Life Begins with a Sea and Ends with a River

riverJust a few days after Pharoah kicked the Isaraelites out of Egypt, he changed his mind and came after them. He came with soldiers and 600 of his best chariots and horses. The Israelites were afraid, but God told them he’d take care of that problem. They were stuck between a rock and a hard place (actually, it was more like stuck between a Sea and a Pharaoh).

God told them, “You don’t have to fight this battle. Just stand still and see!”

Really, did they have a choice in the matter?! To go back would have meant either slavery or death. To move forward would have meant suicide by drowning.

Just when they needed a miracle, God showed up. He told Moses to stretch out his hand with his rod in it. As Moses obeyed, God parted the waters. We’re talking walls of water standing up on end for hours and for miles as God’s over two million people (over half-a-million  men PLUS women and children) marched through that Red Sea on dry ground. Do you have any idea how long and how wide that path had to be for all those people to cross over during the night?!

It wasn’t until they got to the other side and Moses put down his hand that the waters came back, just as strong and as deep as they had been before. Now that’s a miracle.

That’s how it is when we walk out of our bondage and head toward the Promised Land. As sinners, we are enslaved and in bondage. We are prisoners of our own making.

When God parts the waters, making a way for us to walk through on dry land, He takes us out of our slavery and we have the opportunity to join Him in the journey of our lives.

That’s when the journey really begins. We move from one conquest to another, always heading toward that future goal: Heaven.

Just like He did with the Israelites, He will fight the battles for us. He will show up when we need a miracle. We have to be willing to cooperate with Him; we have to be willing to “stand still.”

For forty years, these people moved around that wilderness heading toward their Promised Land.

As they got ready to experience their final conquest, they had a river to cross. Not just any river, mind you. The Jordan River.  It’s an important river and  it is mentioned over 200 times in both the Old and New Testament books. This River is 50 to 200 feet deep. It is 156 miles long and flows from West Asia through the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea.

It is considered a shallow river, and the high water period lasts only from January to March. It was during this time period that the Children of Israel came to its banks. The Jordan was overflowing its banks. Some sources say it had gone from its normal 90 feet width to 500 feet.

 God gave specific instructions on when and how to cross the Jordan River. You can read about that in Joshua 3. 

As the feet of the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant touched the water, the  waters backed up
a great distance” until the riverbed was dry. The priests remained in the river while the entire entourage of folks crossed over to the other side.

Once they reached the other side of the Jordan, they considered themselves “home free”. One more city, and the Promised Land was theirs.

From a life of slavery and bondage (Egypt) to the Jordan, it’s a picture of our spiritual journey with God.

riverReaching the Jordan is symbolic of crossing over to our own Promised Land – Heaven.

We don’t need to be afraid, whether we’re traversing our own wilderness or watching Him conquer walled cities for us. He gives directions and we are to follow.

For the Christian, we leave behind a life of bondage (our Egypt) and begin our journey. At the sunset of our lives, we come to the river Jordan, where God parts the waters for us and we cross over safely to the other side.

It’s important that we make it across that first parting from slavery and sin. But we’re not done yet;  in fact, we’ve only begun! Many people think as long as they make that first decision, that’s all they need to do. Not so. Day after day, we are to follow the cloud that God sends for direction. The journey isn’t over until it’s over. We’re not finished until we’ve made that final crossing over Jordan into the Promised Land!

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