As we pause with the children of Israel who have now made it to the Jordan River, (See Joshua – Get Ready! Click on BLOG), let us reflect on the journey that these people have traveled for forty long years.
Can you imagine the excitement they must feel as they consecrate themselves for this momentous occasion? Remember that after Joshua and the spies of his day returned from their journey, the people were frightened and unwilling to go farther into the Promised Land. God told them
“In this desert your bodies will fall, every one of you twenty years old or more … except for Caleb and Joshua. Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness.” Numbers 14:29-30, 33
I’m thinking only the ones who had been 5 to 20 years-old would even remember leaving Egypt or the crossing of the Red Sea. These young ones would now have reached the age of 45 to 60. That means those who were now under 45 would have only known the desert.
I imagine that on this night, the grandpas and the fathers would have sat the younger ones down at dinner time to recall the past. I envision them talking about the hard life in Egypt as slaves, the plagues, and Moses’ leadership to bring them out of their bondage.
Then with excitement, they might retell the glory of God’s protection with the pillar of fire by night and the and the pillar of cloud by day. Excitement would build as the story-telling grandfather would speak of Pharaoh’s army storming across the desert behind them and the panic the people felt with a rushing sea in front of them–nowhere to go!
The children might be waiting for the climatic part of the story they had heard so many times, how Moses raised the staff and God parted the waters before them. The father might be nodding his head and getting caught up in the old story as well. He might recall, “And we walked across on dry ground while the waters were held back beside us!”
The patriarch of the family might remind the younger ones, “And now, the land just across this river before us is the very land that God promised us years ago, all the way back to our father Abraham.”
I imagine the fathers would have tears in their eyes as they realized that the promise is finally about to be fulfilled right before their eyes. Perhaps, even the children sense the awesome days that are before them.
We wait with them, reflecting on the wondrous way their lives will soon change. What will it be like? Will they have stone houses to live in? Do the younger ones even know about stone houses? What kind of food will they eat? All they have ever known is manna. This area is already so different from the hot desert. They see green palm trees, grass and a river. They feel cooler temperatures.
What more is in store?
~ Joyce ~