February 02, 2020 Theophanies: God Commands Joshua

In our story today from the Old Testament, it is now the end of the 40 years in the wilderness. This is the end of the Exodus. Moses has died, Joshua is the leader, the Israelites have crossed the flooded Jordan River on dry ground – just like they crossed the Red Sea on dry ground 40 years earlier. They have celebrated a Passover, and they are now camped a few miles from the Canaanite fortress city of Jericho. Jericho is a military city, and it stands between the Israelites and the Promised Land.

It is here where God appears to Joshua. Joshua is given a Theophany; a “God appearance”. Specifically, it is the Son of God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, who appears on earth before His birth in Bethlehem[1]. Joshua is considering his attack on Jericho when the Lord appears to him. The Lord appears as the “Commander of the Lord’s Army.” Joshua was on holy ground; he takes off his shoes and bows low before the Lord God Almighty.

[1] The Son of God is the “speaking God” – the logos – The “Word” of God who interacts with His People to save them. Theophanies are the pre-incarnate Son at work on behalf of His People. God the Father is never seen, only heard, as at Jesus’ Baptism and Transfiguration; and God the Holy Spirit is only seen in the form of a dove at Jesus’ Baptism; and tongues of fire at Pentecost. But the Son of God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, interacts with His People to save them! In the Old Testament, those times are called “theophanies”.

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