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Feb 1, 2015

90 Day Challenge – Day 32

Sarah Christmyer

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Bible Time Period: Conquest and Judges

You led Israel triumphantly into the Promised Land.  They failed to teach their children, and instead did what was right in their own eyes: Help me to keep my eyes on you and teach others what is truly right.

Reflection

During the period of Desert Wanderings, which you have just finished reading about, Israel spent 40 years wandering in the desert after they failed to trust God to take them victoriously into the Promised Land.  Before moving on, it is worthwhile to note these words of Moses as he renewed God’s covenant with the people shortly before his death:

“Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is on Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.  And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children. … Take heed lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.  You shall not go after other gods, or the gods of the peoples who are round about you. … And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord, that it may go well with you, and that you may go in and take possession of the good land which the Lord swore to give to your fathers” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7, 12, 14, 18).

Will they remember?  Will they go after other gods?  And will they teach their children?  You will find out as you read the books of Joshua and Judges.

First, Joshua:   Over the next few days, you will read how Moses’ successor, Joshua,  leads Israel in the conquest of the Promised Land.  This first set of readings tells how they crossed the Jordan River.  While this river can be as narrow as 10-20 feet wide, it can swell to a mile wide during the spring flood stage – which it was at the time of their crossing (3:15).  As you read, consider how the “spy mission” described at the start differs from the one in Numbers 13.

Today’s Reading

Joshua 1-4

Today’s Question

God gives Israel a dramatic sign in chapter 3 that brings to mind their rescue from Egypt.  How would that sign reassure Israel – and what might it say to the people of Canaan?

Join the discussion below!

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  • Blessed be God for He is loving and merciful!

    Joshua states in chapter 3 one of the simplest yet beautiful comments, that is “Hereby you shall know that the living God is among you…” Joshua 3:10. That statement must have given the folks the extra incentive to believe in the Lord even more so. It must have been a bit scary for the families to cross over to the other side of the Jordan river. I could think of a couple of “What ifs” if I was a young parent, older adult, etc.
    However, the amazing part of this miracle was that they were following God. Could this be a symbol of people following the REAL God, not the false gods that cultures conjured up to appease their folks? The Canaanites must have taken pause and thought that this group of people are a people to be reckoned with because their God is oh so much greater than theirs! How sad to think that they could have looked at God’s powers with a inner sight but they were so content with their stations and earthly pleasures in life.
    Blessed be God for He is loving and merciful! Those words have now taken on a special meaning in my present life.

    • True pnkyB4brain, we praise God and blessed Him forever. This historical recording in the book of Joshua foreshadows Israel’s future spiritual “crossing over” to receive the eternal life-giving promises of God. Taking the land from their enemies will require strength and courage. Through their faith in God’s spoken promise, God will lead and deliver them from the enemy and grant them victory in their conquests.

      • Couldn’t you say the same for us? We have to make a physical cross over based on faith first…then a spiritual “crossover” when we receive the eternal life-giving promises of God as we…ie. Baptism, Marriage, Holy Orders, and Anointing of the Sick…especially when someone is dying…?

        • We’ll see to it, as commanded by Christ that all His teachings be obeyed and nothing is rejected. When someone is dying unbaptized, any baptized person can baptized him/her and die that can see God.

          • I was recently told by our Priest that in an emergency, anyone can baptize, even non-Christians. All anyone has to do is repeat the words. I baptize you in the name of the Father and in the Son, and in the Holy Spirit Amen. (I did not know this)

    • As I look out the window this morning, I see the snow that is again falling in our area. We are to get up to 6 in. of snow…what does this have to do with this reading? I believe in Blessed be God for He is loving and merciful!! as well. And need to heed the words of Moses to trust God and follow his whispers to me. I have felt the inclination to go to confession today, however with the weather the way it is I may be hindered from doing so. I guess I need to step out in faith, trusting God to see me through to get there and back safely as the roads will not be as readily plowed on a Saturday as they are on a weekday. In a small way, I am having to follow God’s promptings just as the Israelites did in Moses’ and Joshua’s time. Trusting in God that He will be in it as He has promised He would be.

      • Beverly: I think you should use your good judgment and re-consider risking bodily harm by going out in bad weather…Somehow I don’t think you really need to go to confession , pray, and trust God ,but do not test him Ray

        • I did do that…we had about 3 in. of snow…and the main streets were plowed. Was able to go, and am grateful for that. God nudged, and the weather has held…it is now snowing again.

      • It sounds as though God knew before you did that the roads would clear when He put that prompting in your heart! I don’t think He would want you to risk bodily harm. However, you showed your intent to be obedient and He does see that… It would be different if you ignored God out of laziness or indifference.

  • The history of Israel passing through the Jordan River into Canaan is a very memorable history. They were told to remember what God did for them so they may know the righteousness of the Lord. Joshua ordered them to march on the side of the river then the Divine power of God led them through it. They passed through the Red Sea unexpectedly, but before passing they were directed to follow the Ark; they were also commanded to sanctify themselves; and the Priest with the Ark are ordered to lead the van. Joshua is magnified and made the Commander-in-Chief. Jordan River is divided and Israel brought safety to it. This is the Lord’s doing and is marvelous in our eyes. Praise the Lord, Praise God, and Praise the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!!!

  • Crossing the Jordan River is a prophetic foreshadow of salvation to Jews and Gentiles. This foreshadow will be a most valuable piece of the big picture puzzle that will expand our perception of God’s plan for each Christian and the whole of mankind. Many times God orchestrated historical events to foreshadow future events for Israel. Since “salvation is from the Jews” (John 4:22), an integral part of the Abrahamic covenant, understanding the time of the Jews salvation forms a large piece of the big picture puzzle in the salvation history.

  • As soon as the priests carrying the Covenant Box of the LORD of all the earth stepped into the water of Jordan river, the water stopped flowing and the people walked across on dry land. This sign is similar to the time when Israelites crossed the Red sea on dry land. This sign certainly reassures the Israelites that the LORD is powerful and stands by them all the time. The people of Canaan surely would have trembled with fear listening to acts of the mighty LORD of the Israelites. I feel this sign is a warning to the people of Canaan that LORD will help his people to conquer their land.

    • Mark if I may add that crossing the Jordan River is a second miracle that will bring tremendous fear of Canaanites. The Canaanites knew all along what happened to the Red Sea in Israel’s crossing by the mighty power of their God, how much more now for the second time miracle event at the Jordan? Canaanites must have been all reduced exceedingly terrified or terrorized with fear and trembling.

  • Having spent forty years in the wilderness because of the previous generation’s doubt and unbelief in God’s promise to deliver the Promise Land into their possession, Joshua, Caleb and the next generation of believers are ready once again to take possession of the Promise Land. During the forty years Israel has spent in the wilderness, this generation was prepared by God for this purpose.

  • I have noticed one great difference in the two miraculous crossings. At the Red Sea, Moses raised his staff and God rolled back the waters. At the Jordan, the men carrying the Ark of the Covenant stepped into the water before God rolled back the water. The priests had to get their feet wet! God today allows us to participate in miracles, but we must “get our feet wet”.

    • Yes, Lisa! Reminds me of the adage: Put our faith in our feet and get moving! If the laity were allowed to step up and would also be courageous in sharing our gifts and talents, perhaps the priests would be freed to actually get their feet wet more often, outside the confines of the parish property. These studies/forums should be efficacious tools in promoting the New Evangelization.

  • Despite having completed Jeff Cavin’s Bible Timeline I was “surprised” in chapter 3 by the Jordan river wall that God created that allowed the Arc of the Covenant to be carried across and also providing safe passage for His people. This time I pray it sticks. Surely the Caananites were trembling with fear from this sign that God was present for His chosen people. For me the tone of this lesson was set in JS 1:9 “be strong and sreadfast! Do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord, your God, is with you wherever you go.” God delivered on that promise to Joshua and it gives me something to focus on when facing challenges.

  • When reading of this miracle my thoughts were about thr Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, When the Levites carries the Arc of the Covenant into the Jordan the waters parted. When Jesus stepped into the Jordan to be Baptized by John the Baptist the Heavens parted

    Matthew 3:13-17

    13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16 And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

    The Arc of the Covenant led the Israelites into the Promised Land . Jesus led us into the Promised Kingdom (Heaven)

  • This generation of Israelites, as reflected by the spies sent in to Canaan, seems much more trusting in God and willing to follow His directives than the previous generation. Their willingness is rewarded by God in the parting of the waters of Jordan. God certainly does remove even overwhelming obstacles from our lives when we trust and remain faithful. This movement across the Jordan reflects the inevitable trek into a new and dramatic reality for God’s people, and the crossing itself serves as a pointed reminder of God’s faithfulness to His covenant promises.

    • When God chose us and we become fruit bearing those fruits catch attention of envy and temptation so God testing and trials on us increased considerably.

    • The difference between the two might indicate that perhaps they did learn something during those 40 years of wandering.

  • The crossing of the river Jordan must have been a real eye-opening blessing for many of the Israelites as they shared in the reality of their ancestors who crossed the red sea. I can only imagine the effects on some who may have grown weary or weak on the journey. Throughout the 40 years in the wilderness, it seems that when God provided manna, water and victories, it was in answer to complaints, here no one complains and God provides for them.

    I read the other comments with great interest, especially about us getting our feet wet in going forth to evangelise and I agree. My thoughts went down a different route. I thought about some of the ways that the Church wets the feet of the priests e.g. Holy Orders, learning and living the faith, service and providing spiritual guidance. Because of this, I don’t have to wade through deep or wide waters or swim against the current, if I chose to belong to, and follow the Church.

    On an aside, I particularily like the words in Joshua 1:5 and 1:9 “As I was with Moses, I will be with you: I will not leave you nor forsake you.” and “Do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD, your God, is with you wherever you go.” It takes me back to a difficult time when I was begging God not to leave me as I was struggling and the words “I will never abandon you” seemed to come from nowhere. That promise comforted me beyond measure because God is the only perfect certainty in this world. Now I beg God, never to let me leave or turn from Him again.

    • Hidden in the Manna today is the mystery in the Eucharist that nourish our soul through out our journey to heaven.

  • It is with great hope that God parts the water for this generation. In his mind, he holds strong to the hope that this generation follows his word and does not go off course spiritually. This generation of Canaanites, probably hearing the story of the previous generation witnessing the parting of the red sea, must be frightened with awe to see it happening rather than just hearing about it. It truly speaks to the power of our God. When I think of my life I realize the many times God has parted the waters for me when I needed it and when I was faithful to him. I am sure there are many times I missed his “parting the water” because I was preoccupied with worry or anxiety. I hope going forward I am able to fully trust and find peace in God and realize all of those times that he parts the waters for me. God Bless you all.

    • The parting of the water today is His grace bountiful poured on us. What does grace do? We have two kinds of grace, sanctifying grace and actual grace. Sanctifying grace stays in the soul. It’s what makes the soul holy; it gives the soul supernatural life. More properly, it is supernatural
      life. Actual grace, by contrast, is a supernatural push or encouragement. It’s transient. It doesn’t live in the soul, but acts on the soul from the
      outside, so to speak. It’s a supernatural kick in the pants. It gets the
      will and intellect moving so we can seek out and keep sanctifying
      grace.

  • I thought it was interesting how the two men who were sent to spy out the land told Rahab to tie a crimson cord in her window so they would know to protect her when they attacked. Reminded me of the blood on the doorposts during the Passover.

  • God assured Joshua, ”as I was with Moses, so I will be with you” (Joshua 3:7). I love the symbolism of the twelve priests, one from each of the twelve tribes of Israel, carrying the ark of the covenant. And what a dramatic sign, indeed… the waters of the Jordan ceased to flow, ensuring safe passage for the Israelites.

    It’s amazing to me… I never used to be able to get into reading the Old Testament, it always used to seem like a bunch of boring history to me. But hidden in between all the rites and rituals are some precious gems that stand out and sparkle, their message just as relevant to you and me today.

    When I was going through a tough time, the Lord’s promises in Joshua 1:5-9 became a beacon of light and hope to me.

    “As I was with Moses, I will be with you: I will not leave you nor forsake you.”

    I only had to follow these simple instructions:

    “Be strong and steadfast, being careful to observe the entire law which Moses my servant enjoined on you. Do not swerve from it either to the right or to the left, that you may succeed wherever you go. Do not let this book of the law depart from your lips. Recite it by day and by night, that you may carefully observe all that is written in it; then you will attain your goal; then you will succeed.”

    I became starved for the Word of God, and started my routine of daily morning study and prayer. Though my situation seemed hopeless, I would begin every morning reciting these words:

    “Be strong and courageous. Do not frightened or discouraged, for the Lord, your God, is with you wherever you go.”

    I’m a firm believer that what you speak becomes reality, and that’s why now I always try to speak positive and encouraging words. And as I repeated Joshua 1:9 over and over again, every day for at least a year, I DID become strong. And God WAS (and still is) with me, wherever I go.

  • To the people of Israel it is a renewal-history repeats itself. Here, there is a new leader, and the second generation are new people, who did not witness the first miracle of the parting of the water. God shows he is still with Israel and their leader, Joshua, as he was with Moses. This is a covenant refreshed and renewed by God and let the people know they have not been abandoned but all that was promised and foretold will come true. The time of wandering is over. He wished them also to learn that they could do nothing by their own strength and numbers, and that it was only by His help they could attain to the Promised Land.

    As for the Canaanites, this would be a fearful moment for them who already “trembled with fear” (Joshua 2:4). The pagans confined the power of their idols to certain districts, whereas the power of the true God is infinite. The fact that the earthly and heavenly bodies obeyed the command of Joshua, the servant of God, ought to have proved to them that the God of Israel was infinitely more powerful than their self-made deities which, far from being able to help them, were compelled to help their enemies.

  • I use Bible gateway to read these passages, todays quote of the day is: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.Deuteronomy 6:4-5 NIV

    this is also what Sarah put in the reflection for today, day 32. God is good! He clearly wants me to hear this today! Help me to live your word O Lord.

    • This is a daily prayer for me. However, many days it comes out as, “Jesus, I love You, with all my heart, all my mind, all my soul, and BEYOND my strength”. But I also remember Joshua 1:9 “Be strong and courageous… for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go”.
      My body doesn’t have the stamina that it used to, but my mind refuses to accept this. My motto has become, “I’m gonna be tired anyway, so I might as well get something accomplished!”

    • I think of the Trinity when you mention—“Our Lord our God is One.” God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as we know, Infinite, All Good, All High, All powerful, Endless Love which means loving him above all things and neighbor as self. With God, we will want to tell others about Him. St. Francis would say going from place to place, speak if necessary, but mainly by good example. Loving God with heart, mind, and soul and loving Him above all. When I think of the Trinity, I think of God with no beginning and no end. It is a mystery and hard to comprehend. And like you said and reminded me again, that “the Lord is One” and yet, God is Three Divine Persons. Every time, we pray–“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” it is good like you have quoted from Deuteronomy to think of God as One.

      • What is not to love about St. Francis? : ) So much wisdom in a unique package appreciating God’s creation as a way of life.

  • Joshua 1:9 appeals to me in today’s reading because it assures me that God is with me, I need not be afraid or discouraged, I only need to concern myself with serving Him in complete truth and sincerity. As of today by the grace of God, i would implore this verse into my everyday life and in every action I tend to take, I will go in believing that God is with me and would never forsake me. Also its amazing how the spies sent to Jericho came trusting that God had already delivered the people of Canaan into their hands , this was quite different from the earlier 10 spies sent by Moses, who distrusted and also led the Israelite to distrust God also.

    Once again God shows that he is indeed the Lord and God of all the earth by letting the isrealite cross the Jordan on dry feet. Asides making the people know that He is with Joshua, He also assures them that He is amongst them and would never depart from them. I see the crossing of Jordan as God helping me through my life challenges, He parts the river for me to wade though to my solutions and peace. I really need to trust God in all times, good and bad an firmly believe that He lives in and around me.

    Finally I may not keep memorial stones to remind me of God’s blessings, but when I see people in want and need, the less privileged, homeless, sick and people in war-torn countries, I am reminded that I am blessed to be where I am today. Rather than complain, I should put forward a helping hand to ease the pain of people around me

  • Anthony has answered the question beautifully; I have nothing to add there. But God’s challenge to me is always to ask myself what is he trying to say to me in Holy Scripture?

    He tells me that He is a jealous God. He does not want me to idolize other gods such as wealth, power, self-involvement, material possessions, etc. That will only lead to destruction. But with focus on my Lord, turning my will over to His plan for my fulfillment through focus on how I use my resources for others’ benefit, I too may pass over into the Promised Land.

    I also am reminded in Joshua 1-4 that God loves his people so much that He provides for their needs. He will punish those who do not trust nor follow Him. But He also has great mercy to forgive and care for those who love Him. I love my Lord, but need to do so much more for others so that my love for God can grow.

  • God assured Joshua, “As I was with Moses, I will be with you: I will not leave you nor forsake you” (Joshua 1:5). All the people had to do was follow His instructions (Joshua 1:6-9). God gave them a sign which would remind them of the time that Moses parted the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21). This point is more poignant because the priests were carrying the ark of the covenant. They were instructed to “break camp and follow it, that you may know the way to take, for you have not gone over this road before…” Joshua continued, “By this you will know that there is a living God in your midst” (Joshua 3:3-4,10). The ark crossed the Jordan before them, and the waters ceased to flow, allowing the priests and the entire nation of Israel to cross the Jordan on dry ground. I think the message here to the Canaanites is that Israel worshipped the one true God and was under His protection.

    This reminds me of when I moved into my new home a couple years ago. I have a brass crucifix. As I walked in the door, I carried the crucifix in front of me, allowing Him to enter first.

    The message to us today: We must “carry the ark of the covenant” in our hearts, always allowing the Lord to take the lead as we travel those unfamiliar roads.

    “Do not let this book of the law depart from your lips. Recite it by day and by night, that you may carefully observe all that is written in it; then you will attain your goal; then you will succeed.” (Joshua 1:8)

    • How awesome that you held the crucifix before you as you entered your new home! Do you know the song “Father, I adore you. I lay my life before you. How I love you” It continues ..with “Jesus”… and then with “Spirit”. I sing this when I am driving in the car. I added a 4th verse…”Mary, I implore you. Keep me always before you. How I love you.” It gives me peace, strength and confidence, and the awesomeness of their love and guidance as I go through my day.

  • My sentiment may not be a popular one but I still need to express my opinion about Rahab. Please forgive me for thinking this way and I know she has saved a of Jews but I am disconcerted that Rahab willfully betrayed the people she lived with. I know they were pagans who need to be destroyed but wasn’t she one too? Didn’t she live with them all this time? She actually lived through the slaughter of her fellowmen and did not seem to be affected at all. She even mentioned they trembled of fear for the jews so why throw a cowering population to the slaughter? Will someone please explain to my why her act is supposed to be heroic when it meant the destruction of her own people. It’s like praising Judas for betraying Christ because after all he had to do it so that we may be saved. I am asking this question without malice but with really the intent of trying to figure out why I should like her.

    • This is a great sentiment, one that I feel over and over again. Kill ALL the people? Women, children, animals? But then we read and learn. I must agree I still never say “Oh thats better now I get it”, but I do come to understand things in a different light. Let me try to explain the best I learned.

      Rahab might have been formerly addicted to pleasure, though she might at this time be very discreet, being awakened by the account of the miracles which God had wrought in favor of his people, who, she knew, were approaching to take possession of the country. She obviously manifests her belief in the God of Israel and begs mercy for herself and her father’s house in return for the mercy she has shown to the spies. If you look to Hebrews 11:31 you will see her people were disobedient, therefore she did not perish with them. She expressed faith in God’s plan to deliver Jericho to Israel (Josh 2:9–11)

      I can equate this to a person watching “America’s most wanted” and seeing someone from her neighborhood on the show. She lives in the same area with that person but that person is in trouble (Disobedient to God as well as society). Does she call in, knowing there may a good chance they will find this person anyway, or does she mind her business? It is in these moments God is with us, and we can hear His voice and either do “the right thing”, or we have the freewill to spurn Him and do nothing.

      One other thing: She was so far from intending to do an injury to any one, that she consulted the welfare both of her guests and of her countrymen, who, if they had detected the spies and committed murder, would have thus brought greater destruction upon themselves, as they could not escape the wrath of God.

      Again, just my interpretation. Enjoy your Sunday 🙂

    • Great Question! I think that she was a hero because she risked her life, and probably the lives of her whole family to “do good for the one true God”. I think if she were caught, she would have suffered a very brutal death. In this case, her fellowmen had no possibility of being “saved”. They were a corrupt, depraved, pagan culture. A wicked city that was about to be destroyed by God, similar to Sodom. She certainly lived in that society, but “in her heart”, was not one of them.
      I think that whether she was actually a harlot/prostitute or not would make no difference to God/Jesus, as long as she followed: Go forth and sin no more(John 8:11).
      This is not a catholic source, but seems to be a good writeup about her:
      http://www.ucg.org/faith/profiles-faith-rahab-harlot-heroine
      Here is one excerpt:
      “The whole city had received news about the miraculous events and conquests of the wandering nation of Israel, yet Rahab was the only resident of Jericho who resolved to fear and obey Israel’s God. This she did even before she had the opportunity to interact with the spies from Israel. Although the Canaanites had many gods, she had enough understanding to realize that the God of Israel was no ordinary Canaanite deity.”

    • That is a good question. I don’t know if she was just trying to save herself and family from what she feared the Israelites destruction would bring. Maybe it wasn’t fear….maybe she really believed that the Israelites were God’s chosen people and her heart wanted to be with them. She might have realized that Israel’s God was the “true” God, even though she did not yet know Him. Bottom line, though, is that God “chose” her for this role, and her heart prompted her to do it, and she followed through. We do not always understand why God chooses who He chooses for His purposes.

  • These first few chapter, most especially the end of chapter three and all of chapter four bring, but amazement of God’s miraculous moments. As people crossed over the dry land while crossing the Jordan had to be such a mind-blowing experience to them all. How could one not know how great the powers of God’s faith is truly amazing. In closing of chapter four summarizes life, ” in order that all the peoples of earth may learn that the hand of the Lord is mightily, and that you may fear the Lord, your God, forever.”

    God has saved me so so many times of which I am greatly thankful of. He is amazing! How my heart continues for a deeper and deeper loving ratio ship with Him. Amen!

  • Beautiful reflects by you all today, I have learned a lot by reading your comments. The parting of the Jordan is akin to the parting of the Red Sea; however, this new generation did not walk through the Red Sea as they escaped from Egypt. This new generation would have heard stories of the Red Sea but I am curious if they would have had the same impression of the parting of the Jordan and Joshua and Caleb who would have departed Egypt – would the message to the new generation be too subtle, to symbolic for those crossing to truly understand the power and wonder of their Lord?

    • I am tempted to say the first Impression wasn’t that good because they sinned again right away, as well as complained and ‘grumbled’. It ultimately landed them to wandering. i suggest the 40 years of wandering made a bigger impression, after all, they surely didn’t want that again. I can almost hear God saying “Now look! I’m only going to this ONE more time!” 😀

  • The parting of the waters at Jordan are truly a good sign that God again will save the people, even though in this case they are not being pursued and hunted by Egyptians. It is a sign that God is warning the people to maintain their faith in Joshua as they did with Moses, and they will be helped through any obstacles. I like that Joshua is confident and never doubts the directions God presents, and the symbolism of the twelve stones as they are placed to remind all future generations what God has done to finally bring the people to the Promised Land. This reminder of the event alone has to say a lot for the people of Canaan.

    • Like the crossing of the Red Sea on dry land with the pursuing Egyptians later to be engulfed in waves and chariots in mud with the returning waters, life to one people, and death to another people, the crossing of the Jordan River was also on dry land. Baptism is a death to sin and a renewal to new life with the forgiveness of Adam’s and Eve’s disobedience in the Garden where we began our story. The Twelve Stones as you so beautifully talked about are a symbol of what God has given to the Israelites as a reminder of his saving action and so too, the twelve tribes point us to the New Testament number of the Twelve Apostles who are with Christ as the center, the establishment of his Kingdom of Heaven on this earth, the beginnings of it. “Eye has not seen or ear heard what God has prepared for those who love Him” (Corinthians 2:9). The Israelites got a taste of heaven in the Promised Land and those who did not want to go any further at first did not know what they were missing. We get only glimpses of what the wonderment of heaven is. This life is short and fleeting. For a time, we may think that something or someone may make us happy but it too is not permanent compared to what God has prepared for us. (God does give us on this earth a vocation of singleness, marriage, or religious life–yet, isn’t everyone called to be religious and live in joy and peace!) The Church reminds us throughout the day when church bells are rung to say the Angelus to focus our minds, hearts, and souls upon the Incarnations of Jesus as the angel of the Lord declares unto Mary and she conceived by the Holy Spirit and next, she acknowledges that she is the “handmaid of the Lord” and freely gives her consent that the Word of God be done unto her according to His Word and lastly, thus, the Word of God is made flesh within her being and also, dwells among us. It is a meditation and focus on the Lord, saying the Hail Mary after each salutation before the Hail Mary with a concluding prayer to ask God to pour His grace into our hearts by the Incarnation of Jesus, His Passion and Death, and lastly his Resurrection. Like the Israelites of Old, we too are invited with Mary to enter the Promised Land. Sometimes I find that there might be something else that may hinder me remembering to pray more during the day. Yet, we can think of God during the day no matter what we are doing. The Moslems too have set aside times for prayer during the day and I am not talking about the Terrorist Moslems for God does not condone wanton and violent actions upon the innocent. It is good, I find to pray throughout the day like saying, “Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Or, Jesus, I trust in you” or the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. Or any prayer, no matter how small or long, to offer as a prayer our daily actions to God, trials, sufferings, and tribulations as well. And at the end of the day, one does well, as St. Ignatius teaches us, to examine what we did during the day and how we have brought others closer to God by our deeds and words, acts of kindness, corporeal works of mercy, spiritual works of mercy, and so forth. “Lord Jesus, teach me to pray.” The Our Father, the Lord’s Prayer can not be overdone. And we must not forget our meal prayers, even in restaurants, our Act of Contrition, our Guardian Angel prayer throughout the day to ask for protection and guidance. And so much more…

      • Mike, sorry it’s late, but this morning I took the time to read again and reflect on your wonderful post and words of wisdom. It is the wonder of knowledge I gain from so many thought provoking and awe-inspiring spirituality, from so many of posts. Yours is well-appreciated. Thanks.

  • God reinforces that he is with them by the miraculous crossing. It reminds me of the song-“Wade in the Water.” They had to get their feet wet. We have to move, not just sit but test what the Lord is saying to us. Test to be able to hear his word. Previous discussion, Carla shared about being confronted by Satanist. I will pray for her.

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