognized Joshua as the successor to Moses. With this in mind, Joshua’s leadership was about to be put to the test. In light of this, God promises to exalt Joshua as the leader as God exalted Moses as the leader of the people. Joshua gives specific instructions to the priest concerning what to do with the Ark of the Covenant as they went down to the Jordan. God says that the miracle that he was about to perform would serve as a reminder to them that God was among them and would dispose of the inhabitants of Canaan. The priest did exactly as they were instructed to do, and the Jordan River was stopped so that the Israelites were able to cross.

The crossing of the Jordan was certainly reminiscent of crossing the Red Sea in Exodus 14. Joshua 4:23 likens the crossing of the Red Sea to the crossing of the Jordan River. The mighty work of God at the Red Sea was remembered for generations to come and it also cemented Moses’ position as leader in the minds of the people that left Egypt, although they did at times forget. What the Red Sea crossing did for Moses the crossing of the Jordan did for Joshua: establishing God’s role as the Mighty One and Joshua as his emissary. God also exalted Solomon in much the same manner as he did Moses and Joshua when Solomon became leader (1 Chronicles 29:25). Ultimately, though, the one who was exalted above all others was Jesus (Acts 19:17, Philippians 1:2, Philippians 2:9-11, Hebrews 2:8-9). Jesus was already God (as if he needed anymore exalting!) but Jesus set aside his glory and became a man, humbling himself to the point of death on the cross. Jesus was completely obedient to the will of the Father while he was on earth. After Jesus accomplished this task, God exalted him above all others.

The exaltations of Moses, Joshua, Solomon, and Jesus by God all came with a demand for submission to God and obedience to God. It is for this reason that Jesus talks about humility in light of exaltation. Jesus says that the ones who want to be the greatest in the kingdom of God must be humble as a servant – that is become completely submitted to the will of the God as Jesus did (Mark 1042-45). God cannot use a person who is not obedient to his will to accomplish his mission. Nor can God use a person that seeks his or her own will over God’s. The ones that God exalts in his kingdom are the ones who are willing to do what God asks. These are the people who God lifts up to lead and inspire others to do great things in accordance to the will and purposes of God.

Lord, help me be completely obedient to you so I can be effective in accomplishing your mission!