Advent Devotional | Day 7: Jesus and Joshua Proclaim God Saves


Yesu kple Yesua ᶑe gbeƒabe Mawu nye ame ᶑela

Ewe / Joshua 3:1–17

Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.”
– Joshua 3:5

The African people hold in highest esteem the one who will deliver an African tribal state from the incessant attacks of other tribal states and foreign slave raiders and give them peace and rest on all sides. Joshua and Jesus are similarly estimable figures who bring peace and rest for their people, and the story of Joshua in the Old Testament anticipates the redemptive work of Jesus in the New Testament. “Joshua” is the Hebrew form of the Greek name “Jesus,” which means “the Lord saves.” Through both of them, God does just that.

Joshua obeys the Lord’s instruction and so leads the people of Israel across the Jordan River and into the promised land (Joshua 3:1–17). The ark of the covenant represents the presence and power of God among His people to fulfill His covenant promise. Indeed, the text draws Israel’s (and our) attention to this: “This is how you will know that the living God is among you… See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you” (Joshua 3:10–11). They experienced a miracle as soon as the feet of the priests carrying the ark touched the water so that the whole nation completed the crossing into the promised land on dry ground. The text notes that this happened at the time of the flood stage of the Jordan River. Not only does this make the physical miracle more impressive, it also draws attention to the biblical symbolism of raging waters as judgment (i.e., the flood of Genesis 6–9 and the Red Sea being released back upon the Egyptians). What an awesome miracle of God’s divine power and his redemptive grace! God’s people cross into the promised land protected from judgment by His grace and love, fulfilling His covenant promise. Salvation is the work of God alone.

There are important similarities between the stories of God’s divine intervention and provision in Joshua’s story and God’s provision in Jesus. In Joshua’s story, the crossing of the Jordan River marks a new beginning as the Israelites leave the wilderness life behind and step into the promised land. “Crossing the Jordan River” with Jesus is a transition from death to life through faith in Jesus.

First, there is life reconnected to God the Father. God made Jesus “who had no sin to be sin for us” (2 Corinthians 5:21), and when, on the cross, He cried, “It is finished,” the curtain of the temple was torn into two (Matthew 27:51), demon­strating the access to the very throne room of God that He had won. Whoever follows Jesus through belief and repentance enters this new life with God.

Second, this new life with God is eternal (1 John 5:11–12). The resurrection of Jesus assures us that He can and will lead us through death into a life that is everlasting. By grace in keeping His promise, God delivers us from sin’s guilt and punishment to new, eternal life with Him through His servant, Jesus.

Third, this new life is purposeful. In Canaan, Joshua mobilized the people who experienced God’s salvation to fulfill God’s mission in the land. Similarly, Jesus commissions those who have new birth in Him to participate in God’s mission to witness to and facilitate people’s entry into the Kingdom of God through faith in Jesus. Jesus’ plan is for all people groups on all continents to receive the invitation of entry into the Kingdom of God.

And so, believers from all corners of the globe should partner together for a global conquest of hearts and minds for Jesus. The sweet music of the salvation Jesus brings must be heard from the lips of all people groups worldwide (Revelation 7:9–12). Dr Kwegyir Aggrey of Africa said that when you play the black keys only on the piano, you get some good music, when you play the white keys only, you get some good music, but it is when you play both the black and the white keys together that you get excellent music. Through Bible-centred and Jesus-honouring global partnerships, motivated by the love of Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:14–15), may the sweet music of salvation ring out to people worldwide!

Jude Hama

Jude Hama

Jude Hama is the President of the Africa Bible Centre for Disciple- making and Discipleship (ABCD). He is an Entomologist and part of the Langham Preaching movement in Ghana.