May 18, 2017

Joshua 3:15-16 Now the Jordan is in flood all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea ) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho.

This has always struck me as an enormously significant symbolic event. God arranged that it happen under the most dramatic circumstances, at flood stage, but this actually was the physically easiest for the priests carrying the ark. Because it was overflowing, they could step into the water without going down into the channel of the river. At the same time, no one could later claim that there had been a drought and the river was just a trickle. All of that, however, was just a matter of staging, so to speak. What really mattered was that the water stopped at a town called Adam. You can’t get any more explicit than that! The ark, representing God’s redemptive covenant with His people, was effective all the way back to Adam, the first man. Jesus came and died and rose again at a point in history, but His redemption is effective for everyone from Adam on down. We have trouble grasping that because we too are in the flow of time and see everything as past, present, or future. However, God being outside of time sees everything at once, so His acts are effective for all eternity. Physicists agree that time is a function of the material universe, speaking of “the space-time continuum,” so God, being Spirit rather than matter, is logically outside of time. We are spirits, but we inhabit material bodies and so have trouble, quite literally, thinking outside of that. Even if we can’t do it by human intellect, we need to accept by faith that God’s redemptive grace is effective for all time, past, present, and future, and so rejoice to serve Him in obedient gratitude.

I have thought about this issue perhaps more than most people, but even so I get stuck in temporal thinking. I need help grasping that though God’s miracles take place in time, they are not limited by time. That’s why, for example, when we prayed about finances one time when I was in seminary a check arrived in the mail almost immediately, but it had to have been mailed days before we prayed. That’s no problem for God! There are real limits to what my mind can wrap itself around, so I’ve got to accept that God’s smart and I’m not, and rest, relax, and rejoice in Him, knowing that if He could roll back history to Adam, nothing I need is any problem for Him at all.

Father, thank You for this reminder. I really look forward to when I will be outside of time with You, though I can’t really grasp at this point what that will be like. There are no words to paint such a picture! Help me indeed walk in obedient faith for as long as You have me in the flow of time, so that all of Your purposes for me may be fulfilled on Your schedule (!) for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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