After the return of the spies from Jericho,
the Israeli camp moved to the Jordan River. Their destination? The Land
Only one problem: It was harvest time. We know this, because Rahab, who protected the spies at Jericho and helped them to escape, hid them under flax that she was drying on her rooftop.
But what was the problem with it being harvest time? "Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest." (Josh 3:15 NIV).
a raging, flooded river stood between Israel and the Promised Land, with
no bridge or boat in site!
That would have been enough to discourage any of us!
But Joshua had a plan designed to control the panic that would no doubt creep into the camp. He said, "When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests, who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it."
In other words, the people needed to keep their eyes on it at all times, and in doing so, they were not focused on the raging, flooded river.
So often in life, we come face to face with raging, flooded rivers that we must cross. Our "River Jordan" may be the loss of a job or a cut in pension cheque. Our flooded river may be a bad medical diagnosis. It may even be a wayward child or a failing relationship, or it may take the form of persecution for standing up for what we believe is right. In some cases, the "River Jordan" may even be an addiction. Whatever form it takes, the "River Jordan" of our lives is daunting and ominous, defying any of our efforts to cross it, and it stands in the way of our "rest" - our security and our happiness.
Will we cower on the banks or our river? Will we allow it to feed our fear and anxiety?
If we do, we will never get across. Instead, let's learn from Joshua. Let's fix our eyes upon Jesus and keep them there! Only in so doing will we be able to get through the "River Jordan" and receive our security and happiness!
This likely makes sense to most of us, and when we enter the perilous times in our lives, we make take a stand in faith with our eyes fixed on Jesus. But what if, even for a second, we look away, towards the circumstances that surround us?
Remember what happened to Peter when he was walking on the water? The moment he shifted his gaze from Jesus to the waters under his feet, he began to sink! "Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink …" (Matt 14:29-30 NIV) The same thing will happen to us as well. No matter what the circumstances, the moment we take our eyes off of Jesus, even for a second, the horrifying evidence of our predicament WILL overcome us! If we look to them, we will most certainly fall into discouragement and depression, completely defeated before we even begin.
So let's follow Joshua's advice! Let's keep our eyes fixed upon Jesus! Let's follow wherever He leads, without question! Let's live one day to the next, one minute to the next, ignoring the circumstances, and trusting in God to get us through!
"Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before.
Friends, the road we will have to follow is one that we've never been on before! We have no idea how to find it. But when God foresaw that we would go through whatever valley we are in at the moment, He also foresaw the WAY OUT! Our job is simply to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and follow His lead!
But wait. Am I being presumptuous here? Am I drawing current meaning into something that was written for a specific place and time?
Anytime God is serious about wanting us to understand something, He repeats Himself, and this same message is given to us another time, in the book of Hebrews: "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." (Heb 12:2-3 NIV)
Friends, it doesn't matter what form you "Jordan River" may take. The solution is the same: Fix your eyes upon Jesus! He's been there before, He knows the way out. Our only job is to stop looking at the circumstances and look to Him instead!
Join us next Saturday for LESSONS FROM JOSHUA, Part 4: What a Prostitute can Teach Us, Part A …
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two teens, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, www.scripturalnuggets.org, with Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org.