Out of the Water into the Battle

One of the best activities I get to be involved with is our Adult Sunday School class.  It has been pretty significant in stemming the tide of darkness in my own life, keeping me accountable, and forcing me into the Bible like a miner bringing back precious resources for his fellow man.  

I am convinced that the process of study and presenting has done more for my own life than that of the members of the class, because the act of distilling truth into a form that can be communicated drives me to think clearer and apply what I have to speak.

Not only does the backroom study influence me, but the classroom interaction generates greater benefit for me than the members might suspect.

Currently we are studying the book of Joshua.  My approach is to address the literal happenings of the text, then uncover the types that are hidden reflecting back to us the person of Jesus, using that to reveal action needed in our own life.  Yet the comments in class always enrich me.    

For example, this past week 2 such comments pulled back the veil for me and expanded the text.  We are in the beginning of the book where Joshua is given the instructions on how to cross the Jordan which will launch the campaign to take the inheritance God had promised to them through Abraham 600 years earlier.  

The priest enter the swollen Jordan with the ark of the covenant on their shoulders and the waters part allowing the people to begin the crossing.  Once the people have crossed over, Joshua chooses 12 men from the tribes to go back into the now dry river bed and select 12 stones.  These stones will be erected as a memorial on the banks of the Jordan, reminding them of the work of God in their midst, perpetuating the faith to future generations who inquire at the meaning of this mound of stones.  

Entry into water is always an image of baptism, but I have always seen this as our individual baptism.  One member of class spoke up and related this to Christ's own descent into the Jordan.  Like his namesake Joshua, He passes through the Jordan to begin His battle against the forces of darkness, of which the first great battle will be His temptation by Satan.  As Christians, we also follow Christ (and Joshua) into the Jordan, and arise not to a life of comfort but one of warfare, a warfare against the evil in our own hearts, and the strongholds of darkness into the world.  Brilliant!  

Joshua's 12 stone memorial serves also as a mine of riches.  They are physical monuments to the work of God.  We mimic this action today through iconography, the physical and material acts of worship, and even the commemoration of God's actions in the world through the 12 Great feasts of the Church.  Another member chimed in at this point and struck our hearts with his comments.  Not only do we, like Joshua, establish physical markers of God's work throughout our lives in order to perpetuate the faith in our life and our children's, our own lives should be "living stones" (1 Peter 2:5) that inspire faith.  We should be memorials of God's action in this world, a beachhead on the battleground, displaying the victory of Christ against the darkness.  Again, brilliant!  

Thank you class!
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