They are poised to cross over the Jordan into the land promised by them. Compare this crossing with the one that took them from captivity in Egypt into their long testing in the wilderness (Exodus 14).
As Pharaoh's army had drawn near, the people had been afraid. The Lord instructed Moses what to do. The Lord sent a strong wind to make a path through the sea so the Israelites could cross over on dry ground.
Now, forty years later, Moses has died, and Joshua is their appointed leader. He also receives instructions from the Lord. Once again the waters are divided, and the people can cross.
What is different is that on this crossing, the priests and the ark of the covenant are part of the story. Also different is that this time is that they are not just one group; they are twelve tribes.
The priests go first with the ark. As their feet enter the river, the waters begin to separate.
Imagine being one of the priests and stepping into the rushing water. When the people saw the water piling up, they then stepped into the path. Imagine being able to trust that the danger would wait for you to make your way across.
In Mississippi this year, we have been remembering what it was like 40 years ago. We remember how important our leaders were during those crises. Today we continue to face hardships, demands, animosities. Today, we need to continue to consider how the Lord is sending help and helpers to us.
They had the ark to hold. What are we holding to remind us of God's commands and help?
Lectio Divina: Psalm 107:1-2, 6