Building Tombs and Garnishing Sepulchers

Today’s selected reading continues in the first epistle of the apostle Paul in the New Testament which was written unto the saints which were at Corinth. More specifically, today’s passage is found in verses nine through eighteen of the tenth chapter. As you continue reading the passage of Scripture you will find that it continues to build upon that which the apostle Paul had already written in the opening verses of the chapter. The tenth chapter of this first epistle written unto the Corinthian congregation speaks of the fathers of Israel who experienced deliverance from the Alavert and bondage of Egypt, as well as experienced the salvation of the Lord at the Red Sea when they passed through the waters on to the other side while their enemies attempted to pursue them in the midst of the Waters. It’s absolutely incredible that the same enemies and adversaries which attempted to pursue them into the waters of their salvation would find those very same waters to be their destruction. I have previously written of the work that takes place within and beneath the waters, and the account of the children of Israel at the Red Sea is a powerful example of the work which takes place within and beneath the waters. Once the children of Israel had passed through the waters of their baptism the Lord destroyed and devastated their enemies within and beneath those very same waters. The Lord looked down through the pillar of fire and saw the Egyptian army pursuing the children of Israel through the waters of their baptism, and He immediately went to work as He troubles the chariots and caused the wheels to come off them.

There at the Red Sea Moses made two distinct and powerful declarations unto the children of Israel concerning their encounter and showdown with the Egyptians. The first declaration Moses made unto the children of Israel was an invitation to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. The second declaration was one of victory and triumph for Moses would go on to declare that the enemies they saw on that day they would never see again. Isn’t it absolutely amazing that in seeing the salvation of the Lord we also see the destruction of our enemies. When we look upon and experience the salvation of the Lord we must also notice the removal of that which we saw prior to the salvation which He wrought. The children of Israel saw their Egyptian pursuers on the other side of the Red Sea, yet once they began to see the salvation of the Lord through baptism in the waters of the Red Sea, they would see the destruction of their enemies. The question I can’t help but ask and wonder is was the salvation of the Lord seen in their passing through the waters, or was the salvation of the Lord seen through the drowning and destruction of their enemies. Moses declared unto the children of Israel that they would see the salvation of the Lord and once he stretched forth his rod toward the sea two distinct realities occurred—the waters parted before the children of Israel, thus revealing the path beneath the waters, and once the children of Israel had safely traveled the path beneath the waters and arrived on the other side, the Lord would destroy their enemies within and in the midst of the waters.

The more I consider the account of the children of Israel at the Red Sea immediately after coming up out of the land of Egypt, the more I can’t help but consider two distinct realities that were indeed manifested on that fateful day. The first reality is that when you read the account of the children of Israel coming up out of the land of Egypt you will find that the Lord deliberately and intentionally did not lead the children of Israel up into and through the land of the Philistines—despite the fact that way was quicker. The reason for it is actually quite simple, for if the children of Israel entered in the land of the Philistines and encountered war within that territory, they might have shrank back in fear and returned to the land of Egypt. Instead of leading the children of Israel into and through the land of the Philistines, the Lord led the children of Israel through the desert toward the waters of the Red Sea. The question we must ask. Is why. Why would the Lord lead the children of Israel unto the Red Sea? What’s more, is why would the Lord lead the children of Israel unto the waters of the Red Sea and then harden Pharaoh’s heart in order that he would get himself up along with all his horses and chariots to pursue the children of Israel in the desert. I am convinced the answer to both of these questions lie in two distinct and unique realities—the one is the path that was concealed beneath the waters, the second is the work that was revealed in the midst of the waters. When we study and examine the children of Israel at the Red Sea we not only notice the path that was concealed beneath the waters when the waters parted, but we also notice the work that was manifested in the midst of the waters once all Israel passed through the waters to the other side. One thing we must recognize and understand is that the work that was to take place in the midst of the waters could not take place until and unless the path was first revealed, and the children of Israel chose to follow that path between the waters of the sea.

It’s worth noting and understanding that “the salvation of the Lord” which Moses spoke about when addressing the children of Israel contained two distinct elements, and one could not take place without and apart from the other. I am convinced “the salvation of the Lord” which Moses spoke about when addressing the children of Israel began with the revealing of the path that lie beneath the waters, and continued with the work which took place in the midst of the waters. I believe the children of Israel could not fully and completely experience the work which was to take place in the midst of the waters until the path concealed beneath the waters was first revealed, and their willingness to follow that path through the waters and unto the other side. There are many who would seek to experience the work beneath the waters—the work of the confusion and destruction and devastation of their enemies—yet they are not willing to follow the path that lie beneath the waters. I can’t help but be reminded of the account of the children of Israel after forty years of wandering in the wilderness had come to an end and they came unto the waters of the Jordan River. If you begin reading with and from the seventh verse of the third chapter of the Old Testament book of Joshua you will find and read the following words concerning the encounter the children of Israel had there at the Jordan River. Consider if you will the words, the language and the text as it is revealed in the Old Testament book of Joshua:

“And the Lord said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee. And thou shalt command the priests that bear the ark of the covenant, saying, When ye are come to the brink of the water of Jordan, ye shall stand still in Jordan. And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, Come hither, and hear the words of the Lord your God. And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites. Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan. Now therefore take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man. And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap. And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people; and as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the waters, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,) that the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city of Adam, that is beside Zairean: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho. And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan. And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the Lord spake unto Joshua, saying, Take you twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man, And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests’ feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night. Then Joshua called the twelve. Men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man: and Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of Jordan, and take ye up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel: that this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever. And the children of Israel did so as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones out of the midst of Jordan, as the Lord spake unto Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, and carried them over with them unto the place where they lodged, and laid them down there. And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests which bare the ark of the covenant stood: and they are there unto this day. For the priests which bare the ark stood in the midst of Jordan, until every thing was finished that the Lord commanded Joshua to speak unto the people, according to all that Moses commanded Joshua: and all the people hasted and passed over. And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over, that the ark of the Lord passed over, and the priests, in the presence of the people. And the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseth, passed over armed before the children of Israel, as Moses spake unto them: about forty thousand prepared for war passed over before the Lord unto battle, to the plains of Jericho” (Joshua 3:7-4:13).

There is an underlying reason why I choose to include the account of the children of Israel at the Jordan River when considering the children of Israel at the Red Sea. The reason for this is actually quite simple, for when speaking of the children of Israel at the Red Sea, the work that was to take place in the midst of and beneath the waters could not begin and conclude until and unless the path concealed beneath the waters was first revealed. What’s more, is that the work which was to take place in the midst of and beneath the waters could not take place until the children of Israel were willing to walk along the path which was concealed beneath the waters of the Red Sea. I continue to hold to the overwhelming concept that there are many of us seek to experience the work that is to take place in the midst of and beneath the waters of the Red Sea, and yet we aren’t willing to first allow the path beneath the waters to be revealed, and are willing to walk along that path. I can’t help but wonder what the children of Israel felt when they looked before them and saw the waters of the Red Sea divide before them with Moses’ arm stretched out over the waters with the rod of God in his hand. What’s more, is that I can’t help but wonder what the children of Israel thought and felt as they were passing through the divided waters of the Red Sea. Was there an element of fear, was there an element of concern, was there an element of doubt that filled their hearts as they wondered if those waters would suddenly come crashing down upon and all around them? The truth is that the children of Israel did in fact pass through the waters of the Red Sea on dry ground, and each and every one of them made it safely to the other side. I am completely and totally convinced that the path which the children of Israel were to travel—the path which began at Egypt—would not only lead them to the waters of the Red Sea, but it would also lead them through the waters of the Red Sea. The Lord deliberately and intentionally led the children of Israel to the waters of the Red Sea because even though they couldn’t see the path that lie beneath the waters which were before them—He most certainly did. It must be noted that as surely as the Lord can prepare a table before us in the presence of our enemies, He can also ordain a path for us to travel beneath the waters of our own Red Sea.

The account of the children of Israel at the Jordan River must be carefully considered in addition to, and in light of that which we read concerning the children of Israel at the Red Sea, for just as the work beneath and in the midst of the waters could not begin or be completed until the children of Israel had traveled the path in the midst of the waters, so also would the waters of the Red Sea not part until the soles of the feet of the priests rested in the waters of the Jordan. Each of the soles of the feet of the priests had to not only enter into the waters of the Jordan River, but they also had to rest within those very same waters in order for the waters to part before the children of Israel. What’s more, is that not only did the soles of the feet of the priests have to rest in the waters of Jordan, but they also had to remain in the midst of the waters—not only until all the children of Israel passed through to the other side of the River, but also until the work which was to take place in the midst of the waters, as well as on the other side of the waters. Just as the work in the midst of and beneath the waters could not begin or even be completed until the path beneath the waters was revealed, and the children of Israel traveled through that path to the other side of the sea, so also could the work of the parting of the Jordan not begin until the soles of the feet had entered into and rested in the waters of the Jordan. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this, for even thought Moses declared unto the children of Israel that if they stood still they would see the salvation of the Lord, the work of that salvation which would include the confusion and destruction of their enemies and adversaries could not commence until the path was revealed, and the path was traveled. THE PATH REVEALED, THE PATH TRAVELED! There was a work that was to take place in the midst of the waters of the Red Sea—namely, that the Egyptian horses and chariots with their riders would be overthrown in the midst of the waters. There was a work that was to take place in the midst of the waters of the Jordan River—namely, that the children of Israel select twelve stones and set them up as a memorial unto the Lord for parting the waters of the River.

The apostle Paul wrote and spoke of this baptism

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