Yehoshua Three: Crossing the Jordan

The spies have reported to Joshua, and now entering the land is imminent. There is nothing else holding the people back. They have prepared physically, mentally, and emotionally, and are finally ready to take this auspicious step. The people are literally camped on the banks of the Jordan, at the precipice of finally achieving their goal. I personally would have been so ready to just get there after all that time that I’d have been swimming across, but they had more patience, and so they camped for three days. “And it was at the end of three days, that the officers went through the midst of the camp. And they commanded the people, saying: When you see the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests, the Levites, bearing it, then you shall move from your place and go after it (Joshua 3:2-3).” The people will follow the ark, just as they have followed the pillars of cloud and fire throughout the desert. In this action, God leads the way, as always.

Joshua, following God’s pronouncement, commands the priests in the carrying of the Ark. And now, we have the first miracle on Joshua’s watch. “And it shall be, when the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the Ark of the Lord, Lord of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off, the waters that come down from above, shall stand in one heap (Joshua 3:13).” If this isn’t a flashback to the parting of the Red Sea, I don’t know what is. Once again, the water stops and parts, allowing the people to cross into a new stage of existence on dry land with the help of God and the facilitation of the prophet. The people have come so far from that miracle to this one. Then, they were leaving slavery for freedom. Now, they are leaving wandering for stability, ownership, and sovereignty. Each water crossing is literally a watershed moment for the Israelites, and effectively bookends the time in the wilderness.

“And the priests that bore the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord stood firm arranged on the dry land in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel passed over on dry ground, until the whole nation had completely passed over the Jordan (Joshua 3:17).” With that, the people are officially, finally in the land. A new stage of their journey as a people is about to commence, just as their actual journey to Israel comes to a close.

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