About this time last year, Dad obviously sensed some changes were about to happen for our church. He began a series called the Great Crossover which centered on Joshua and the Israelites finally crossing the Jordan to enter the Promised Land. It’s not a symbol of dying and going to Heaven, but rather a symbol of living fully in the blessings of God here. But it takes change. It takes trusting God. During the challenges we would face in the months ahead, God used this theme over again as a sustaining force.
Recently I came across the verses from that message again and saw something that blew me away. Here’s a synopsis of the text from Joshua 3:4-5:
…you have not passed this way before. And Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”
You haven’t passed this way. In other words, it’s new ground. It has been promised to you for 600 years, but you haven’t set foot there yet. The obstacle seems huge, but I’ve called you to pass through it.
So when reading over it, I noticed a note in my Bible about the word “passed.” It’s the Hebrew word abri, meaning cross over, and it turns out, it’s a very important word! It’s used more than 500 times throughout the Old Testament. When you say it out loud, you’ll realize it sounds similar to the word “Hebrew” itself. That’s because abri is how they got their name. Hebrews are the people who abri, the people who cross over. So crossing over is not just something God’s people do. It’s who we are. Yes! We’re made for this.
See, generations prior, their forefather Jacob crossed over that same Jordan river. In Genesis 32:10, he says: “I crossed over this Jordan with my (nothing but my) staff, and now I have become two companies.” Notice how crossing over was associated with multiplication. That’s what God wants for us!
And before Jacob was his grandfather Abraham, the man God told to get away from his people and from his father’s house and go to a land GOD would show him. He crossed over the Euphrates to obey God. He obeyed God in trusting for his son of promise. He obeyed God when he was willing to offer his son Isaac. Through his obedience, Abraham became the man through whom the whole earth can be blessed.
Galatians 3 outlines how all of us who believe God like Abraham are blessed like him. By trusting in Jesus, we, too, become people of the cross over. Looking back at Joshua, the people did indeed cross over the Jordan River, and they did it in miraculous style: God held back the waters upstream as a wall so that the people passed over on dry ground.
Just like the Red Sea before that, God cleared for them an impenetrable obstacle and made it irrelevant. Many other obstacles would stand in their way as they possessed the entirety of God’s promise to them, but God cleared every one. So the clearing of obstacles is God’s part. The trusting and the crossing over in the face of change is our part.
What obstacles stand before us today, or stand before you personally? Do you have a promise? Do you trust God enough to obey Him as he leads you into it? We will not be the ones who turn back in the wilderness, but ones who rise up in God’s power. We are the people who cross over.