Tuesday, January 9, 2018

South on Route 90

Just returned from Israel and yes - all that it was supposed to be- and more! Hopefully this will be the first of many posts on the subject.  I will get more personal at a later post to address the wonderful people that I went with, but not wanting to lose some of the thoughts that came with this adventure, I will begin with Route 90.

There are a few thoughts that haunt me in life.  One I have held for about twenty years, or so.  When the Allenby Bridge was opened in 1994 near Jericho allowing traffic to move from Israel across the Jordon River to the land of Jordon itself, I thought that if I were living there, it would be more than satisfying to cross over and stand where Joshua and the armies of Israel actually stood waiting to invade the land. Well, more than satisfying is nice, but haunting is still the operative word.  Let's fast-forward twenty-plus years to day five on the trip. 

We are in the north of Israel looking at the Golan Heights to the left, Lebanon to the right and driving south on route 90. Later on to our left are the mountains of Ammon and Moab with the Jordon River separating us. Soon I hear our guide announce that Jericho is on our right with Mt. Nebo on our left.  Nebo, Ammon and Moab;  Moses conducted warfare in those mountains and mustered his troops for the invasion of Canaan!  He would soon turn the authority over to Joshua for such a task.  We come to the northern tip of the Dead Sea.  A short time later we stop and opportunity to float in the Dead Sea is offered. Several take advantage of such.

While watching the activities, our guide walks up and stands next to me.  We are alone.  Surely, this is a God thing.  Surely there is a least one person on the planet that understands the enormity of the moment besides myself.  We are gazing across the Dead Sea observing Nebo, Ammon and Moab!  I speak: "OK, we just passed Jericho; Nebo is at the top of that mountain range, and down the far slope on the other side dwelt the Ammonites and the Moabites. We are actually observing the area where Joshua led the armies of Israel down this side of the mountain  in order to cross the Jordon River and to surround the city of Jericho with the purpose of destroying that city and conquering all of Canaan on both sides of the Jordon."  "Correct?", I ask.  "Correct", he responds -  Thank you very much. Twenty-some years of frustration have been removed from my shoulders. I drank in the scene.

OK, let's see what it must have been like approximately 3500 years ago.  Route 90 is a dirt path. We are Canaanite dwellers in the walled city of Jericho looking south on dirt path 90. We are in the midst of Canaan with the Philistines on our right. To our immediate left is the Jordon River as it drains in to the Dead Sea.  Across that river is the long mountain range where the Ammonites and the Moabites live, "but there are terrifying reports that a huge army is conquering everybody in sight on the other side of that range and they are headed our way".  In Southern California there are two mountain ranges that dovetail each other; the San Gabriel's and the San Bernardino's. Between those two ranges armies could pour into the valley and conquer.  It looked a little like that to me.  There was a gap observable to the inhabitants of the city where they could observe the armies of the living God pour through as they covered the plain between that range and the river that protected them.  How frightening that scenario must have been!

The peoples have heard, they tremble; Anguish has gripped the inhabitants of Philistia. Then the chiefs of Edom were dismayed; The leaders of Moab, trembling grips them; All the inhabitants  of Canaan have melted away. Terror and dread fall upon them; By the greatness of your arm they are motionless as stone; Until your people pass over, O LORD, Until the people pass over whom You have purchased. You will bring them and plant them in the mountain of Your inheritance, The place, O LORD, which You have made for Your dwelling, The sanctuary, O LORD, which Your hands have established. The LORD shall reign forever and ever.
God promised that He would send hornets before them (Exod. 15:14-18).
I thought of a typology at that time.  Moses passed the anointing on to Joshua (Yehoshua) to complete the conquest.  He did his job (however imperfectly).  Canaan was filthy and corrupt beyond redemption.  It was that way before, was that way then, has been that way for all of history and is that way to this day.  Never will there not be Canaan in this World. There will soon be a day when the Father will tap the Son (our Joshua - Yeshua Jesus) on the shoulder and free Him for the task of returning to this Canaan and to end it all; a task that He was born for and that He died for.  The typology will be complete.
And the sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.  And the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come; and who is able to stand?"
(Rev. 6:14-17)
A called-out people remain to be rescued and redeemed. The Canaanites of the world will be properly put in great fear.  Perhaps it would be nice if the redeemed were just a little bit more sobered by the sum of it all.

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