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ELIJAH: CROSSING THE JORDAN



Two men stood on the banks of the Jordan River: Elijah the prophet of God, and Elisha his successor. The year was B.C. 852. Joram (or Jehoram) reigned as king in Israel (2 Kings 1:17).


Eight centuries had passed since the Hebrew slaves had camped on the banks of the Red Sea. As they stood by the water’s edge, maybe Elijah and Elisha were reminded of the miraculous account of Israel’s rescue by their Great and Merciful God.


With the Egyptian army breathing down upon them, they were stuck between a rock and a hard place. Ahead of them was the Red Sea, an impenetrable barrier. Behind them the dust cloud raised by the advancing Egyptians spelled certain annihilation. Runaway brick-makers and slaves were no match for the ferocious military might of the world’s greatest army.


At God’s command, Moses spoke. “Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and see the Lord’s salvation that he will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians you see today, you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you must be quiet” (Exodus 14:13–14). As the fear-filled nation watched, “Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove the sea back with a powerful east wind all that night and turned the sea into dry land” (Exodus 14:21).


Forty years later, with Joshua at the helm, a new generation of Hebrews looked down the slope to the raging Jordan River, an impossible, impassible obstacle (Joshua 3:15). Build a bridge? Float a barge? Swim?


God’s word was clear. “Consecrate yourselves, because the Lord will do wonders among you tomorrow” (Joshua 3:5). In other words, get your heart right before you pack your bags.

Then, stand back and watch. From a “thousand yards” (Joshua 3:4) behind, the panoramic view must have been spectacular. The priests, carrying the Ark of the Covenant upon their shoulders, marched down the slope. When the tips of their toes dipped into the water, God did what only God can do. “The water flowing downstream stood still, rising up in a mass... The water flowing downstream into the Sea of the Arabah—the Dead Sea—was completely cut off, and the people crossed” (Joshua 3:16).


Now, remembering these earlier accounts, Elijah and Elisha stood on Jordan’s banks. Though they had never seen a great body of water split open, they knew the ancient stories of God’s greatness, and they were convinced that God was able. They believed that He could, and they trusted that He would!


“Elijah took his mantle, rolled it up, and struck the water, which parted to the right and left. Then the two of them crossed over on dry ground” (2 Kings 2:7–8). Hours later, Elisha returned alone. With Elijah’s mantle in his hands, Elisha “struck the water himself, and it parted to the right and the left, and Elisha crossed over” (2 Kings 2:14).


Are you staring at an impossible situation? There’s no way around it! There’s no easy answer! It’s impossible! “Trust in the Lordwith all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight”(Proverbs 3:5–6).