At least 10 times. That’s about how many times the Bible refers to the three incidents in which people crossed through rivers or […]
Published on: 10-01-2019
At least 10 times. That’s about how many times the Bible refers to the three incidents in which people crossed through rivers or seas on dry land. The Israelites crossing the Red Sea, Joshua and the Israelites crossing the Jordan at the end of the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, and, many centuries later, the prophets Elijah and Elisha at the Jordan. Dry land. Not soft, mushy, sticky stuff that you would expect having just been under water. But dry land.
I must admit that those words “on dry land” have impressed me just as much as, if not more than, the fact that God parted the waters in the first place. Parting the waters was a big miracle, I will not deny that. But instantly drying up the ground in order to give those crossing a sound footing? That’s the “Wow!” factor in these miracles.
The God of Details
But it’s more than just awe-inspiring. It’s reassuring and encouraging. The same God who looks at the big picture takes care of the details. If He did that in these three instances, then He was perfectly capable of doing it in some other very important events.
First, there’s creation. It’s a hot topic in many circles—including Adventist circles. Some people would like us to believe that something or someone may have set all this in motion, but then, like an absentee landlord, walked off and let it run its course. That doesn’t make sense.
That would be like parting the waters, then letting the Israelites, or Elijah and Elisha, slog through the mud to their destination. God isn’t like that, because again and again the Bible assures readers that they crossed “on dry land.”
Second, there’s the matter of worship. God didn’t give some vague command about worshipping Him whenever and however. He was very specific. He wants us to spend the seventh-day Sabbath with Him. He wants us to serve Him by blessing others—including also on the Sabbath day (Isa. 58). Our God is a God of details. I like someone who not only sees the bigger picture but also focuses on the details.
Third, there’s the matter of salvation. God made it very clear that salvation comes through His Son. Period. That forgiveness is a free gift. Period. We don’t have to slog through the mud of self-redemption to reach the other side of the Jordan or the Red Sea. God “parted the waters” through the death of His Son on the cross. Then He dried up the land by having Christ rise from the dead. If God can do that for Jesus—raise Him from the dead—then we can be sure that He is planning something equally spectacular for His children, both dead and alive, who wait for Jesus’ return.
He Truly Cares
To get even closer to home, the same God who did all of the above surely cares about the details of our everyday lives. For some people, that idea is incomprehensible. They’re willing to give God credit for taking care of the big things (like parting the waters), but the little things are too inconsequential for Him. They feel that we have to muddle through the mud on our own.
Nonsense. To God there is no big or little thing in the lives of His children. They’re all equally important. The same God who provides breath and life for us moment by moment can help us make it through the daily ups and downs.
He’s there when we lose a loved one, or our job, or our home. He’s there when we lose our keys, or a contact lens, or an important document. He’s there when we cannot see how to make it through the next chemo therapy session or radiation treatment, or stretch the money to reach the end of the month. He is there when we struggle to reach out to our marriage partner or feel deeply hurt by those around us.
Sometimes He waits until the eleventh hour to take us through “on dry land.” But that’s not because He’s incompetent or impotent. Sometimes it’s like the angel telling Daniel that it took three weeks to answer his prayer because he—the messenger—had been contending with the prince of the kingdom of Persia all that time (Dan. 10:13). Sometimes certain events have to line up just right before we can see the fulfillment of God’s plan. I have experienced that personally on more than one occasion.
The point is that while we are waiting for God not only to part the waters but to dry up the land, we have to wait in faith. We stretch our faith muscles and exercise trust. That’s the bottom line. Unfortunately, Adam and Eve failed the trust test, along with millions of other people since then. But we can reverse the damage done by lack of trust if, by the grace of God, we determine from this moment forward to keep holding on. The God who created the universe, then separated the waters and the dry land during Creation week, is the same God who can see us through today on dry land.