12/5/16 The Crossing of the Jordan XXXIV

Monday, December 5, 2016


Part 34

Joshua 3:14-17

Morning Meditation 12/5/16

Verses 14-17 say, “And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people; And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan over floweth all his banks all the time of harvest,) That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho. And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.”

It has taken a long time but Israel as a nation is finally back to the place where they were forty years ago. God struggles with His people to bring them to the place where He can bless and use them. He may have to chasten them and take some HOME in an untimely way, but He will ultimately accomplish His purpose, and as a result they will be blessed and He will be glorified. Israel is about to enter the promised land. But there is an insurmountable problem. The Jordan. At the time of year that they were led by the LORD to cross, it was always flood time, and was out of its banks. It would be humanly impossible for them to cross the Jordan. Man’s impossibilities are God’s opportunities.

What does the crossing of the Jordan represent? There are songs written about Jordan. More so than about the crossing of the Red Sea. I would like to say that the JORDAN REPRESENTS THE SAME THING TO THIS GENERATION OF JEWS THAT THE RED SEA REPRESENTED TO THE FORMER GENERATION. I have already established that the Red Sea is a type of baptism (1 Cor. 10:2). The Red Sea is what cut the former generation off from Egypt. There is where they saw the power of God deliver them from the grave (The Red Sea) into a new life. If you think it wasn’t a grave, go back and read the event. What was a channel through which the LORD brought Israel, was certain death to Pharaoh and all his armies? Not one of them escaped.

But the former generation of Jews failed to develop in a faith that would take beyond simple deliverance. They failed the test at the very place where we are in this lesson today. They sent out twelve spies, and out of the twelve, ten brought back an evil report, i.e., a report clothed in unbelief. Joshua sent out two spies and they brought back a report that was clothed in faith.

Here is what the two spies discovered from Rahab the harlot: “And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath” (Josh. 2:9-11). They discovered that for forty years the inhabitants of Canaan had been defeated. What the enemy had believed forty years ago is stated in the words, “ . . . for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.” Do you realize what this means? It means that the giants who made the Jews look like grasshoppers, had all the fight taken out of them, and they were filled with fear. These heathen Canaanites had confidence in Israel’s God, something that Israel did not have! So the LORD waited until Israel could walk by faith. The first generation had to die before a new generation could walk by the new principle of life, i.e., faith. This is a law. There is the law of the first born taught throughout the Scripture. The first Adam begets death to the whole human race. The last Adam begets life into the whole human race (potentially). 1 Cor. 15:45 says, “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.” Jesus does not mend the first Adam, He ends him. There must be death. The crossing of Jordan speaks of death to the old. The LORD teaches the new generation that there must be a cutting off from the old before the new principles of life can be lived. Let me repeat. The Lord didn’t mend my old life He ended it. The life I have now is altogether new.. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature . . .”

The crossing of the Jordan was the event that had a monument established to its memory. The LORD told Joshua: “Take you twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man, And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests' feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night” (Josh. 4:2-3). Now in chapter four and verse twenty it says, “And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal.” They were for a memorial of the crossing of the Jordan (a type of death) and the entrance into a new life in the land of promise (a type of the resurrection). There is a memorial the crossing of Jordan for the believer. It is baptism. When a person is baptized in water, and our children ask, “What does this mean?” We take them to Romans 6:1-23 and teach them that baptism is a picture of our death with Jesus (we follow Him into the Jordan) and our resurrection with Him (we follow Him out of the Jordan). We teach them that the life we now live is spiritual and empowered by His resurrection through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and that faith in the principle by which the new life is lived.

The crossing of Jordan was the place where the reproach of Egypt was rolled away. This is brought out in chapter five and verses ten and eleven: “And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho. And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day.” Israel celebrated the passover one time in the wilderness after they left Egypt. It was a legitimate celebration. I mean, right after you are saved, and have witnessed the mighty deliverance through the Red Sea, and the death of Pharaoh and all his armies, and you are breathing the first free air after your deliverance from slavery, the celebration is totally legitimate! But after a year or two in the wilderness and you have become tired of the same food for breakfast, dinner and supper with no variation, what is there to celebrate? You say, “deliverance from slavery?” Wait a minute. Deliverance from slavery to a desert where there is no variety at all? Israel existed for forty years, they did not live. The wilderness speaks of death not life. For life to have quality, there must be variety. And there is no variety in the wilderness.

When Israel crossed the Jordan and entered by faith into the promised land, the LORD said, “ . . . This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you” (Josh. 5:9). They had been out of Egypt for forty years with the reproach abiding on them. For the first time since leaving Egypt, the reproach is taken off them. God had to do this. It took God to say, “This day have I rolled away the reproach . . .” God gave Israel something in this statement for them to believe. The reproach is taken away! Until now they still had garlic and onions on their breath. They were not good company! But now it is different. They have died to the past in a miracle performed by the LORD Himself. And they have been raised to a new life in a new land that God had provided for them. What had they done? They had simply acted in the obedience of faith and did what God said. You may to say to them, “Man, I sure like the way you crossed the Jordan. The way you dammed up those waters. You are real magicians!” They would have replied, “You are crazy. We did nothing but pick up our suitcases and walk across on dry land. God stopped those waters. It was a miracle that brought us across the Jordan. Don’t give us credit. Give God the glory.” You see God had developed a people who were willing to give God the glory. Faith always does.

God had brought Israel around and brought a new generation out of the old. The old did not believe Him. The new did. That is the difference. The difference was faith. God was the same. He had not changed at all. The first generation could have had this. But they made a choice that affected their wives and families for forty years, and they gave up the opportunity to enter the land that God had promised. But their unbelief did not keep God from preforming His promise or developing a people who would believe Him.

The Jordan represents our willingness to die to self and the old life. This is what we profess in baptism after salvation. But many stop short. They refuse to apply the principles of the new life in Christ. Therefore, they live and die in the desert. They are like Moses striking the rock instead of speaking to it. If you refuse leave the old life behind as a Christian, you crucify Jesus again by a life of flesh and sin. You must be willing to enter into His life by faith. His present life came as a result His death and resurrection. By faith you must accept that you died in His death to the passed, and were raised in His resurrection to a new life that is lived according to a new principle. It is the principle of faith. Faith accepts forgiveness apart from feeling and lives the new life by the same principle. Rom. 6:11 says, “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.

In Christ

Bro. White

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