8 You shall command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, saying, ‘When you have come to the edge of the water of the Jordan, you shall stand in the Jordan.’ ”
9 So Joshua said to the children of Israel, “Come here, and hear the words of the LORD your God.”
10 And Joshua said, “By this you shall know that the living God is among you, and that He will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Hivites and the Perizzites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Jebusites:
11 Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is crossing over before you into the Jordan.
12 Now therefore, take for yourselves twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one man from every tribe.
13 And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, that the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off, the waters that come down from upstream, and they shall stand as a heap.”
14 So it was, when the people set out from their camp to cross over the Jordan, with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people,
15 and as those who bore the ark came to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests who bore the ark dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks during the whole time of harvest),
16 that the waters which came down from upstream stood still, and rose in a heap very far away at Adam, the city that is beside Zaretan. So the waters that went down into the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, failed, and were cut off; and the people crossed over opposite Jericho.
17 Then the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan; and all Israel crossed over on dry ground, until all the people had crossed completely over the Jordan.
As I was reading through this passage of Scripture earlier today, there seemed a clear call to those in Christ today to fulfill their duty as priests of the Living God, and willingly step into death for the glory of Christ alone, and for the salvation of those He has called. We can know from 1 Peter 2:9 that those in Christ now are in the same role that the Levite priests in this passage were in, and that as believers, we now bear the Spirit of the One who has given us a new covenant by His own blood, as the very temple He now resides within 1 Cor 3:16.
In the Old Testament picture above, we see the promised land that awaits the Israelites beyond the Jordan river, swollen and unpassable, as a representation of death itself. However in Christ we have One who goes before us, and stills the rolling waters in an instant, holding them back until we have all passed through safely. The parallel to the account in Joshua that we see for today however, is that it is necessary for those bearing the ark to stand in the Jordan themselves. To enter death for the glory of Christ therefore, is not simply a noble act carried out by a few Christian believers, but it is the very command of God to be obeyed by every Christian believer, for we have been chosen by God to carry the Ark of the New Covenant right through the midst of death, for the glory of Jesus Christ alone, and that those around us may see the path opening up before them, and hear the call of His voice to follow too.
We can jump up and down all we like, sing loudly and joyfully, clap our hands, pray to our hearts content, and shout “Jesus is Lord!” from the rooftops, but the crunch question we need to ask ourselves is this: Am I willing to march into death itself, and risk losing every single solitary thing that is precious to me for His glory? If the answer is anything but a resounding “Yes!”, then we need to repent and cry out to the Lord with all our hearts that it may be so.
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