“…I promise that I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey.” (Exodus 3:17, ESV).
The patriarchs had all known the goodness of the land of Promise. But they had never taken possession of it. They were surrounded by the people who dwelt in the land before them. It was, in fact, a land for which their offspring would come to long.
After Joseph had secured food and land for all of his family, and they had lived off of the best that the land of Egypt had to offer for herdsmen, everything they had was taken from them and they became slaves to the Egyptians. I imagine the stories about the Promised Land being passed down from generation to generation, told in hushed tones by soft candle light. I’m sure that they recalled that one day they would have a land of their own.
But they were a miserable lot for Moses to lead when the time finally came for Israel to be delivered from Egypt and led to the promised land. Their discontent plagued Moses, and the leisurely jaunt that shouldn’t have taken very long at all (a quick internet search revealed varied opinions ranging from eleven to forty days), ended up taking forty years.
Some of the malcontents wanted to go back to slavery rather than move forward to the Promised Land. And because of their rebellion, most of those who left Egypt never entered it.
But Moses repeatedly reminded them of God’s goodness and the goodness of the Land of Promise. Twelve men were sent off to spy out the land, and without exception they reported that it was everything that God had promised. Although ten of the twelve stirred up fear in the camp regarding the peoples who would have to be driven out.
Before the Israelites could enter that good land they needed to develop a hunger that was strong enough to overcome their fear of those who resided west of the Jordan River.
God told Moses that he would not be able to enter the Promised Land, but that Joshua would lead them across. God told Joshua, “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses.” (Joshua 1:2-3, ESV).
Joshua was one of the spies sent out to see the land. He hungered for it. And it was through him that the promise of God would find its fulfillment.
It is poetic that before Elisha could find fulfillment in his role as a prophet of God he would need to leave Israel and be forced to cross the Jordan again. Both Joshua and Elisha were hungry for God and the things which He had promised. And they both had to cross the Jordan to realize what God had placed in their hearts.
Tomorrow we will continue our look at the challenge, or pitfall, that the Jordan presents.
Blessings on your day!
Photo by Rodolfo Quirós from Pexels