Summary: 2nd in a long series on Joshua. This topically looks at the number 3, and how it often means that God will bring back to life. Step into the 3rd day!
Joshua 1:10-11 – The Resurrection of a Generation
(Many thanks to Audio Adrenaline for the title, and John Eldredge for the thoughts...)
An article by Pat Barnes appeared in the March 1995 issue of Guideposts. It went like this… It was a beautiful spring day, and a sense of peace stayed with me as I left the cathedral on Easter Monday morning. I paused for a moment on top of the steps leading to the avenue, now crowded with people rushing to their jobs. Sitting in her usual place inside a small archway was the old flower lady. At her feet corsages and boutonnieres were parading on top of a spread-open newspaper.
The flower lady was smiling, her wrinkled old face alive with some inner joy. I started down the stairs—then, on an impulse, turned and picked out a flower.
As I put it in my lapel, I said, “You look happy this morning.”
“Why not? Everything is good.”
She was dressed so shabbily and seemed so very old that her reply startled me.
“You’ve been sitting here for many years now, haven’t you? And always smiling. You wear your troubles well.”
“You can’t reach my age and not have troubles,” she replied. “Only it’s like Jesus and Good Friday . . . ” She paused for a moment.
“Yes?” I prompted.
“Well, when Jesus was crucified on Good Friday, that was the worst day for the whole world. And when I get troubles I remember that, and then I think of what happened only three days later—Easter and our Lord arising. So when I get troubles, I’ve learned to wait three days . . . somehow everything gets all right again.”
And she smiled good-bye. Her words still follow me whenever I think I have troubles. Give God a chance to help . . . wait three days.
A 3 day waiting period. That phrase should ring a bell to you. Let’s read Joshua 1:10-11. In the scripture passage we looked at last week, we saw God’s words to Joshua: “Moses is dead… My promises are for you… be strong and courageous… I will be with you.” And now, Joshua is speaking to the leaders, the commanders, the officers of the people. And he’s saying that they are going to take the land promised to them. And he’s saying to get ready. Joshua is telling his people to prepare themselves for the challenges awaiting them.
Remember where they are: They are stationed on the eastern side of the north-south-running Jordan River, waiting to cross its waters to get to Canaan, the Promised Land, where they would establish their new homes. They had been wandering for some time.
In fact, a whole generation had passed since they had permanent homes. It had been 40 years and some months since they had left Egypt. So, even though they had permanent homes, they were still slaves. Not one of them knew what it was to own their own land and be free. But the time had come. God had given the word to Joshua. He was to lead His people to Canaan. And it would all begin in 3 days.
Which sounds vaguely familiar. Where have we heard that concept, that things would be better in 3 days? It’s actually quite a common thought in the Bible.
Way back in Genesis 1, when all had been darkness, on the 3rd day, God brought light. Our forefather of the faith, Abraham, almost sacrificed his only son Isaac on the 3rd day of his journey to worship God. Ah, but Abraham got him back, when the Lord provided another sacrifice. This is Genesis 22.
Skip ahead in Genesis about 20 chapters. After Joseph’s brothers came to get food in a famine, he let them out of their imprisonment on the 3rd day. That’s Genesis 42.
During the 9th plagues of Egypt, darkness covered the land, except Goshen, where the Israelites lived. The darkness lasted for 3 days, which means that light came on the 3rd day. Exodus 10.
Well, God brought His people out of Egypt, and they crossed the Red Sea. The people complained about the lack of water, and 3 days after they crossed the Red Sea, God brought forth water – Exodus 15.
Their journey continued, and they came to Mt.Sinai. God told Moses to prepare the Israelites for a visit from God. 3 days later, God appeared to His people – Exodus 19.
Let’s skip ahead to the book of Joshua, chapter 2. Rahab the prostitute told the spies they should wait until the coast was clear, then they could flee. How long should they wait until safety? 3 days.
In the time of the Kings, David sinned against God, and God gave David a choice of punishments. David chose a nation-wide plague. The nation endured the plague for 3 days, then was relieved – 2 Sam. 24.