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August 1, 2021 | Javan Shashaty
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“So it was, when the people set out from their camp to cross over the Jordan . . .”—Joshua 3:14 (NKJV)
The time had come. After centuries of God’s promise to His people lying in wait to be realized, it was the hour of fulfillment. Israel would now leave the wilderness behind them and cross over the Jordan River into their new home, the Promised Land. Their faith was strong, their will was resolute. Yet there was still one natural obstacle: the Jordan River.
Nearly 2.5 million Israelites had to make this crossing, and the Jordan River was powerful enough to sweep someone away, especially at this particular time of year when it was at its highest. This was a logistical barrier. But there’s something greater than any barrier . . . God’s presence, which was represented by the Ark of the Covenant. This Ark would play an important role in how Israel crossed the Jordan. The Bible says, “Those who bore the ark came to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests who bore the ark dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks during the whole time of harvest), that the waters which came down from upstream stood still, and rose in a heap very far away . . . and the people crossed over opposite Jericho” (Joshua 3:15-16 NKJV).
The priests, carrying the Ark, stepped into the river’s edge. Just as they did, the water upstream stopped flowing! Again, this represents the power of God’s presence and how it’s greater than natural barriers we may face in life. See the symbolism here: God called His people to do something, and then He became the means by which they were able to fulfill that calling.
It’s the same for believers in Christ today. As His ambassadors, we’re called to represent God’s kingdom. We are to shine like stars against the backdrop of a dark and lifeless sky (Philippians 2:15). There’s no question that rightly representing our great God in this broken world is a tall task.
But as with Israel, God makes it possible to obey this calling through the power of His presence. We haven’t been left alone here on Earth. In fact, we’ve been given the greatest gift ever bestowed, the Holy Spirit, who takes up residence in our hearts once we place our faith in Christ. He is within us at all times, looking to produce the fruit of the Spirit that marks us as ambassadors of God’s kingdom.
Let the example of Israel’s crossing of the Jordan be a reminder to you that no obstacle (not even your own sinful self) is greater than God’s presence, and that you carry His presence with you wherever you go via the presence of His Holy Spirit.
DIG: What barrier posed a challenge to Israel fulfilling God’s will?
DISCOVER: How were they able to overcome this barrier?
DO: Spend time today identifying ways to apply this example into your life.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.