Posts Tagged ‘Jordan River’

A new season: Be strong and courageous

September 24, 2018

As autumn leaves begin to change, we are entering a new season of harvest.

Fall officially begins at the autumnal equinox, where the Sun appears to cross the celestial equator, from north to south, signaling the beginning of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, when the night and day are of equal length. This year it occurred on Saturday, September 22, which marks the end of summer and the beginning of winter.

Even in the midst of these changing times, seasons change. “The days dwindle down to a precious few” and the foliage unfolds in golden splendor along with the bountiful harvest. At this time “Deep rust and scarlet curtains dress the stage/Where trees change gowns on a warm autumn day.” This time of year reminds us of the truths expressed by God Almighty after the flood waters receded in the Days of Noah:

Genesis 8:22

22 As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.”

In thinking about autumn as a season of harvest, I thought of a particularly challenging situation for the Children of Israel as they approached the Promised Land and prepared to enter, Joshua 3:15 notes: ”the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest.” Before they head toward their destination, Joshua commands the people:

Joshua 3:5-6

5 Then Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves [for His purpose], for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders (miracles) among you.” 6 Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and cross over [the river] ahead of the people.” So they took up the Ark of the Covenant and went on ahead of the people.

In a recent teaching of this account from the Book of Joshua, Pastor Joon of Grace Covenant Church, commented, “Before the impossible you pause and ask God what to do.” He went on to say, “Consecration is the vessel for miracles.”

We see that the priests entered the Jordan bearing the Ark of the Covenant on their shoulders. When they entered the river, the waters parted, and the people miraculously walked through on dry land.

This record also brought to mind a poem that personalizes our encounter with a Jordan River of our own, particularly at this season of my life as thousands upon thousands of Carolinians are recovering from devastating flooding after Hurricane Florence. Like the Children of Israel our desire is

To Cross Over

Deep river, Lord,
I want to cross over into campground.
Black Spiritual

To cross over the swelling Jordan is our goal.
Here we stand at the beginning of our harvest
When waters of the river overflow and crest
Above our tableland to overwhelm our soul.
Streams converge upon us as far as we can see
And flood our camp from shore to shore. The rising tide
Would hold us back and keep us from the other side,
But we prepare our heart and mind for victory.
As God sent forth the sacred Ark of the Covenant
Borne on the strong shoulders of the priests, reliant
On the Lord’s command that the waters would recede,
So shall those who trust God, never fail but succeed.
Though trials seem to hinder us on every hand,
We shall walk through this Jordan and stand on dry land.

As we enter into this new harvest season of our lives, we may be confronted with challenging circumstances that seem to overwhelm us at times, but we are confident that just as God delivered Israel, so will He provide a way for us reach our destination, the place of our destiny.

As we embark upon this new season, we inquire of the Lord and seek His guidance and direction for the days ahead. Some will be fasting and praying; others will journal and devote more time to reading and studying the Scriptures. We think of the lyrics to “Our Eyes are on You”:

Lord, we acknowledge You,

We don’t know what to do,

But our eyes are still on You.

 

We have not been this way.

Each step is strange and new,

But our eyes are still on You.

 

Teach us Your way, and we will follow.

Speak to us now. We will obey.

You’ve always brought us through.

Our eyes are still on You.

Our eyes are still on You.

We close with a musical rendering of some of the words spoken to Joshua, and they certainly can be applied to our lives in this new season: “Be Strong and Take Courage”: