The second crossing

The first crossing

But the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. That day the Lord saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. - Exodus 14:29-30

Everyone's heard of the Red/Reed Sea crossing. We even have the movie/cartoon/musical, the Prince of Egypt, with the Israelites escaping on foot and Pharaoh's chariots closely behind them. Then there is the dramatic scene where Moses splits the waters in two, allowing the Israelites to escape from the Egyptians, from slavery. But have you thought much about the second crossing?

The second crossing

Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water's edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away... all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground. - Joshua 3:15-17

The speaker at OCF reminded us of the connections between the Israelites then, and Christians now. The first crossing symbolised the Israelite's freedom from slavery. Sin is often described as slavery, as something that lords over us. And I guess the experience is true - whether it's as obvious as drug addictions and pornography, or something more subtle like greed, lust or hate. Just as God rescued the Israelites, so we too, cross over from being slaves to sin, to being free from sin. That is, we are cleansed from our sins and no longer live in sin when we accept Christ's sacrifice for us.

Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey... what benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. - Romans 6:16, 21-22

The second water crossing led by Moses this time, signified entry into the promised land. Finally, after forty long years of wandering in the desert! In between the first water crossing out of slavery, and the second crossing into the promised land there were many years in the wilderness. Although the Israelites had experienced the power of God in the exodus, many grumbled against God, worshipped idols, and did not hold onto God's promise. God promised the Israelites the land of Canaan, an inheritance, yet it seemed that God had forgotten about the promise, and that it wasn't coming.

Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and coheirs with Christ... - Romans 8:17

If accepting Jesus is the first crossing for Christians, the second crossing is the second coming of Jesus, the judgment day. The day feels like it will never come, we don't really understand the value of our "inheritance" (not land in this case, but entering into God's kingdom), and we easily forget the promise. Like the Israelites, we can accept Christ but never make it to the second crossing. We need to always remember salvation, but look ahead to what's coming too.

Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. - Hebrews 3:16-4:1

That means how we live in the meantime matters. We are to live in light of God's promise. And if we truly believe it, above all else our eyes will be fixed on eternal things, on walking and working for God. As the speaker put it, do we live in a way that says to God "I don't believe in your promise"?



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