Thursday

14 January 2021

Joshua 3:1-17

Early in the morning Joshua rose and set out from Shittim with all the Israelites, and they came to the Jordan. They camped there before crossing over. (v. 1)

Psalm 54

Background

This story is of key significance in the life of the people of Israel as they were at last crossing the River Jordan into the land that God had promised them. The miracle of God’s power was moving them to find freedom and rest. The Ark of the Covenant, which represented the throne and presence of God was taken out into the river and stayed in the place of danger until everyone had passed to dry land, showing that the Lord himself was going ahead of his people. This miraculous event mirrors the crossing of the Red Sea led by Moses and serves to validate the leadership of Joshua.

There are often times in our lives when we come up against our own ‘River Jordan’, by which I mean we feel that the promise of God is just out of reach, the answer to prayer just doesn’t seem to come, our faith seems dry or stagnant, and life's problems are stacked up so high we can see no way across. But this passage reminds us that nothing is impossible with God. To find the way this passage teaches us firstly to follow God’s lead and guidance. We are also called to consecrate or sanctify ourselves. That means we may need to repent of some things in our lives that are not in line with God’s will and plan for us and seek his forgiveness and wholeness. And finally it teaches us to step out in faith. The Israelites must have been a bit nervous stepping from dry ground as the river stretched before them, but nevertheless they took that step of faith and crossed safely to the other side.

The verses God gave me for my Vice-Presidential year speak of God making a way in the desert and are preceded by a reminder of the crossing of the Red Sea and the River Jordan: "Thus says the Lord,  who makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters, who brings out chariot and horse, army and warrior; they lie down, they cannot rise, they are extinguished, quenched like a wick:  Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert." (Isaiah 43: 16-19)

To Ponder:

  • What is your personal 'River Jordan'? I encourage you to declare the words from Isaiah 43: 16-19 as a promise to cross over it today.
  • Where do you need to follow God’s lead? For what do you need to ask God’s forgiveness? What first step of faith can you take today to cross 'the Jordan’?

Prayer

Thank you Lord for the miraculous way you led your people to the land of promise, freedom and rest. We pray today that you will make a way where there seems to be no way across the ‘Jordans’ in our own lives so that we will experience spiritual promise, freedom and rest and be able to say with the Psalmist, "The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy" (Psalm 126:3). Amen.


Bible notes author

Carolyn Lawrence

Carolyn Lawrence is the Vice-President of the Methodist Conference for 2020/2021. A former teacher and mission partner in Guyana, she has most recently been working with the Global Relationships team of the Methodist Church. She is also part of the ‘World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women’, serving as the Area Officer for Great Britain. She and her husband have two grown-up married daughters and three grandchildren.

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