In the book of Joshua chapter 3, we witness the triumphal entrance of the people of Israel in the Promised Land of Canaan. The time in the desert has finally come to an end, and the time has come for Israel to take hold of God’s promises.
Forty years separated the departure from Egypt and the entry into Canaan. Forty years between two Passovers : the Passover of deliverance and Passover of consecration. Twice blood is shed so that grace may flow on souls. The first Passover is that of deliverance from sin,Â marked by the miracle of the dividing of the Red Sea so that the people could pass through. The end of the slavery of the old life ! The Lord gives new life by saving Israel from the power of Egypt, and land of occultism and paganism. That is how it is when we receive the grace that comes through salvation in Jesus Christ : He washes us from our sins and causes us to enter into new life in Him.
Moses opens the Red See
The second Passover is that of consecration, marked by the miraculous crossing of the Jordan that had been dried up by the hand of God. Whilst the Ark of the Covenant was held by the Levites in the bed of the river, all the people entered into Canaan : this is a picture of a life completely offered to the Lord, that is, of the life that God desires all His children to live.
Between the two dry crossings, there is the desert: a picture of the necessary time that must pass in order that the Spirit of God can transform us into His image… How long has your desert lasted ? Only the Lord will be able to reply (with you) to this question, because this time of maturing depends on your capacity to permit yourself to be shaped by God. That is where the test of obedience is presented for each one of us.
There is therefore a road to be travelled down ; itÂ leadsÂ from the point at which I receive Christ as my Saviour and accept His forgiveness through His sacrifice on the Cross,Â and the point at which I accept to surrender completely in front of the demands of my Lord and Master ! Sometimes, my « forty years in the desert » last a long time, but the Lord always has this same ambition for my life : that is, to deliver me from all my enemies, starting with the hold of my flesh on my spiritual life. In the desert, one generation died and another was brought to birth. My old nature must therefore die in this desert ! My salvation is not truly complete until I have crossed the Jordan !
Therefore, I must give everything to my Lord : my goods, my money, my time, my anxieties, my desires and my heart. Otherwise, I risk being saved, but only as through fire (1Corinthians 3:15). Only after this, can I reach the Jordan.
by Patrick Le Dily (and the translation of Simon Payne)