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  • David Bent

Joshua crosses the Jordan (28-07-21)

Background

After Moses lead the Israelites out of Egypt they wandered in the wilderness for forty years because of their disobedience to God and to Moses. In that time they changed from a people with a slave mentality to become a nation united to serve God and ready to enter the Promised Land.


Bible Reading: Joshua 3:14-17, 4:1-3,6

When the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water's edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, while the water flowing down to the Dead Sea was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.


A Reflection

There are times in all of our lives when things change dramatically and there are the times in between when life just ticks along, and changes happen slowly and gradually. I distinctly remember the trauma of my first day at nursery school. I really didn’t want to go! I don’t remember anything of the next couple of years, but I think I soon got to enjoy going and mixing with other children. I remember in detail my first day at primary school, secondary school and university, but the intervening days are less clear. I remember my wedding day and the birth of our children, but not all of the events of the last forty or so years.


Crossing the red sea with Moses was a major event in the history of the Jewish nation as they left lives of slavery in Egypt. So too was the time they crossed the River Jordan with Joshua in order to enter into the Promised Land. The years in between were a time of growth and consolidation as they adjusted to their new-found freedom and as God prepared them for what was to follow.


The same is true for our Christian journey. Choosing to leave a self-centred way of life to enter into a Christ-centred way of life can be compared to the Israelites leaving Egypt with the Red Sea representing our baptism. This is followed by a time of gradual growth in our Christian faith as our relationship with God develops and as we become part of the people of God, the Body of Christ.


For all of us though, there comes a time when we need to cross the Jordan and discover the plans and purpose God has for us. The changes that have gone on internally need to be reflected externally. St Paul tells us, ‘We are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.’


Where are you on your journey of faith? Have you discovered God’s plans for you in this phase of your life?


You are God’s handiwork; spending time in prayer and conversation with fellow Christians could help you to discover the good works that God has prepared in advance for you to do.


A Prayer

Thank you, Lord God, that when we step out with you, you part the waters for us to cross.

Give me ears to hear your call and a heart to follow you into the Promised Land.

Amen


Guide me O thou great Redeemer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkVT8O5E1rM

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