Sitting in the hot sun I gazed at the Jordan River. A raging river, overflowing its banks. It looked angry to me, the current was strong, branches that had fallen off trees rushed past me. I shook my head, raging wasn’t even the word for this river! Terrible. Violent. Uncontrollable. It was a furious torrent of death. A couple of children raced past me, their giggles rising on the hot, humid air. I squinted up at the sun and shook my head again. Impossible – absolutely impossible. I was very curious to see how the Great I Am was going to pull this one off!
I pondered the many reasons that were against this working, over a million Israelites, children, belongings. It certainly wasn’t a river we were all going to swim across! Absently I chewed on a blade of grass and thought about the stories my Father had told me, miracles that had happened when Moses was still alive. I smiled as I thought of my favourite – Moses stretching out his staff over the waters of Egypt and causing a plague of frogs to occur! Now that would have been a sight to see! Then there was darkness. The death of the first-born and Passover which was my favourite feast. The pillar of cloud by day and fire by night! Manna sent from heaven and water flowing from the rocks!! And of course the awesome parting of the Red Sea as the Israelites were chased by the Egyptians! But that was in the time of Moses and there was no-one pursuing us now. Joshua was asking all of Israel to cross this raging river and enter into hostile territory. I’d heard the report of fortified cities, armies and chariots would face us, Canaanite, Hittite and Hivites! I stood up and shook my robe decisively, well we were Israelites and there was nothing soft about us!
Sparks rose from a thousand camp fires on the edge of the Jordan. Every person washed and sanctified. Every person having separated themselves from their sin and fixing their eyes totally on God. The intensity was extreme and expectation was evident! All thoughts were on the impossibility of the situation, but faith was detectable. Faith in the unseen God. Faith in the One who had sustained us for 40 long years! How would God move this obstacle and take us into our promised land? I tapped my foot impatiently in the dust and fiddled with the strap on my sandal for the 100th time. There was no way I was going to get a wink of sleep tonight. Excited just didn’t cover it! I was stirred up, worked up, wired up and fired up! I was literally beside myself. The knowledge that I would see God move tomorrow was almost more than I could handle. A miracle! God’s hand touching earth! Finally. The promised land. A land where it took two men to carry one cluster of grapes! A land that flowed with milk and honey, pomegranates and figs. My eyelids grew heavy and I stretched out on the grass with my head on a rock, visions of watermelons and skins of deep, red wine filled my head until sleep overcame me.
The sound of shofars, trumpets and shouting filled the air and I leapt to my feet. Surely I didn’t fall asleep? Did I miss something? Everywhere I looked the children of Israel were breaking up camp and packing things away. I felt a small hand slip into mine and looked down into the liquid, brown eyes of my sweet nephew. “You’re not afraid are you Hanoch?” I asked. Solemnly Hanoch nodded his head and a dark curl fell forward into his eyes. Absent-mindedly I smoothed the dark curl back into place. “Don’t be.” I said smiling. “Today will be one of the greatest days of your life! It is a day that will be marked down in the history books. One that you shall tell your children about!” Hanoch giggled at the thought that he might ever have children! “It is a great day for the Great I Am to show His mighty power, a great day for unbelievable miracles. Today you will see His divine splendor, you will marvel at His wondrous works, and we shall all do this together!” Squeezing his hand, I said, “Are you ready?” Hanoch nodded his head emphatically, “then off we go!”
Together we stepped forward with thousands of others and walked to the banks of the raging, rushing Jordan. Doubts swirled through my mind but I chased them away with one deep breath. My God would come through; my God would take me to the other side. Elohim was the living God, the God of gods, the God of power and might!
A deep silence came upon the crowd and I quickly hushed Hanoch’s enthusiastic chatter. The Ark of the Covenant of the Lord of all the earth. Resplendent in rich gold. The sun showing off its glorious brilliance. So incredibly bright that I was almost blinded. The sculpted cherubs faced each other across the mercy-seat and I could have sworn I saw the fire of God’s shekinah glory! I quickly lowered my eyes remembering the holiness of the Ark and the warning never to look in an inappropriate way at the Ark. It could result in my death!
The children of Israel watched in anticipation as the priests walked towards the flooding, raging Jordan River. Surely this would be the end of them? They would drown in this torrent of water and the Ark of the Covenant would be lost with them! I literally held my breath and watched as every step brought them closer to destruction. What faith! What conviction! My amazement overtook my excitement as I watched the surety of every priest that the Great I Am would deliver them! Oh that my faith would even be half as strong as theirs!
Finally they reached the edge of the Jordan and with one bold, sure splash the first priest stepped into the water! My heart was pounding hard within my chest and Hanoch slipped his hand out of mine as I had been squeezing it so tight. The ground began to shake, it seemed as if the very air itself was shuddering and a loud thunderous noise began to build in intensity. What was happening? Why was the earth quaking? Was this the end for us, had the Great I Am decided to wipe us all out because of our great grumbling and complaining?! But the priests kept moving forward, sure of their quest. I gasped as I watched the Jordan River begin to dry up right before my very eyes. The torrent became a river, the river became a stream and the stream became a trickle! I couldn’t believe my eyes. There in the middle of the Jordan stood the Ark of the Covenant. Overcoming this almighty torrent of death! Reducing it to nothing but dirt. Death defeated by the mighty hand of the Great I Am! Later I learned that the mighty Jordan had been stopped up at Adam where it had piled up in a huge heap. How fitting that it had stopped at Adam where sin had begun!
I almost fell to my knees at this incredible display of God’s power, but Hanoch grabbed my hand and pulled on it impatiently. Joyfully I laughed, my lungs already filled with freedom. This was it! The promised land! All we had to do was crossover, the Great I Am would do the rest!