The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Miracles of Yahweh: Parting the Jordan River


Unbelievers like to try and come up with logical explanations for the parting of the Red Sea in Exodus 14 and the crossing of the Jordan River in Joshua 3. In both cases, Yahweh parts a body of water to allow His people to cross through. If you hunt, you can find “scientific” documentaries that will try to write God out of these stories, giving the glory to freak tides or some natural damming event or strong winds that could have caused the water to part temporarily. But no, it was actually God performing miracles. And just to underscore His own magnificence, Yahweh throws in a fascinating little detail: in both cases, the Israelites walked across on dry land. Scientists can strain their brains to try and find some “natural” way to part waters, but none of them can explain away that dry dirt.

In Joshua 3-4, we find this thrilling sequence:

3:15 – The priests carrying the Ark step INTO the water.
3:16 – The water instantly stops flowing and starts piling up on itself a long ways upstream
3:17 – The priests walk out on DRY GROUND to the middle of the river bed and then they just stand there and wait while all the other people pass by.
4:4 – After everyone’s through, the priests are still standing there and Joshua sends men back to get rocks out of the middle of the dry river bed to carry as future monuments of this miraculous event
4:18 – Joshua finally tells the priests to finish crossing. As soon as the priests’ feet touch try ground, the water starts flowing again.

Yes, God is awesome.

Oh, and one more thing He’d like us to note: this all happened at a point when the river was at its peak flow, rising over its banks (4:18). Yahweh likes to show off, after all. He wants us to know He didn’t part some shriveled up brook, but a massive body of water.

When God does miracles in the Bible, it’s to exalt Himself. Joshua tells the people:

“Yahweh did this so all people would know that He has great power and so that you would always respect Yahweh your God.” (Josh. 4:24)

This means that anyone who sets out to explain some miraculous event in the Bible for any reason other than to point out God’s great power and urge others to revere Him is not someone we Christians want to listen to. Instead, we need to remember that:

“The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom…” (Prov. 1:7)

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