When the Israelites crossed the Jordan River to enter the land God promised them, it wasn’t just about giving them new land. It was about a new way to live. They walked through a Heaven-dried Jordan riverbed following the Ark of the Covenant to remind them of Who led them into their new life, Who kept His promise, Who freed them. Who fed them.
No, this was not about new land. This was about new life.
Our journey to the cross parallels their journey in so many ways. We have been released from a slavery that we adjusted to rather well. Self-determination is its own Egyptian slavery, but it is slavery of our own making. It made us fear more, duped us into believing we had more control than we did, made us blame others for our own bad choices and refused to call anything that was our best effort, sin, even when it turned out badly.
Then, we confronted some crisis of understanding, some turn of heart, or some hunger that would not go away; we sought God with a new authenticity. When we did, it was as if God took the scales off the eyes of our heart to help us see with blunt accuracy the hole we had dug ourselves into.
God was the One who sent the rope to pull us out.
We stand shoulder to shoulder with the Israelites when Joshua announced God’s word to them, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” (Joshua 5:9)
It is a forceful image, the slavery to a cruel task-master rolling away like a mound of snow that balls and picks up speed and mass on a downhill, gravity-fed plunge. Rolled away. As far as the east is from the west.
When we come to this place of new beginning with God, we live in promised land. We think differently, choose differently, relate differently because God rolled away what made us depend on our own devices.
This journey to the cross reminds us to make sure we are living in promised land and not the places of our own manufactured dreams. Nothing we can achieve without God’s new life is as good as what we can do when God “rolls away” the “reproach” of every thought, experience, or perspective that enslaved us in a life God never intended we live. In other words, we don’t have to live with ghosts of the past. God sent them rolling away when you said “yes” to His way of living. We can remember them new, too. We can remember a cleared away path we walked through to new life and new beginnings.
Today, if for any reason you have lost your footing in the new life God promised you, use sabbath for God’s restorative purpose. Confess your need. Turn around. Face the cross. Everything you need to live the promise is there.
If you understand what
God has rolled away
in your life,
you will be better prepared
to celebrate something else
that was rolled away!
Scripture to Guide your Way to the Cross . . .
Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you. Joshua 5:9
Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! Psalm 32:1-2, NLT
Do you experience joy because all is forgiven, or have you misunderstood forgiveness as a one-time gift?
Do you live with complete honesty before God because of what he “rolled away” from your life?
Therefore, let all the godly pray . . . you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory. Psalm 32:6a, 7
I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Psalm 32:8