13th January 2011

Crossing Jordan

“Then the Lord said to him, ‘This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, “I will give it to your descendants.” I will let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it.’ And Moses the servant of the Lord died there in Moab, as the Lord had said.”
Deuteronomy 34:4-5 (NIV)

Poor Moses! After 40 years of faithfully leading a group of obstinate and complaining people almost to the edge of the promised land, God wouldn’t allow him to go in. Why not? He was elderly, but he was still strong and healthy. God had forewarned Moses that this would be the result of his actions at Kadesh (Numbers 20:1-13). Forty years of faithfulness, and then one mistake denies him entrance to the promised land. It seems rather harsh and must have been heartbreaking for Moses. He pleaded to be allowed in, but God said no.

One of the lessons we can learn from this episode is simple, but vital. Moses, above all men ever born, symbolises law. He was the one who collected the tablets with the ten commandments written on them from God. He was the one who delivered and taught the law to Israel. He was not allowed to cross the river Jordan because law cannot take anybody into the promised land. A new leader had to take Moses’ place to do that, and that leader was Joshua, who represents Jesus. ‘Jesus’ is simply the Greek form of the Hebrew word ‘Joshua’. Joshua, representing Jesus, led the Israelites into the promised land. It was an easy journey. God even dried up the turbulent floodwaters of the Jordan so they could cross on dry land (Joshua 3:14-17). It took trust that Joshua was ‘Gods man’, not endless, arduous, law-keeping to get Israel across the Jordan River.

As long as we depend on the law, we will remain like Moses looking at the promised land longingly from afar. The day before they entered the promised land, Joshua told the people, “Tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.” (Joshua 3:5). He is still doing amazing things today—still taking all those that put their trust in Him across the Jordan into the promised land.

Jesus, without you we were hopelessly lost. Thanks for being so accessible, so ready to listen when we cry out for mercy, so ready to grant us eternal fellowship with you, when we put our trust wholly in you.

Study by Doug Bass

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2 Responses to “13th January 2011”

  1. Sherwin Scott on January 13th, 2011 2:02 pm

    Excellent devotional making a very point about the difference between law and grace. Only by grace can we enter!

  2. Sherwin Scott on January 13th, 2011 2:03 pm

    Excellent devotional making a very important point about the difference between law and grace. Only by grace can we enter!

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