Exodus Day Twenty-Eight
August 7, 2020, 4:00 AM

Exodus 14:26-31

Then the LORD said to Moses,
“Stretch out your hand over the sea,
that the water may come back upon the Egyptians,
upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.”
So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea,
and the sea returned to its normal course when the morning appeared.
And as the Egyptians fled into it,
the LORD threw the Egyptians into the midst of the sea.
The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen;
of all the host of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea, not one of them remained.
But the people of Israel walked on dry ground through the sea,
the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.
Thus the LORD saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians,
and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore.
Israel saw the great power that the LORD used against the Egyptians,
so the people feared the LORD, and they believed in the LORD and in his servant Moses.

Rivers opening and God’s people Crossing through on dry ground is a major salvific phenomenon in Scripture. It began to the east of Egypt, through the Red Sea, wherever that Crossing took place, it surely took place (see, once again, a previous post). That Red Sea Crossing, with every bit of redemptive punch packed in, would be duplicated three more times in another yet another river, in pivotal, paradigm shifting moments in the life of God’s people. That other river would be the Jordan.

The first “Red Sea” moment in the life of the people post the actual Red Sea Crossing happened after forty years of wandering in the wilderness. The encampment penultimately settled on the Plains of Moab – the imagery with which I named this blog – as Moses prepared the younger generation to go in and claim what their parents forfeited by hardness of heart.

It was Joshua who led the nation through Jordan... thusly described— “When the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap. …Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan.” (Joshua 3:13-17).

Joshua led the people into the Promised Land. However, as they entered the Land, they still had battles to fight. As Hebrews 4:7-9 says, “‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.’ For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.”

About four hundred years later, the second Crossing happened with Elijah and Elisha. In 2 Kings 2 it reads, “Standing by the Jordan… Elijah took his cloak and rolled it up and struck the water, and the water was parted to the one side and to the other, till the two of them could go over on dry ground. …[After Elijah had ascended to heaven,] Elisha took up the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. Then he took the cloak …and struck the water, saying, “Where is the LORD, the God of Elijah?” And when he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over. (2:7-8, 13-14).

In this second Crossing, Elijah, going out of the Land on dry ground, then being caught up to heaven in a whirlwind, gives us a preview of what’s in store upon the finish of this-worldly pilgrimage, as he crosses the threshold of this age to the next age. Elisha will then re-enter the Land from Transjordan, in dry-ground, miraculous fashion. Retrace the steps of Joshua’s campaigns to conquer the Land – with the exception being that his conquering will be bloodless and healing, and with the end of completing the mission successfully – unlike Israel under Joshua, and subsequent Judges, and now the failure of the kings of Israel and Judah. Elisha and his entry into the Land being itself, a preview – a foretaste of yet another Crossing to come.

The Third Crossing! “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, ‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,' John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. …In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.” (Mark 1:1-9)

Jesus goes down to the Jordan River – the lowest point on the face of the earth, just as he condescended to become one of us – to inaugurate the final Crossing. Jesus goes to be baptized in the same location where Joshua crossed Jordan. In the same location where Elijah and Elisha crossed Jordan. In the same location where John the Baptist established his cave home. A significant entry portal to the Promised Land just opposite Jericho. Jesus will truly and finally conquer the Promised Land. He will bring life, not death. It is not coincidental that just after Jesus “Crosses Jordan” in the waters of baptism, he goes into the Judean Wilderness to be tempted by Satan for forty days. The sequence is reversed here from the experience of the Exodus wanderings, but the endgame this time, will be in Christ. God’s Son will be faithful in the testing and trials, unlike Moses and the folks, who were not. In Jesus, the Exodus will be completed! Successfully.

Towards the climax of the inaugural, earthly sojourn of Jesus upon the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus spoke with both Moses and Elijah— “And behold, the two men were talking with him… of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:30-31). “Departure” is the translation of the Greek word “Exodus.” Jesus was going to go to Jerusalem to accomplish his Exodus – for us. Moses led the people in the Red Sea Crossing, out of Egypt. Jesus too, will lead yet another Crossing for the people of God out of Egypt --- out of sin and death. This time, through the waters of the Cross.

How thick! This, I know, is a boatload of Crossings for you to digest today. (Pun clearly intended.) Aren’t you glad this is Friday? This may take a few days to rest and process fully. But, not to worry, Sunday’s coming!

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