Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Peace in the Middle East/8

Joshua leads the Jewish people into their land of promise. After more than 600 years of waiting, slavery and struggle the People of God are standing at the edge of their inheritance. With the Ark of the Covenant in full view, the entire nation, the Children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob cross the Jordan River on dry ground.

To commemorate the Hand of God and to remind the Jewish people Joshua commands two memorial sites to be erected. The first site is on the freedom side of the river. A representative from each tribe was to carry a stone from the middle of the river over to the freedom side. There the twelve stones were stacked to form a memorial. The purpose, according to Joshua, was to be a reminder of the Hand of God in delivering the Children of Israel to their land of promise.

The second memorial was built by Joshua himself. The memorial was built in the middle of the Jordan River, right where the feet of the priests stood holding the Ark of the Covenant. This unseen memorial was to celebrate all of the miracles, the unseen and the seen, that God showered upon the Jewish Nation.

Settling in the new land was filled with struggles and battles. God promised Joshua that no army would be able to stand against him as long as the Jewish people stayed true to the, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. City after city fell to the leadership of Joshua. His obedience to God still stands as the Warrior Leader of newly liberated Jews.

To the Southeast Joshua faces a battle with a people that have hated the new nation since the days of Abraham, Sarah, Hagar and Ishmael. Four hundred years before the Jews found their freedom Isaac's son, Esau, left his father and made a deal with Ishmael.

The promised land is divided into tribal names and each son of Jacob is honored by the land designation. At this point in the history of the Jewish nation God has kept His promise to the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It will be up to them to keep their part of the covenant, insuring peace and prosperity.

The children of Ishmael and Esau have filled the land of the Arabian Peninsula. Their animosity and hatred towards the Jews is passed down through oral tradition. Generation after generation is taught of the life of Hagar and Ishmael and how Sarah mistreated them.

In the same way, the oral tradition of the Jewish people kept alive their miraculous story. Another aspect of Jewish tradition was the care kept in their worship. The Pentateuch, first five books of Moses, were revered as God inspired. Later writers would record, as did Joshua, the life of the Jewish nation.

The Jews had great times of enjoying the blessings of God. They also had horrific times of abandoning their God and becoming involved in the pagan practices of the people surrounding them. Their stubbornness and rebellion against God led to the Promised Land becoming the Partitioned Land.

Armies from the east conquered the land and took the Jewish people away as slaves. The voice of the prophets would call them to repentance and they would call out for forgiveness and restoration. God kept His covenant and brought them back to their land. The circle of rebellion against God and repentance towards God became common in the Jewish nation.

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