The Lord said to Joshua, “This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, so that they may know that I will be with you as I was with Moses. You are the one who shall command the priests who bear the Ark of the Covenant, ‘When you come to the edge of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.’” Joshua then said to the Israelites, “Draw near and hear the words of the Lord your God.” Joshua said, “By this you shall know that among you is the living God who without fail will drive out from before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites: the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is going to pass before you into the Jordan. So now select twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. When the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan flowing from above shall be cut off; they shall stand in a single heap.” When the people set out from their tents to cross over the Jordan, the priests bearing the ark of the covenant were in front of the people. Now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest. So when those who bore the ark had come to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the edge of the water, the waters flowing from above stood still, rising up in a single heap far off at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, while those flowing toward the sea of the Arabah, the Dead Sea, were wholly cut off. Then the people crossed over opposite Jericho. While all Israel were crossing over on dry ground, the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, until the entire nation finished crossing over the Jordan.
Food for Thought:
When I read this passage of Scripture about the Ark of the Covenant, I think of the word holy. The Ark of the Covenant was a sacred chest described in the “Book of Exodus” as containing the tablets of stone in which the Ten Commandments were inscribed. For the Israelite people, the Ark of the Covenant became so sacred for them that they believed it was their connection to God. Today, I want you to ponder the word holy. What does it mean to be holy? In what ways have you felt especially connected to God? Is it through an object, another person, a special ceremony, or a sacred place? Think about a way that you can reconnect with God today.
O Holy God of Israel, you faithfully keep the promises you made to our ancestors and lead your people into the future, providing hospitality on the way. Help us, who inherit the pilgrim life, to journey faithfully at your command, that we may be a band of disciples called to be sojourners in your service. Amen.