CROSSING THE JORDAN – PART I
At this time of increasing national decline in the USA, lack of godly leadership, escalating globalization in the political, economic and monetary spheres, and the inevitable isolation of Israel, God’s people have a choice to make. Will we continue with the “business as usual” church life which the West has become accustomed to, making our endless rounds in the wilderness of futility, feeding on a limited diet of the Word of God, and remaining spiritually anemic, weak and exposed. Or, will we seize the moment as it were, gird up our loins, seek the face of the Lord afresh, and prepare to cross the Jordan into the Promised Land. Life in the wilderness, though safe from Egypt’s oppression, is nothing like the Promised Land!
“Now the children of Israel camped in Gilgal, and kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight on the plains of Jericho. And they ate of the produce of the land on the day after the Passover, unleavened bread and parched grain, on the very same day. Then the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten the produce of the land; and the children of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate the food of the land of Canaan that year.” Joshua 5:10-12.
Forty years to the day after the First Passover had been observed in Egypt on that terrible night before the Exodus, the Israelites arrived to their next great Passover after crossing the River Jordan into the Promised Land. The reborn Hebrew nation, no longer slaves but now born free in the solitude of the vast wilderness under the pillar of fire and cloud, emerges into history’s full view by the plains of Jericho. Weary of the wilderness’ wanderings that spelled death to the old generation of slaves and birth to a new generation of warriors, the nation of Israel was now ready to obey the Lord’s voice and contend for His promises.
But before they could start marching throughout the Promised Land, God ordained another great national Passover, this one to be observed by the Jordan River under the shadow of Jericho’s fortifications. Though identical in ritual and regulations to the first great Passover in Egypt forty years earlier, this Jericho Passover was entirely different in purpose and intention. The first one was about getting out; this one is about getting in!
In the same way, the time is near for many of us who call upon the name of the Lord to move on from the old ways of “just surviving” and being content with a measure of spiritual freedom, and actually engage our true and biblical calling which is not only to escape Egypt and merely exist – but to enter into, fight for, and obtain all of the promises of God. The question is, are we willing to make the necessary sacrifices for such a transition? Can we die to our Egyptian slave mentality/identity in order to rise into the newness of a free and a bold life that turns back generational limitations and act on God’s word through faith and obedience?
PRIESTHOOD OF ALL BELIEVERS
While both Passovers saw the Hebrews miraculously cross bodies of water on dry ground, the crossings were dramatically different in their nature and outcome. The Red Sea crossing was executed by one man, Moses, who single handedly delivered Israel out of Egypt. The Jordan crossing was led by the priesthood, corporately carrying the presence of God. The lesson? No one man can do justice to the overarching plan of God in the earth, no matter how great a leader. Rather, it will take the priesthood of all believers to accomplish the divine purpose. And while a single person can have a profound impact in leading you out of the bondage of spiritual death and into the light of God, it takes a multitude of ministers and ministries to present you mature and complete before your maker.
As it is written, “…as 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), that the waters which came down from upstream stood still, and rose in a heap very far away… 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. 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.” Joshua 3:15-17.
Discern, therefore, the Body of the Lord, and do not look to any one man or woman to lead you into the Promised Land. God leads His people under the banner of His priesthood, as the Apostle admonished us, saying, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Eph. 4:4-6.
THE SPIRIT TO FIGHT
Further, during the first Passover and crossing, the enemy was in hot pursuit and Israel was fleeing for their lives. In contrast, during the Jericho Passover God’s people took the initiative and were on the offensive, engaging and pursuing their enemies in order to defeat them, clear the land, and obtain the promises. The lesson? Not even one of God’s promises to you and to your household will be obtained without a fight, not while we have an enemy in this world, and we all must learn to change from the “survivor” mentality to the “conqueror” mentality.
The fact is that in spite of the plethora of human sufferings, abuse and dysfunction the Apostle lists in Romans chapter eight, he insists that “…yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom 8:37-39. Have you connected to the love of Christ for you in such a way that lifts you above the gravitational pull of your humanity? Have we? This is our greatest calling in this life, this is where the power abides that sustains and propels us, and this is where we make the most progress.
NO MORE SPIRITUAL BEGGERS
The first Passover introduced Israel to Manna, while the Jericho Passover forced them to start cultivating the fields and work the ground to produce their provisions and livelihood. “And they ate of the produce of the land on the day after the Passover… on the very same day. Then the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten the produce of the land; and the children of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate the food of the land of Canaan...” Joshua 5:11-12.
We all like the notion of the Manna, the “free and easy supply” from heaven that kept showing up miraculously every morning. We even invented pet doctrines to promote such foolish expectations, failing to realize that this phenomenon was an inferior and temporary arrangement for a people who were dying because of fear, unbelief and disobedience, and who were kept in the wilderness “on a holding pattern” until that entire generation completely perished while a new generation was being birthed which was capable of inheriting the promises.
The scripture is clear, telling us that “…you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.” Deut 8:2-3. Manna was God’s provision for the wilderness generation. In contrast, those who enter into the Land and inherit the Promises must learn to contend for God’s will in their lives and labor in His fields as He calls and enables us.
MARKED BY THE SIGN OF THE COVENANT
The first Passover was characterized by the slaying of Egypt’s firstborn, a dramatic divine intervention delivering God’s children from Pharaoh’s harsh oppression while avenging the blood of the Hebrew babies who had been tossed into the crocodile infested Nile. The Jericho Passover, on the other hand, was characterized by Israel’s corporate circumcision, the purging and wounding of the carnal nature that was required before they could engage their enemies in battle. In other words, the wilderness generation is capable of meandering aimlessly in the desert of life without even a concern about bearing God’s covenant mark; while the generation that desires to enter the Land must first pass under God’s knife the cuts away that which is carnal, fleshly and unredeemable.
“So it was … at that time the LORD said to Joshua, ‘Make flint knives for yourself, and circumcise the sons of Israel...’ So Joshua made flint knives for himself, and circumcised the sons of Israel at the hill of the foreskins. And this is the reason why Joshua circumcised them: All the people who came out of Egypt who were males, all the men of war, had died in the wilderness… all the people born in the wilderness, on the way as they came out of Egypt, had not been circumcised. For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people who were men of war, who came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they did not obey the voice of the LORD; to whom the LORD swore that He would not show them the land … Then Joshua circumcised their sons whom He raised up in their place; for they were uncircumcised… Then the LORD said to Joshua, ‘This day I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.’ Therefore the name of the place is called Gilgal to this day.” Joshua 5:1-9.
Remember this unchangeable law: Every step deeper into the Promised Land of God’s destiny and calling necessitates a prior circumcision of our flesh nature. Whether pride, fear, selfishness, foolishness or any other fruit of the flesh (see Galatians 5) that constitutes the “sin that so easily besets you,” we all must gird ourselves and brace for the knife. It never feels good, but it always yields the precious fruit of righteousness.
Pray with us as we soon travel to Israel with a group of dedicated saints to seek the Lord, study with Israeli scholars, encourage our Messianic brethren, and entreat the Lord for the Peace of Jerusalem. Israel’s newly elected nationalistic government, as expected, is upholding a stronger line than previous governments regarding the futile “peace negotiations” with the Palestinians under Iran’s building nuclear threat and continual spawning and financing of terrorism and Jihadist aspirations . Not surprisingly, Western powers, including the liberal/secular American administration, are actually following suit in raising the bar and demanding realistic and forthcoming steps toward peace from the dysfunctional Palestinian camp. This “honeymoon” will only last a while.
This is always the case: As Israel upholds godly wisdom, confidence and purpose, the world follows, at least for a while. Whenever Israel compromises with the intimidation of the enemy and capitulates through fear and insecurity, the world follows that too. Pray accordingly. In spite of how things may appear to the natural eye, the first born nation still sets the course for the rest of the nations as far as God’s purpose in the earth is concerned.
At the same time, remember in prayer the Messianic Body of believers in Israel that is entering a season of sustained persecution and hardship. The newly elected government, while walking closer to the counsel of the Lord in regards to Israel’s divine calling and the territorial integrity of the Land, is also inundated with Orthodox politics that are notoriously anti-Messianic and supportive of strong legal, even militant, actions designed to counter the expression of faith in Messiah Jesus as exhibited among the Messianic Believers in the Land.
May the Word of the Lord be their, and our strength, exhorting us to “… let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent… you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God. For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake…” Philippians 1:27-29. Suffering, according to Paul the Apostle, is part and parcel of the divine package. Something that is granted us, according to this scripture, constitutes a gift, making suffering a gift of God to be cherished, embraced and maximized. May His grace be with us all as we come to term with His truth.
There is still time to join our group of intercessors and worshipers as we travel to the land of Israel June 7-15, 2009. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 507-438-9096 to learn more. You may ask, why go through the expense and effort to travel to Israel this summer? Because, in that small land, and among this embattled yet chosen nation, are found both the origin and the consummation of our biblical faith in the Creator God. In the Land of Israel the ancient prophets spoke; the scriptures were written; and the Messiah accomplished His eternal work. There, His Kingdom will be established upon earth where He will reign with righteousness and peace. Come with us to Israel, experience the Land and the people, and participate in the building up of the One New Man reality.
As a practical expression of your faith, while standing with the Lord as you watch and pray with Him over Israel, please consider supporting Messianic Believers in Israel through our ISRAEL FUND. Your supports helps those persecuted for the Faith, people of excellence, and those with hearts to do great things with God as He establishes His testimony in Israel during these turbulent times.
ONE NEW MAN CALL is supported by friends of the Ephesians 2:14-15 vision, calling Jew and Gentile to dwell as one in God’s Olive Tree. To learn more, to support this work, or to provide direct support to Messianic Believers in Israel, contact us at the address below. Thank you.
In His grace,
REUVEN AND MARY LOU DORON
(C) 2009 One New Man Call
One New Man Call
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Hayfield, MN 55940 USA
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