This week’s Haftarah portion is taken from Joshua 3-4. Listen in as Dr. Jeffery Myers teaches on what it means to live a redeemed and sanctified life in this world.
Follow along in the AUDIO PODCAST, by clicking on the play button below, and reading along with the notes, as you listen to today's Haftarah:
Lion of Judah Speaks: Haftarah Portion - Joshua 3-4
Lion of Judah Ministries
Dr. Jeffery L. Myers
In our western society, we are obsessed with the search for “self”. Our obsession to “find ourselves”, has birthed a whole set of counterfeit values; we worship fame, success, materialism, and celebrity. We want to “live for success” as we “look out for ourselves”.
However, the Kehillah is in almost as much trouble as our culture and society, for we have bought into the same value system: fame, success, materialism and celebrity. We are enticed by the leading churches and leading Christians wanting to emulate the best-known, most famous preachers who have the biggest sanctuaries and largest followers. Preoccupation with these values has also perverted our message…” We give the people what they want”. This heresy is at the root of the most dangerous message today: the what’s-in-it-for-me gospel.
The “victorious Christian life” has become man’s victorious life, not YHVH’s! YHVH helps those who help themselves gospel of our culture; it is heresy. The question is, “Where do we find an authentic intimate love relationship with YHVH without all the glitter and carnality? Where do we find authentic discipleship? Our major goal in life is to know and experience YHVH. We have to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering! We press on daily toward the goal of the prize of the upward call of Yah in Yeshua HaMashiach. Do we really want to know Him? Do we want to understand Who He is and His purpose for our lives? Do we want to understand how He sees our circumstances and station in life? Do we humbly yield to Him the desires of our lives?
Let’s look at Joshua 3-4, the first words of this narrative, “And Joshua rose up early in the morning…”. are quite inspirational. To rise up early to start a task in Hebrew society is to display great zeal to be obedient to YHVH. It means you desire to get the earliest possible start on carrying out whatever assignment or work Adonai is doing through you. It's like a merit badge, a character trait, and a sign of being faithful that is being ascribed to Joshua.
The Israelites were being led to the Promised Land. They have arrived next to the Jordan River. At this new encampment, after being there for 3 days, Joshua’s officers went throughout the congregation giving people instructions on just how it would be that they would cross over the Jordan.
Joshua was preparing, the people were prepared and the spies were sent to Jericho to survey the land. The instructions were given on how to proceed and follow the Ark of the Covenant. Joshua 3, tells us that the NEXT day the tribes got into battle order and began to cross over the Jordan. What we have is an 8-day period from the time Joshua gives the order to move across the Jordan until it actually happens.
Numbers have great meaning in the Bible, they act like a guide to help us understand heavenly context on earth. What does the number 8 represent in Scripture? Atonement and redemption! Crossing the Jordan into their inheritance was a milestone of Israeli’s redemption. This crossing moved Israel into their inheritance and 8 is the Biblical number for redemption. This action of “crossing-over” has always played a major role in Israel’s redemptive history. Abraham, death angel, just to name a few. In fact, the term crossing-over was memorialized into the very identity of the Hebrews. Crossing-over would become the requisite for all who desired to join the people of YHVH.
One of the great stories of crossing-over is Moses leading the people through the Red Sea; this act took them out of Egypt and into the Wilderness. The crossing-over the Jordan officially takes Israel out of the Wilderness and into the Promised Land. Halleluyah!
As we continue in Joshua 3, we arrive at the bank of the Jordan River where the same critical instructions about crossing-over is administered. The Ark of the Covenant would lead the way and the people were to keep their eyes on the Ark but also maintain a half of a mile distance from it. Its holiness must be kept! The movement of the Ark would be Israel’s signal to move. Remember up until now, when the glory-fire moved they moved but now there is a shift, a change. We have a major transition! No more glory-fire to lead the way; that era ends on the east bank of the river. Instead, the Ark would represent YHVH’s Presence and so it would lead the army of Israel from now on, and it would lead from the front as the glory-fire used to. Understand: every Israelite alive knew of the glory-fire as their ONLY source of divine direction. How unsettling to awaken to a new paradigm, which is why Joshua’s officers took the time to explain the NEW reality.
What is YHVH telling us? Joshua 3:5 says, “Sanctify yourselves; for tomorrow Adonai will do wonders among you. And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, “Take up the Ark of the Covenant, and pass over before the people”. The concept of extreme sanctity of the Ark was now applied to the people. The people were to sanctify themselves. Sanctify means to be made holy; and why was Israel to be sanctified? Because Adonai has said, “You must be holy for I am holy”.
Believers, we don’t pay attention to this command and it is harmful to our relationship with Adonai. While on one level we have been sanctified by our faith in Yeshua, this level was spiritual. YHVH declared Israel was holy, so they are holy. Yet, on another level another kind of sanctity was also demanded, a sort of physical sanctity. This kind is reflected by obedience to YHVH’s commands, and a mimicking of His attributes in our lives as followers. This means that the spiritual sanctity given by YHVH’s grace ought to lead to physical sanctity if the individual truly loves Adonai. This principle has never changed and is spoken of over and over as a central theme of the Brit Chadasha. Trust in Yeshua has NOT replaced obedience to Adonai. We have so watered down the message and have become a powerless body. The doctrine of grace has NOT replaced obedience, this replacement is at the heart of the problem.
So let me state this, the law and Yeshua’s sacrifice are both acts of YHVH’s grace. The Law is grace, it reveals heavenly truth; and that truth tells us what pleases and displeases YHVH, and how to live a redeemed life. Yeshua is grace because He permanently atones for us, cleanses us and brings us into the Father’s Presence. We are NOT saved by the grace of the Law, and conversely, we are NOT living a redeemed life simply because we have decided to trust Yeshua. Being redeemed and living redeemed are two entirely different things. Thereby, the grace of the Law and the grace of Yeshua are for two different aspects of redemption. Yeshua gives us salvation, and the commands of YHVH show us the way to righteous living, righteous behavior, as a redeemed person ought to live. Israel was NOT redeemed by the Law; first they were redeemed by YHVH’s grace, then they were given the Law. We are NOT redeemed by the Law; first we are redeemed by His blood via faith, then we are given the Law.
As we celebrate Pesach be reminded: The Law is NOT for the world; the Law is only for the redeemed! The blood had to be applied to the doorpost before the angel crossed over. We can’t carry out the law properly unless we have the Ruach guiding us because proper Torah observance DEPENDS on trusting YHVH; otherwise, we’d be attempting by our own strength and our own sinful state to accomplish holy things.
YHVH, in a supernatural divine act, redeemed and sanctified Israel on a spiritual level upon their rescue from Egypt. But, on a physical level Israel had obligations; they were NOW required to follow YHVH’s action with one of their own sanctified behaviors! The same is true for us today, isn’t it?
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Shalom Aleichem Mishpocha
Chag Pesach Sameach