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May 16, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“All the kings of the Amorites who were on the west side of the Jordan, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard that the Lord had dried up the waters of the Jordan from before the children of Israel until we had crossed over . . .”—Joshua 5:1a (NKJV)
When God works on behalf of His people, it can’t be hidden. That’s the lesson we learn from the unfolding drama as the Israelites crossed over the Jordan River and into the Promised Land they were about to possess.
As a refresher, this river crossing was an undeniable miracle. It occurred when the Jordan routinely overflowed its banks, when the river ran at its strongest. The inhabitants of that land understood how the Jordan acted as a natural barrier to prevent such crossings. They actually counted on the barrier effect because they had been the beneficiaries of its protective services for countless generations.
So, it was more than a big deal when word began to spread that the river stopped flowing altogether in order to allow approximately 2.5 million Hebrew men, women, and children to safely traverse it. Clearly, this was no ordinary nation. They were recipients of special blessings and protection from the Creator, who was—and is—capable of taming and subduing the most formidable forces in creation.
Word of this wondrous work couldn’t be hidden! It spread among the kings and rulers that now lay in Israel’s path, and the effect was devastating. The Bible says “their heart melted; and there was no spirit in them any longer because of the children of Israel” (Joshua 5:1b NKJV). Or, as another translation puts it, the kings “lost their courage and could not even breathe for fear of the Israelites” (NET).
Once again, God’s intervention on behalf of His people was something that couldn’t be concealed or kept secret. Word got out! And the very same thing happens today as the Lord works in and among His people, but He does it in a way far more powerful and profound than stopping a river or leveling a mountain.
Today, God’s great work consists of molding and shaping men and women into the likeness of Christ. He takes us as we are when we first place our faith in Him—stained by our sin and selfishness. And then, a work begins as He slowly but surely transforms our character so we come to resemble Christ (Romans 8:29; Philippians 1:6).
This work is a lifelong process, and it isn’t fully completed until we leave this life behind to be united with Christ in heaven (1 John 3:2). However, the effects in the here and now are just as evident as the drying of the Jordan. As God changes us from the inside out, it gets noticed, word gets out, and we become living evidence of the Creator’s power over His creation.
DIG: What lesson do we learn based on the kings’ reaction to the Israelites crossing the Jordan?
DISCOVER: What’s the connection between this lesson and the Christian life?
DO: Knowing that God’s work cannot be hidden in your life, what do you think He wants to do with it?
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.