New Year’s Reflection: Time to Cross Over

31 Dec

Back to Joshua again. This is the intro to the first week’s upcoming study in Joshua 1:1-9. Seems appropriate today. I’m posting the Hobbit trailer at the end because, (a) It is most cool; and (b) It fits the post and the day. There are comforts of our accustomed existence we must be willing to leave – privately, corporately, religiously, socially, you name it; comforts we must risk never returning to, or at least never returning to the same. I’m also reminded of Stonewall Jackson’s final words: “Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees.” Yeah. Let there be some of that in this new year too.

Warm-up: Joshua 1:1-9

“Moses my servant is dead…”

Transitions. Bridges. Crossings.

They can be fraught with uncertainty, peril, anxiety – or anticipation, hope, and adventure.

Usually all of the above.

We are so wedded to the way we were, to who and how we have always been – even when who, how, and where we have been is anything but ideal, as in the case of the Israelites.

For 400 years they had heard the promise repeated, passed down, recounted, as a nation of former slaves looked toward a land that few of them had ever even seen. Perhaps it seemed like a dream – distant, unattainable, always over the horizon, always out there.

As they trudged on through their circular desert tracks, Moses was their one constant. Moses had led them, fed them, judged them, rebuked them, instructed them, encouraged them, and finally brought them to river’s edge – to the last barrier that stood between them and home. Now the stark words come:

Moses my servant is dead.

“Get Going. Cross this Jordan River…”

And now comes the nudge, the divine push.

“In three days you will cross this Jordan.”

We usually have to be nudged or perhaps even shoved out of our paralysis as we face an uncertain shore. We may not like where we are or where we have been, but at least it’s familiar. We know these ruts, we’ve grown accustomed to these walls. We have an amazing capacity for nostalgia over even the worst of times and spaces.

Get up. Get going. Cross over.

I’m reminded of the Omaha Beach scenes from Saving Private Ryan, of green troops huddled behind obstacles amidst exploding and ricocheting shells, as Captain Miller pulled at the men around him to get moving for the simple reason that anyone who stayed there was a dead man.

Get up. Get going. Cross over.

To stay where we are is death and decay. To cross over is destiny.

And so God pushes and prompts his new man, his Joshua, in a personal charge laden with commands, imperatives, and promises; a charge he will then turn around and pass on to the other leaders around him and then to all the people. It’s time to get moving.

And so the charge comes to us – calling us out of the familiar and accustomed, out of personal and corporate ruts and embedded behaviors; calling us to get up, get going, and cross over to our own awaiting land of possibilities, dangers, and divine destiny.

Get up. Get going. Cross over.

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Posted by on December 31, 2011 in Joshua, musings, Old Testament


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