Thursday, August 16, 2007

Crossing the Jordan

The LORD said to Joshua,
"Today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel,
that they may know I am with you, as I was with Moses.
Now command the priests carrying the ark of the covenant
to come to a halt in the Jordan
when you reach the edge of the waters."

So Joshua said to the children of Israel,
"Come here and listen to the words of the LORD, your God.
This is how you will know that there is a living God in your midst,
who at your approach will dispossess the Canaanites.
The ark of the covenant of the LORD of the whole earth
will precede you into the Jordan.
When the soles of the feet of the priests carrying the ark of the LORD,
the Lord of the whole earth,
touch the water of the Jordan, it will cease to flow;
for the water flowing down from upstream will halt in a solid bank."

The people struck their tents to cross the Jordan,
with the priests carrying the ark of the covenant ahead of them.
No sooner had these priestly bearers of the ark
waded into the waters at the edge of the Jordan,
which overflows all its banks
during the entire season of the harvest,
than the waters flowing from upstream halted,
backing up in a solid mass for a very great distance indeed,
from Adam, a city in the direction of Zarethan;
while those flowing downstream toward the Salt Sea of the Arabah
disappeared entirely.

Thus the people crossed over opposite Jericho.
While all Israel crossed over on dry ground,
the priests carrying the ark of the covenant of the LORD
remained motionless on dry ground in the bed of the Jordan
until the whole nation had completed the passage.
~Joshua 3:7-10a, 11, 13-17~

This passage is one I had never heard before today. When I heard it, I just thought, "How amazing is that?" These people had to have a tremendous amount of faith and trust in God… I can see the priests standing there motionless and holding the ark of the covenant while all of Israel passed through and a wall of water was collecting upstream… the Jordan river going dry beyond this solid mass of water! Incredible! And what a privilege to carry the Ark and yet how scary to be standing there solidly holding the Ark and waiting for all to cross. Were they afraid? Or did they keep their focus on God?

Sometimes I feel as if I am facing that wall of water… as if it could break and take me over at any given moment. But I must keep my focus on God. He wants to see me safely through to his kingdom. I must learn to trust Him to lead me where He wants me. I can’t keep my focus on my problems but instead must remember that He is in control and that He is passionately pursuing my attention despite my problems. He wants to forgive me, love me, comfort me and draw me nearer. If I keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, though I am undeserving, He will faithfully keep his promises. His love NEVER fails!

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