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!