Friday, March 19, 2010

Journal, 3/19/10

So, as many Good Shepherd people have been, I have been doing the Divine Mentor reading plan. I have really enjoyed it and I have enjoyed the journalling too. I thought I would start using my blog to enter some of my journal entries.

Reading: Joshua 3-6, 1 Corinthians 4
Joshua 4:10-11: For the priests who carried the ark were standing in the middle of the Jordan until everything was completed that the LORD had commanded Joshua to speak to the people, according to all that Moses had commanded Joshua. And the people hurried and crossed; and when all the people had finished crossing, the ark of the LORD and the priests crossed before the people.
There is so much richness in Joshua 3-6 that it was really hard to choose only one passage on which to focus. This one really struck me, though. I have read this story many tiems, but I think I have missed this. I remembered that the priests crossed the Jordan first, but I had not noticed that they stood in the middle of the dried-up Jordan while the rest of Israel crossed. There were the priests, standing in the middle of a dried-up river, waiting for the rest of the people to cross before them. Then, when everyone was safe from the waters, they themselves crossed.
What an amazing picture of the priesthood! In one sense this certainly was not the normal task of the priests, but in another sense it was. The priests were mediators. They connected the people of God. And, in a way, they stood in the gap and kept the people from God's wrath through the sacrifices and offerings. And here they were, literally standing between the people and danger. The people could cross, thinking, "Well, the priests are there. I guess they wouldn't be standing there if it wasn't safe for us. And, anyway, if it becomes unsafe, they will be the first to be hit by the waters."
The priests lived this way. They put themselves in danger for the sake of the people. They courageously stepped into the gap and mediated for the people. This is such a vivid picture of this.
And then there is the great high priest, Jesus Christ. He stands in themiddle of the dried-up Jordan while the righteous wrath of God, the fallout for all our sins and brokenness, is stopped short. And while he stands in the middle of the river, we all cross over, gaining safety form the punishment of our sins, gaining adoption from the God of all things, and gaining life.
But I don't think that analogy is quite right. The priests stodd in the gap, but God spared them from the waters. God did not spare his only Son. Jesus stodd in teh gap, but the floodgates were let go and he was weapt away by the burrent. He was overcome by the river. He died violently as we watched in horror. And then three days later he rose from the waters and stood victoriously and strong in the middle of them. And the HE stopped the waters with no more than a look. And as they stopped, bowing to the Lord of lords, we were all invited to cross. And they did not simply stop once. They still are stopped up, bowing before the risen Lord of all.
What am I to do with this? Well, in the passage it seems clear that the people were called to cross over. And crossing over was the symbol of their trust and obedience. God continually called them to trust him and to do difficult things. I am called to cross over each and every day and to trust God as I do so. I am called to cross over by laying down my life for the sake of Karina and Matt and Jack. I cross over when I sacrifice for them, trusting that I am taken care of by God. I cross over when I reach out to my neighbors in the name of Jesus Christ, bearing his shame and risking that they will think I am strange or pushy or fanatical. I cross over when I say no to lust and bitterness and apathy, and when I say yes to purity and forgiveness and passion.
Father, save me from apathy. I feel it creeping over me. I feel the tides of indifference and there is a part of me that wants to let them just take me away. I want to stop hoping because I don't want to continue to be disappointed. Please free me from this deadness. I want to cross over and to follow you into compassion and love and hope. Empower me to hope in you and not to lose heart. Show me what it looks like to have hope and yet to live in reality. Your reality. Teach me what it looks like to pray in faith, and not to lose heart.


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