In studying the book of Joshua in preparation for these studies, I have been greatly helped by Francis Schaeffer’s study. And I have been most impressed with Schaeffer’s unique approach to Joshua in using the theme of continuity, that is, the continuity between God’s dealings with Israel under the leadership of Moses, and the way in which God is now operating with the people under the leadership of Joshua. The point of this continuity is that God is the one eternal and immutable God.

 
So in the sacrament of circumcision we find its parallel in the matter of our baptism. And when we look at the Passover, we find its parallel in our Communion service which looks back to the death of Christ. The Lord’s Supper has the elements of the broken bread and the wine, which signify Christ's broken body and poured out blood. We see that we are to consecrate ourselves as well, because the God who operated with His people in the past is operating with us today. It is the same God, and it is the same Gospel, though the circumstances in history are different. We need exactly the kind of consecration that these people had on this occasion.
 
Yesterday we looked at the idea of circumcision as an initiatory sacrament for Israel. There is an initiatory sacrament for the Christian church as well; however our initial sacrament is not circumcision, but baptism. And in baptism, especially in the baptism of children, we have a remnant of what that means because in some forms of the baptismal ceremony, the child is actually given what we call his Christian name. That's sort of a carry-over in the idea. The child is named as belonging within the covenant people of God. Whether that happens when we are infants, as is practiced in the majority of the denominations of Christendom, or whether it happens as an adult, baptism marks the formal entry point into the Christian church. Think about what you were before you were given a Christian identification. Before, you were “John Sinner” or “Mary Sinner,” and were apart from God. But now you're “John Christian” or “Mary Christian” or whatever it may be. It indicates your faith in God’s promises.
 
Now it's worth thinking about these two acts of consecration. Circumcision was the sacrament that had been given to Abraham so many years before. It was the mark of being a member of the covenant people, and it was accompanied by the promises of God. In this particular covenant, it was a case of God establishing the terms by which He would be the God of the Jews and the Jews would be His people. 
 

I suppose we ought to spend just a little bit of time thinking how terrifying this crossing of the Jordan must have been for the Amorite and Canaanite kings. They had been afraid beforehand, of course, because here was this vast host out there across the Jordan. But as these kings looked at the nation of Israel, perhaps Israel seemed somewhat removed from them. After all, the Israelites were on the other side of the Jordan, and the river was at flood stage. No doubt Israel intended to invade, but they would have to wait until the waters had receded. But until that happened, there was time for these kings to prepare. Yet suddenly, through this great miracle, that whole vast horde of people were crossing the Jordan. If you were one of the kings of the Amorites or the Canaanites, that was a horror story indeed.