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, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. The priests who carried the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD stood steel firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole national had completed the crossing on dry ground; (Joshua 3:15-17 NIV).
Here we find Israel embarking on a new journey, going forward with Captain Joshua in command. Previously, the Israelites left Egypt by way of the Red Sea with Moses leading them forward into the wilderness, where testing time began. How is their journey relevant for us today? What is God’s method used in prodding us to move forward? Let’s explore the Scriptures to see just how God uses His servants, Moses, Joshua and the Priest to lead the way. God opens up new ways and new doors when His people are obedient to His commands.
THE JORDAN RIVER OVERFLOWS AT HARVEST TIME
In keeping with the Passover, which was on the 14TH day of the 1st month, they Israelites were to bring a sheaf of their 1st fruit of barley; (Ruth 1:22; 2nd Sam. 21:9). This harvest fell very early in the spring, when rivers used to swell most; partly because of the rains which had fallen all winter, and partly because of the snow which melted and came into the rivers. It might be said that God chose this time to show the miracle to be more glorious and amazing, and to make known His magnificent power.
The Israelites we commanded to keep the Passover, in which they brought the 1st fruit of barley at the appointed season. The Israelites in keeping with the yearly feast, brought their sacrifice unto God as they were commanded, and they were rewarded for their obedience. God opened a floodgate which led to their miracle.
The priests who carried the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD stood steel firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole national had completed the crossing on dry ground; (Josh. 3: 17).
As soon as the priests’ feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream immediately stopped flowing; it was as if a sluice had been let down to dam it up. The waters above swelled, stood on a heap, but it did not spread over the adjacent lands. In the midst of Jordan, at the deepest part of the river is where the priests stood. They firmly believed God and they were confident in the His power, otherwise they may not have stood there for as long as they were commanded. The channel of the rivers’ rapid waters stood suspended above them in mountainous heaps that could have overwhelm them, had they not been held back miraculously by God.
The level of our obedience moves us to actions, and from there the Lord commands the blessings. As God was with Moses, He was with Joshua. Their obedience took them to the next level of their journey.
“Faith in Action”
Moses was in command before Joshua. Moses assignment was to lead the Israelites out of Egypt to the Promised Land. After crossing the Red Sea, God led the Israelites into the wilderness in accordance to His plan. The wilderness is the place of testing. This is the place where the true test of our faith is exposed. The wilderness is the place where all excess baggage has to be shed. The Israelites were slaves to the Egyptians for 400 yrs. They had become comfortable with Egyptian ways. Mentally they were enslaves, and because of this mentality they remained in the wilderness for 40 yrs. It was a 14 days trip that turned into a 40 yr. journey. Transition was next to impossible for them because they were mentally bound to their past. It was their behavior that kept them wondering in the wilderness for 40 years.
This is true for us today, after salvation the process of transformation takes place, This is accomplished by the renewing of the mind. We are to transform from the traditions the world, to the image of Christ. We must leaving behind old habits, old ways of thinking, and doing things. We must grow spiritual. Peter puts it this way, “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation; (1st Peter 2:2). As Christians we are called to mature spiritually, before we can move to the next level in our Christian walk.
THE CHANGE OF COMMAND – After the wilderness
As Moses’ successor, Joshua was given the assignment of leading the Israelites into the land of Canaan. God commanded the Israelites to expel the inhabitants from the land and possess it; (Ex. 13:5). The land dwellers had to be evicted from the land before the Israelites could possess it.
In comparison, after we received Salvation, we must leave the world, and the process of renewing the mind begins. We are no longer of the world and its ways. Our old way of thinking has to be renewed. We start by aligning our thinking with what the Bible teaches as truth. The process calls for us to take notice of our thoughts, and compare our thoughts with the word of God, making sure that our thinking aligns with what the Word of God confirms to be true. Christians are a new creation in Christ, born anew, set free from the old ways of doing things. By capturing every thought we are actually engaging in spiritual warfare against the negative thoughts of the mind. Every believer must engage in spiritual warfare. Joshua sending out spies into the land of Canaan is an example of how we too must rid the land (the mind is the battlefield), of unfruitful thinking. If you don’t think that this step is important, consider yourself already defeated against the enemy of your soul. (Continue to page 2)