Today’s reading begins with the story of Rahab the Harlot and concludes with the crossing of the Jordan River by the people of Israel.
Although the story of Rahab the Harlot is a significant one because we learn much later in our read through of the Bible that she is in the bloodline of an extremely important individual, I want to focus my post on the crossing of the Jordan River by Joshua and the people of Israel.
Much is discussed about the Israelites passage through the Red Sea. Many say that the ‘Red Sea’ mentioned in the Bible was really the ‘Sea of Reeds’, essentially no deeper than a person’s waist and hardly enough water to drown the armies of Pharaoh. Almost sensing the incredulity of the Archaeological community, God performs another miracle that revolves around water. The people of Israel needed passage into the Promised Land in order to begin their conquest of it. The easiest passage into the Promised Land was through the Jordan River.
God commanded Joshua to send the priests on ahead of the camp of Israel and walk into the Jordan River. As the priests did this, the waters receded from the shoreline and the text says that the waters ‘piled up’ upstream of where the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant had entered the river. After the waters had been stopped from flowing, it’s noted in the text that the priests who had stood still in the middle of the Jordan River bed stood on dry ground and the camp of the Israelites also stood on dry ground.
During this time of crossing, God commanded Joshua to take stones from the midst of the river, one for each tribe of Israel and on the opposite side of the Jordan River, build an altar there of the stones that were taken from the midst of the river as a memorial to this second time when God had made a way for a miraculous passage on dry ground through a body of water.
The passage concludes with this:
“When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, that you may fear the LORD your God forever.” Joshua 4:21-24 (ESV)
With a God so powerful, why do I still doubt? If He can do these kinds of miraculous things then, He can certainly do them now.