Our Old Testament readings for the next few days tell the story of Joshua, the successor of Moses. We think of him as a man of battles and wars, leading the Israelites in their conquest of Canaan and their possession of the Promised Land. “Joshua fit the battle of Jericho, and the walls came tumbling down.”
We expect him as a warrior to be concerned with preparing troops for battle, getting weapons ready, strategizing for the battle, but Joshua begins his campaign by reminding the people what’s more important before all that: “Remember who you are.”
Gathering the Israelites before the Jordan River, Joshua orders the priests to bring before them the ark of the covenant, God’s pledge that they are his people, bring the jar of manna that reminds them that God sustains them. They are God’s people, not insignificant slaves. They’re God’s children, cared for, with rights and privileges and promises.
Only by remembering who they are will they be able to cross the Jordan and break down the walls of Jericho and take possession of the land.
Remember who you are.