Red Sea and Jordan River
Genesis 1:2 (NKJV)
Exodus 14:21-22 (NKJV)
Exodus 14:26 (NKJV)
Joshua 3:15-17 (NKJV)
Deuteronomy 1:26 (NKJV)
Deuteronomy 1:35-38 (NKJV)
Deuteronomy 32:48-52 (NKJV)
Numbers 13:26-31 (NKJV)
Joshua 4:14 (NKJV)
Joshua 1:1-3 (NKJV)
The parting of the Red Sea after the children of Israel left Egypt is one of the most memorable events in scripture. It’s certainly a miracle that boggles the mind. The parting of the Jordan River was also an important event for the generation that entered the Promised Land.
I remember watching Cecil B. DeMille’s movie, Ten Commandments, growing up. The parting of the Red Sea was always my favorite scene. Whenever I hear the music from that scene, I can picture how the waters parted and moved. As a child I was fascinated with how the movie could make the waters part. What’s funny is that I did not wonder how God actually parted the waters of the sea.
Many many decades later, I wonder how God actually parted the Red Sea. I know that God is God and He can do anything, but moving the waters of a sea and drying the ground so that several million people can pass through is no easy matter.
Then I remember creation. When it started everything was null and void. In Genesis 1:2 scripture in Hebrew says the Ruach (וְר֣וּחַ) or Spirit...breath of God hovered over the face of the waters. At this point everything was formless and void. Then, the Spirit of God breathed and in Genesis 1:3 God said, “BE Light” and there was Light. God thought, God envisioned, and the breath of God blew out creating light.
Using that same thought pattern when He parted the Red Sea, God thought and He knew He needed to form a barrier between Israel and the Egyptians who were chasing them. He also needed to conquer the Egyptian soldiers so they wouldn’t continue to chase Israel. God had big plans for Israel and He wasn’t about to let Egypt interfere.
God chose the easiest path available and He envisioned Israel going through the Sea. Since God didn’t want them to have to swim across, He saw the waters parting. The breath, the Spirit of God blew and the waters parted, drying the earth at the bottom of the sea.
And so...Exodus 14:21-22 says, “Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.”
I’ve always wondered what it would be like to walk through the Red Sea and look at the water God had walled up on both sides. Did they see whales and octopus in the water? Did the children get a modern day view of an aquarium? We’re they frightened? I remember the first time I saw an octopus in an aquarium and I was a little freaked out...and I knew what an octopus was! They had no idea what kind of creatures were in the sea, except for the small fish they may have caught in a net. They certainly would have learned a lot that day!
They would have seen that when the Red Sea needed to part, Moses held up his staff in his hand and God parted the Sea, and when Moses let His staff go down, the waters of the Red Sea were released, killing the Egyptian soldiers pursuing them (Exodus 14:26).
Years later when Israel reached the Jordan River once again God parted the waters for Israel so they could cross through to the Promised Land. We read in Joshua 3:15-17, “and as those who bore the ark came to the Jordan, and 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 at Adam, the city that is beside Zaretan. 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.”
This time it was the Ark of the Covenant that held the sacred tablets that caused the waters of the Jordan River to recede. Also, a different crowd crossed through the waters this time. We learn from Deuteronomy 1:26, because the children of Israel “rebelled against the command of the Lord your God”. The generation that crossed through the Red Sea spent 40 years in the wilderness. Moses did not cross into the Promised Land.
Deuteronomy 1:35-38 says, “‘Surely not one of these men of this evil generation shall see that good land of which I swore to give to your fathers, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him and his children I am giving the land on which he walked, because he wholly followed the Lord.’ The Lord was also angry with me for your sakes, saying, ‘Even you shall not go in there. Joshua the son of Nun, who stands before you, he shall go in there. Encourage him, for he shall cause Israel to inherit it.”
Moses was not allowed in the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 32:48-52) but, God promised him, “you shall see the land before you, though you shall not go there, into the land which I am giving to the children of Israel.”
Only Caleb and Joshua were allowed to cross through the Red Sea and the Jordan River.
We read in the account of the spies sent into the Promised Land in Numbers 13:26-31 that “they departed and came back to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the children of Israel in the Wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. Then they told him, and said: “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan.” Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.”
So, Caleb and Joshua were part of the spy crew that went to survey the land and they believed that God was ABLE to OVERCOME. The other spies did not believe.
In Joshua 4:14 we learn that “the Lord exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they feared him, as they had feared Moses, all the days of his life.” Fear in this case was in the form of respect. In the Promised land Caleb, from the tribe of Judah conquered Hebron and settled there. Joshua became the leader of the tribes after Moses died (Joshua 1:1-3).
When Israel crossed through the Jordan River, it was Joshua who led them. Seeing Joshua do a similar miracle would have given Israel something to comfort and encourage them. Joshua believed and so he had the Lord’s blessing.
While the miracle of the parting of the Jordan River was somewhat different than the parting of the Red Sea, both were clearly a miracle. Moses was God’s man of the hour for the first, and Joshua for the second. Ultimately, both believed God is able.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Believe God is Able
Ephesians 3:20-21 says, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
Tell God throughout your day you know He is able to do exceedingly more than you can ask or think. Claim that verse as your own.
You WILL Be Blessed! Deborah