Monday, June 17, 2013

Parted Waters

Two separate events of parted waters – the Red Sea as the Israelites left Egypt and the Jordan River as they entered the promised land. More than forty years in between because they did not trust God.

The phrase ‘obedience, then understanding’ came to mind this morning during a study of Joshua.

The first parting came as the children of Israel saw Pharaoh approaching. Their departure appeared to be at an end, with the sea in front of them, an army behind them. They blamed Moses, of course.

And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness. (Exodus 14:11-12 KJV)

The Lord provided the way out, instructing Moses:

But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. (Exodus 14:16 KJV)

Had they advanced, placed their feet in the water, would it have opened as the Jordan?

And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap. (Joshua 3:13 KJV)

Verses 15 and 16 tell us this was true – as soon as their feet dipped into the flood from the Jordan, the waters parted and their path was clear. Of course, they had forty years in between to see how the Lord was seeing after them. Perhaps they had learned to listen to Him, had come to know the Lord would provide for their needs.

Those crossing Jordan obeyed, trusting they would eventually understand. They sought God’s direction, asked Him questions and responded to His instructions. It took forty years for this response.

How long did it take for us? We know people who have been following Christ since childhood.  We also know adults who never darken a church door. And, we know those who have died professing their lack of faith.  Where are we on our journey? Are we looking back to Egypt, wandering the wilderness, standing on the edge of Jordan – or living in Egypt without the Lord.

I prefer heeding His word. It’s a choice I’ve made based on studying what is available without eternal life and what God offers. Then came studying to see whether there are credible alternatives. There were no easy answers in all that study. It comes down to faith – faith that allows for obedience before understanding. Faith as described and exampled in Hebrews 11. May reading His word introduce this faith.

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