For many years, whenever I thought of the waters of Jordan 'backing up' I had a picture of a dry road across to the other side with the waters very far away. But that may not be the true picture. And it certainly wasn't the picture on the earlier occasion when the Israelites crossed the Red Sea. They crossed 'with walls of water on each side'.
Sometimes God does not remove the danger but makes it possible for us to 'walk through'.
As ever, the safe passage comes when we don't focus on the water that could come crashing down and destroy, but we focus on the Ark. That Ark was firmly placed in the centre of the river bed and was not removed until they were safely over.
I'm reminded of a sermon I heard as a young person, and I've never forgotten it. ( It was actually preached by the pastor of Janette's church and she remembers it too - I think he must have preached it more than once!!). The verse was 'And it came to pass'.
The speaker divided what he had to say into two parts:
Firstly, when the Bible says 'it came to pass' it assures us that what God promises, what He plans and purposes will indeed happen.
His second part was more unusual - he spoke of things that came for a season, and then they passed. This season that we are in will pass but, please God, it will leave us chastened, changed and more in tune with Him than we were before.
Keep your eyes on the Ark!
"When ye see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God and the priests and the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place and go after it. Yet there shall be a space between you and it...come not near unto it that ye may know the way by which ye must go, for ye have not passed this way before." (Joshua 3:3-4)
It was a new era for the Israelites. They were about to cross Jordan after years of wandering in the wilderness.
It was new territory, they had not come this way before. There were thousands of them and no doubt there were many mixed emotions - fear, excitement, anticipation. But there was a clear instruction - don't be distracted by your emotions, don't be taken up with the people around you and what they are feeling or saying - keep your eyes on the Ark.
The Ark foreshadows Christ Himself . Inside it there were three things - the Law (the Ten Commandments), speaking of the holiness of God; the manna, speaking of the bread of life ; Aaron's rod, speaking of the miracle working power of God. And on top of the Ark there was the mercy seat - the place where we are accepted by God. All of it points to Jesus, and our salvation. The Israelites were told, 'Keep you eyes on the Ark and you will find the way through '.
Just after this, the Ark was taken down into the river Jordan - read the rest of chapter 3. The waters parted and they crossed over.
The crossing of Jordan is often seen as a picture of crossing over from this life into eternity, and the one who opens the way and gives a safe passage is Christ. Keep your eyes on the Ark and a safe passage is assured.
But while we are still in this life difficulties face us, difficulties we have not faced before and the answer is the same - keep your eyes on The Ark - on Christ Himself - and there will be a way through. He is very near, very accessible in these troubled times.
If you seek him, you will find him if you search for him with all your heart. (Paraphrase of Jeremiah 29:13)
A Postscript to Yesterday’s Blog
As I thought about our 'travelling companion ' my mind went to the two on the Emmaus Road. They were living in dark times, traumatic times - the crucifixion of Jesus had just taken place. But there were rumours of something momentous - the resurrection!
They couldn't grasp it, it was so hard to believe but as they wrestled with it 'Jesus Himself drew near' and how different they were by the end of that journey. They invited Him into their homes and there they saw the risen Lord.
The same travelling companion draws near to us and if we invite Him into the deeps of our spirit in these difficult times, we will come to realise that our companion is indeed the risen Lord and ' our hearts will burn within us, as He talks with us on the way'.
Luke Chapter 24
The Prince of Peace
All around us there is uncertainty, turmoil, anxiety and fear. But for us, and for all who know Jesus Christ, it can be different. There is no dis-peace in Him. He is the One who calms the storm, who heals the broken hearted, who brings peace to the troubled soul. Even on the road to Calvary, while there was anger and danger all around Him and fear in the hearts of His followers, there is one serene figure in the midst of it all - Jesus Himself.
The answer, as always, is Jesus Himself. When we look at circumstances we can be afraid, when we look within ourselves we realise our resources are limited, but when we look at Him, it is different. Don't look around too much, don't look in, look up!
Centuries before Christ came, David wrote:
'Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no
evil for thou art with me' (Psalm 23:4)
The answer was not in the danger being removed, it was in the One he travelled with.
We have a travelling companion. Many of us are finding that He is very near in these days as we turn to Him. May you all find Him very close today and in the days that follow.
And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God,
The Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace'. (Isaiah 9:6)
With much love,
My daily readings for today included Exodus 39. The part that lived for me was verse 33 - 'and they brought the entire tabernacle to Moses'. I read what followed - a picture of everything we have In Christ - the Rams skins dyed red (speaking of the covering of the blood), the Ark and the place of atonement, the bread of the presence, the light from the lamp stand, the oil and the incense of worship, the beautiful garments for the priests (that includes us). The final verse of the chapter says ' when he found it had been done just as the Lord commanded him, he blessed them'.
I was aware of the entire provision that there is in Christ and felt the beautiful garments of salvation around me as I meditated on it all and worshipped. I pray that it will bless you too.
A further thought - we have all been using WhatsApp, texting, phoning etc and keeping in touch. This is really good and I hope it will continue. But don't forget to spend time alone with God. I think we are meant to deepen and strengthen our ties with Him at this time, and that is what will take us into a new place.
Take care, and keep safe!
And if you have Daily Light, read the verses for this evening 22nd March.
'And it shall come to pass, afterward'
This is the beginning of our new year word for this year, and a number of days ago Lesley spoke to me about thoughts that had come to her as she had been meditating on it over the weeks since new year. I pass some of these thoughts on to you.
Afterwards. After what? If you read the first two chapters you will realise that the nation had been going through very unusual troubled times. Look at the following verses:
Chapter 1v6 - A vast army of locusts has invaded my land.
Verse 16 - No joyful celebrations are held in the house of our God.
Verse 17 - The barns stand empty.
Chapter 2v2 - Like dawn spreading across the mountains a great and mighty army appears. Nothing like it has been seen before or ever will be seen again. They swarm over the city and break through its walls.
Verse 6 - Fear grips the people.
Chapter 1v2 - Nothing like this has happened before. Tell your children about it in years to come and let your children tell their children.
Doesn't it describe the times we live in, the relentless spread of the virus, the fear, no church gatherings etc. etc.?
Read the chapters and you will find more.
But thank God there is going to be an 'afterwards'!!
I believe God is calling us to be among those who not only stand firm and steady during these unprecedented times but who put their roots down more and more deeply into Him, who show to others that there is a rock and a security in Christ Jesus. And to look to the 'afterwards' and expect a mighty outpouring of His Spirit. If we deepen at this time, we will be able to receive a fuller anointing in the days to come and to see the impact of that in our lives and the lives of many others.
Be encouraged, God as always is a step ahead. The word we have been given is a prophetic word and He has promised to see us through
Director / Minister
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