The third chapter of the Book
of Joshua is, in itself and in Israel's history, a very great
chapter, marking as it does the consummation of a long, long
story related to Divine purpose. But in its figurativeness it
represents the greatest crisis and event in human history. There
are some fragments in this chapter which are tense and weighty
with significance; such as:
"Ye have not passed this
way heretofore" (verse 4).
"Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you"
"(Jordan overfloweth all its banks all the time of
harvest)" (verse 15).
"Clean over Jordan" (verse 17).
The great new prospect by a new
step of faith.
The superlative evidence of the
presence of the Lord.
The making of the overwhelming
difficulty the very way of that evidence.
The finality of God's
If Jordan is a figure of the
Cross of Christ, as it surely is, these are some of the major
factors of His death and resurrection, and of ours with Him. The
death means death's removal from before to behind. There is no
prospect whatever while death is before, straddling the path. Its
removal as a barrier opens up a vast new prospect.
The resurrection is the once
for all and the abiding expression of superlative power as God's
means of making His presence and His faithfulness known. It is
the immense "Hereby". How shall we know? The answer,
including all answers, is "The power of his
resurrection". God never makes it easy for His people to
have this 'knowing'. The Cross was no easy matter. It was the
supreme test of God's superiority over adverse forces, and the
principle abides. The experience of the "called according to
his purpose" is that of an ever-increasing realisation of
the depth and strength of Jordan. "So great a death,"
Paul called it. "That we should trust, not in ourselves, but
in God who raiseth the dead."
Jordan in flood spoke of sin's
overwhelming of the whole scene. It spoke of death's inundating
spread and power, breaking all banks. It spoke of human weakness
and helplessness before these great forces. But it spoke of God's
superiority over all.
Lastly: "Clean over
Jordan." The finished, perfected work of salvation from all
the above, and unto "an inheritance, incorruptible, and
undefiled, and which fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you
who, by the power of God are kept...".
First published in "A Witness and A
Testimony" magazine, Jan-Feb 1965, Vol 43-1