The Promise of the Third Day
A few years ago, I felt the Lord unfold a verse in Micah in such a way that blew my mind a little bit. I pray that as this Easter weekend approaches, you will find the hope that is born of His promises in His Word:
"Remember your journey from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the righteous acts of the LORD." - Micah 6:5b
I invite you to dig deeper into the journey from Shittim to Gilgal with me...as it was the journey of the Israelites across the Jordan into the Promised Land. After the two spies that Rahab had hidden in Jericho had returned to Joshua and delivered the good news, the children of Israel departed from Shittim and lodged at the Jordan for three days. Then it was time. They would obey the Lord's instructions to follow the ark of the covenant being borne by the priests, and they would all cross the Jordan at floodstage on dry land. Upon their arrival (while the hearts of the kings of this new land melted for fear), they obeyed the Lord in nationwide circumcision. Gilgal - where the Lord "rolled away the reproach of Egypt" from them.
Shittim in the Hebrew - the acacia (from its scourging thorns);
- from the same as the word meaning to pierce
Gilgal in the Hebrew - a variation of the word meaning a wheel, a whirlwind; also dust (as whirled) - heaven, a rolling thing, wheel.
- from the root word meaning to roll - commit, remove, roll (away, down, together), run down, seek occasion, trust, wallow.
As I pondered the meanings of these words, I couldn't help but see the journey from Shittim to Gilgal as the journey from the cross to the resurrection. The journey from Christ being scourged and pierced to the rolling away of the stone covering the borrowed tomb. Jordan comes from a word that means to descend. We see a picture of the brutality of the cross, the death and descension of Christ into hell for us, and the resurrection as Israel crossed into the Promised Land.
Death is not the end for those who are hidden in Christ. We are buried with Him in baptism and raised into new life. We do not grieve as those without hope, because Death was defeated as the stone was removed for all to see the victory inside the empty tomb.
There is the promise of new life for those who put their faith in the One who died and was raised on the third day. Have you journeyed from Shittim to Gilgal yet? Have you believed that Jesus' suffering and victory are enough? I challenge you to take this journey if you haven't, and I challenge those who have to remember your journey. Remember when you crossed from death to life...there are so many who need to see the hope of His promise in you.
Father, thank You for bringing me across the Jordan with You. Thank You for the hope that is found in the death, burial and resurrection of Your Son. I believe, and I remember. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
1 John 3:14