“If you have run with the footman and they have tired you out,
then how can you compete with horses?
If you fall down in a land of peace,
how will you do in the pride of the Jordan?”
Let’s recall history for a moment, a portion of Jeremiah the Prophet and Priest’s story….
Jeremiah the prophet was the son of Hilkiah, priests in Judah, living in Anathoth of the land of Benjamin (Jer 1:1). Jeremiah’s life was an insignia of God’s jealous love for the northern and southern tribes (Jer 33:20-22). He knew Jeremiah before he was born (Jer 1:5) and sent him to earth right on time for the international shifting of eras, placing him above kingdoms and nations (Jer 1:10).
Jerusalem refused to love God, forsaking Him they sacrificed to false gods and worshipped the work of their hands (Jer 1:16). This young priest received his life commission and assignment directly from God to confront such a forsaking, and to give directives on how to survive the unbelieved captivity coming.
While God was ordaining Jeremiah He addressed the difficulty of the assignment and fathered him into personal fortitude and inner character. Jeremiah wasn’t created to cower. God equips Jeremiah with fortitude saying,
“Now, gird up your loins and arise,
and speak to them all which I command you.
Do not be dismayed before them,
or I will dismay you before them.”
Then God establishes Jeremiah’s inner character, and brings to light Jeremiah’s inner design.
“Now behold, I have made you today as a fortified city
and as a pillar of iron and
as walls of bronze against the whole land,
to the kings of Judah, to its princes,
to its priests and to the people of the land.”
One can tell the impact God’s conversation had on Jeremiah. The 7-Spirits of God were released to him, as God spoke:
The scriptures do not directly state the impact the Spirits of God had on Jeremiah, but who Jeremiah became with his audacity, compassion, perseverance to truth, and insistence makes this clear. Scripture confirms the Spirits of God reside where God sits on the throne. Where God is there we will find His Spirits (Revelation 4:5, 5:6, 1 Corinthians 2:12). When appointed, God equips, empowers, envelops with His Spirit.
Jeremiah, God’s trumpet, would be preserved as long as he did not yield to dismay. Jeremiah’s preparation included being mantled with the power of the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 11: 1-3) – Holiness. God constantly spoke His wisdom into Jeremiah releasing understanding of the past, current consequences, and future outcomes. His counsel strengthened Jeremiah. As Jeremiah experienced the Knowledge of God he grew in the fear of God. This “7-fold Spirit baptism” sustained Jeremiah as he pass through the trials of persecution, empowering him to see beyond the present circumstance, and what was the popular thought wrongfully fed to the masses.
Jeremiah’s appointment mantled him as he Watched over Israel and Witnessed the scrolls of prophesy come to pass over the hills of Judeah. He was directed to prophesy God’s future plans, and often demonstrate the plans literally (Jer 32). Many thought this outlandish. He remained on course.
Truth will cause conflict:
One couldn’t cross paths with Jeremiah without a confrontation to their conscience. The distance and time they drifted away from God caused His truth to sound foreign in their ears. Could they recognize God’s invitation to them, as He called them bride and family? Even though they were spiritually blind, would they slow down, listen, and allow the vibrations of truth to speak to their hearts, and even change course?
The Southern Tribes’ (Judah and Benjamin) rebellion against God and persecutions against Jeremiah would not shatter God’s motives nor permanently devastate His Covenant Of Salt sealed with David and his land (2 Chronicles 13:5, Ezekiel 37:24-27).
Love always came where God was, for He is Love. Amidst devastating circumstance God did not abandon His own; instead He instructed Jeremiah on the necessary requirements to be adhered if the nation desired to prosper amidst captivity (ie. Jer. 34). These steps came with courage and Jeremiah sought those who dared to heed.
“Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit.
Take wives and beget sons and daughters;
and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands,
so that they may bear sons and daughters—that you may be increased there,
and not diminished.
And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive,
and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace.”
A thought. Why were the people perplexed and in doubt to Jeremiah’s prophesies? …
Judah was known to be favored. Every Judean King and his people knew of the promises God decreed into Abraham and more recent to David and his lineage. The pattern of turning away from God, being rebuked, repenting , and returning was constant. What would cause God to pronounce a more severe judgment now? Wouldn’t, yet again, their soul be granted permission to repeat cycles? What would cause the “gate” to open allowing foreign invasions? Jeremiah stood in the nation as The Key which unlocked the new era of time.
Let’s briefly dive into Jeremiah’s need for a fortified personal constitution of soul and spirit, a little more …
God’s desire to deliver His people through repentance was strong and the consequence of their choice was imminent. The measure of sin had accumulated. His love was ready to discipline knowing the future held promise.
Jeremiah must prepare for severe deception on the people to manifest against him as a rejection. This young man’s prophesies were about to cause the soul of humanity to manifest, empowered by the spirits of unfaithfulness. Anger, mockery, and death threats would spew. This force of betrayal would bruise Jeremiah, calling him ludicrous for counseling them to yield to their enemies. The responses of governmental leaders and the citizens of the land, as wicked as they were, most likely paled in comparison to the difficulty of being betrayed by the local priesthood – his own family. The political and religious spirits were set against him; as was, the ‘energy’ of the nation (the peoples).
Let’s implement another piece of history here. This will begin to take us into the motivation for this writing.
Jeremiah’s priestly lineage came with responsibilities of history keeping. The priests and prophets through the assistance of Israel’s scribes, kept accounts of all that God said and did through previous generations. So, when God spoke to Jeremiah in metaphors (Jer. 12:5), this specific metaphor of ‘the thicket/the pride of Jordan,’ would cause him to reminisce of the mighty acts of God in yesteryears.
The work of the Priest:
The priests of the Lord were always meant to lead the people into obedience, therefore victory. They were ordained to always walk ahead—amidst the terrain creating a safe path for the people. God had spoken to Jeremiah about the path and the strategies.
What Jeremiah was up against was that he was the only priest-prophet who was carrying out his responsibility as a righteous priest. Everyone else had jumped ship. Maybe one of Jeremiah’s reminiscing’s would have been the story of Joshua.
“…and when those who carried the ark came into the Jordan,
and the feet of the priests carrying the ark were dipped in the edge of the water
for the Jordan overflows all its banks all the days of harvest,
the waters which were flowing down from above stood
and rose up in one heap, a great distance away at Adam,
the city that is beside Zarethan; and those which were
flowing down toward the sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea,
were completely cut off. So the people crossed opposite Jericho.
And the priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord
stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan
while all Israel crossed on dry ground, until all the nation
had finished crossing the Jordan.”
The priests knew their roles. Worship in Spirit and Truth always opened the door to revelation and directives for the prophets and priests. Jeremiah’s days were no different. Jeremiah knew his place; however, his kinsmen the priests of Judah had chosen to forget. Who would be on the Lord’s side and direct the peoples to pass through the Jordan? This time not into the promised land but into captivity. Yahweh, You did not give Jeremiah an easy task.
Jeremiah’s difficulties swelled. The frequency of Jeremiah approaching God is evident throughout his writings. Always! Whether in praise or complaint he kept his face towards Gods. One of these face to face moments is found in Jeremiah 11 and 12.
“Moreover, the Lord made it known to me and I knew it;
Then You showed me their deeds.
But I was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter;
And I did not know that they had devised plots against me, saying,
“Let us destroy the tree with its fruit,
And let us cut him off from the land of the living,
That his name be remembered no more.”
But, O Lord of hosts, who judges righteously,
Who tries the feelings and the heart,
Let me see Your vengeance on them,
For to You have I committed my cause.”
“Righteous are You, O Lord, that I would plead my case with You;
Indeed I would discuss matters of justice with You:
Why has the way of the wicked prospered?
Why are all those who deal in treachery at ease?
You have planted them, they have also taken root;
They grow, they have even produced fruit.
You are near to their lips
But far from their mind.
But You know me, O Lord;
You see me;
And You examine my heart’s attitude toward You.
Drag them off like sheep for the slaughter
And set them apart for a day of carnage!
How long is the land to mourn
And the vegetation of the countryside to wither?
For the wickedness of those who dwell in it,
Animals and birds have been snatched away,
Because men have said, “He will not see our latter ending .”
Jeremiah 11:18-20, 12:1-4
God’s response to Jeremiah’s complaint was to contrast the common everyday occurrence of footmen walking in a land of peace to the tension of keeping up with speed and strength of horses, all of this while surviving the “pride of Jordan.’ He was calling Jeremiah’s current pressures amidst the men of his hometown (Anathoth) to be a mild “scrimmage” in comparison to the violence which would soon occur. “Jeremiah remember, you are fortified in Me!”
The atmosphere taking place during a prophesy is often times different to when the word is actually being fulfilled. Dark days were ahead. The thundering of horse-hooves coming from the North and East would not come with compassion, but with a sword.
God met with Jeremiah to evaluate his growth and to fine-tune his perspective on the current conflicts. “Larger conflicts are ahead Jeremiah so gird up your loins – tuck in your robe and get ready to run into tougher terrain.“ Do not be on the defensive and react. The offensive means you know who I am, what your assignment is, and how to respond to the threats soon to come. Jeremiah had a choice. God understood the human form (psalms 103). The price Jeremiah would pay would be greater. He would either walk steadfast into the fire or be dragged in. The foreign invaders were on their way. God conversed with him saying,
“If you have run with the footman and they have tired you out, then how can you compete with the horses?
If you fall down in the land of peace, how will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?”
What is the “Pride / Thickets of Jordan?”
The geographic location of the thickets/pride of the Jordan River rests between Israel and Jordan. The thickets and the river receive fresh waters from Mount Hermon. As the waters fill the river and marshlands the waters continue down into the Dead Sea.
The River is historically known for its marshy surroundings, it’s reeds, and all that grows in the underbrush; hence, ‘the Pride/Thickets of the Jordan’. In biblical times the Jordan River and surrounding marsh (thickets) was known for the wild creatures which called this place either their watering hole or home. This region known as the Thickets or Pride of Jordan (the Ghor) is included within the Syrio-African Rift Valley which flows from Syria all the way to Mozambique.
“In harvest-time (Spring time, April and May) the river overflows its banks, and fills the valley (the Ghor) or, “the pride of Jordan,” namely its wooded banks abounding with lions and other wild beasts. It is said that between the Sea of Tiberias and Lake Merom the banks are so wooded that the traveller could not see the river at all without first passing through the woods. ‘If in the campaign country (alone) thou art secure, how wilt thou do when thou fallest into the wooded haunts of wild beasts?’” * (footnote available)
Remember the job of the priests?:
The conflicts of Judah were about to play out on a military theater resembling the “Thickets/Pride of Jordan” in the time of harvest and the swelling waters.
This was a different kind of Harvest Time, not one for dancing and laughter instead weeping and groaning.
Side Note for a moment:
Imagine for a moment the sounds of the Joshua crossings. Remember when thousands and even millions were crossing the river while angels held the waters up to one side? Consider the sound of the children, of the wagon wheels, the military forces marching, the animals, the shofars of the priests blowing. What about the vibrations of excitement and fears of the unknown?
Tensions worse then Joshua would now occur for Judah. This time foreign invaders would be coming to take captive God’s children once again. The first time 400 years in Egypt, and this time 70 years in Iraq.
The Job of the Priests continue:
Jeremiah stood in the land of what was once peace, working to keep up with the speed of what was coming through the delusion and rebellion resting on the citizens of his nation. Jeremiah was about to dip his toes into the swelling floods of the “Thickets/Pride of Jordan” to witness strongholds of foreign nations coming into the land promised to the Israelites, as he continued to pronounce God’s messages.
As the watchman over Judah Jeremiah witnessed one of the hardest things for a watchmen to endure. On his watch he witnessed an outcome opposing God’s best for a People. God had given dominion to humankind and now the results of self-driven choices were about to produce fruit. Jeremiah’s honest anguish caused him to be known throughout the ages as “the weeping prophet.”
One would think Jeremiah would be cherished by the people as the Watchman who sacrificed his life for the safety of the nation, instead he was consistently berated and beaten to the ground:
Jeremiah experienced the dungeons. His body ached as he hit that ground so hard while beaten and left to die. His stomach growled from hunger while he battled the spirit of rejection. The few friends he had were unable to assist him. He stood face to face with family members and peers in the temple as they betrayed and abandoned him. This all part of the experience of the “running with the horses.” The “Pride/Thickets of Jordan” experience was on it’s way.
We can use this advise today:
God’s instruction was “not to flinch in the face of adversity.” “Yes, such hostility will come our way, BUT, do not yield to the confusion – do not allow the actions of deception or depravity to play with nor shatter your soul nor spirit. Do not lose faith nor your trust in Me. Do not alter the message I have given you.”
Jeremiah’s decision to yield into ‘trust in God’ unified, recalibrated, and fortitude his spirit and soul. Yes, his future would be filled with loneliness and assault against his convictions; however, yielding to God’s protocol would keep him in perfect form, strength, and peace – a fortified city, pillars of iron , and walls of bronze.
Coming into the NOW:
To the Kingdom of priests (Revelation 1) of the Lord, the Watchmen, the Intercessors; therefore, all who are the children of God! It’s Harvest Time! The waters of the Jordan are about to swell. “The yielded trumpeters of the Lord carry a firm sound. The trumpeters of the Lord stands with a face set stronger than flint as the determined winds of change reveal both the Light and the darkness.”
The shakings which are coming are meant to shake that which opposes God’s people. Yes, His love is that extreme. The commerce and trade of nations accepted the deception of the world systems becoming seduced by her powers (Isaiah 23:8, Revelation 6:15, Nahum 3:4). The scroll of Revelation is clear. God takes note when there is persecution. He has acknowledged to Apostle John 2000 years ago that a time was coming when He would avenge the spilled blood of His bondservants (Revelation 16:5,6).
This type of shaking is meant for those who are covenanted to the world systems (1 John 2:15-17). This type of judgment is coming to the rulers of the world who have done harm to their citizens (Revelation 18:23,24).
During the shakings we will find ourselves on solid ground hidden in the refuge of God (Psalms 62, 1 John 3), if we are of God and of the Kingdom of The Son of God’s love (Colossians 1:13). This is the place of immunity. And yes, in the place of the increase of God awareness of “left-over world” in us can be shaken off (Revelation 18:4).
It is time to turn our faces towards God and be awakened-commissioned as priests before the Lord worshipping in Spirit and Truth. The “Thickets/Pride of Jordan” is upon us. “Arise and Shine for your light has come and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!” (Is 60, 1 John 2:8). God will look for 50 righteous in your regions (Genesis 18:26-33). There is going to be a remnant, no doubt about His plans (Isaiah 11:11).
Back to History, and the relevance of this powerful place for the mighty acts of God, “Thickets/Pride of Jordan”:
Jeremiah’s prophesies were accurate and fulfilled. Israel crossed the Jordan Eastward into captivity, followed by Daniels work of repentance (post 70 years) according to the instructions of Jeremiah regarding the forgotten sabbaths (Jer 17:19-27, Jer. 25).
Ezra and Nehemiah, with those who recognized the time of captivity was over, crossed back over the Jordan disconnecting themselves from the systems of captivity into a new freedom. They rebuilt Jerusalem on the land and in their hearts. Such a courageous priesthood emerged. (Ezra and Nehemiah)
New Covenant Priest and Prophet spends a lot of time at the ‘thickets/pride of Jordan’:
Hundreds of years later another priest and prophet by the name of John the Baptizer, the son of Zecharias of Abijah and Elizabeth of Aaron, stood within the waters of the Jordan (Luke 1:5, 3:1-19). He prepared the way (the terrain) for the One coming soon (Isaiah 40). He did this by preparing a way for the people to come out of the captivities of darkness through the waters of baptism into repentance, there at the Jordan.
Pondering as I Reminisce :
Men and women of Israel followed John into the waters of repentance, but did they understand that their preparation was just in time to receive the Living Ark of the Covenant – the carrier of the Glory of God (Luke 3:16,17)? Oh, the mysteries of heaven were being revealed. Scrolls opened. Yes, the One who John was not worthy to tie His sandal.
Take a moment to recall this. It was the Ark which was carried into the Jordan the first time in the spring time, for the waters were swelled causing the Pride of the Jordan to be a unsettling location (Joshua 3:15-17). This priest, John, stood in same waters of the Jordan surrounded by the ‘wild creatures found in the thickets/pride of Jordan’ (Luke 3:3, 20). He knew his battle was the Sadducees, Pharisees, and governmental leaders.
It was at this time through the ministry of John and his cousin that the promised land was no longer just a place on the earthly map, instead access was being prepared right there and then for all peoples to enter through the open heavens right into eternal life (Luke 3:22). Right there at the Thickets/Pride of the Jordan.
A short time later The Great High Priest intentionally found His way into those same waters while John His cousin ministered. As He stepped into the waters He was declaring His agreement to His Father of His earthly purpose. Two priests in the Jordan together now (Matthew 3:14,15). Two cousins six months apart in age. Now the Great High Priest Jesus Christ – Yeshua would go before the peoples in all things making a way for them into the New and Living Way. Followers of the Messiah would be welcomed as a Kingdom of Priests to His God and Father.
The ‘wild beasts’ found along the Thickets/Pride of Jordan which Yeshua would endure would be the magnitude of all of hell and earth itself. Heaven and earth’s Dread Champion and Conquering King did not bow to dismay, nor was dismayed before the people nor before hell. He did not cower.
The invitation given to all people of all nations was and is, “For God so love the world.” “Repent and be baptized” is celebrated and is followed by the cleaning out of the thresholds through the fire of holiness, right into the baptism of The Holy Spirit. The empowering force into victory and the circumcision out of the world (Matthew 3:11,12). I like what Bishop Garlington says, “The baptism of water and of the Holy Spirit cuts the umbilical cord which connects us to the world, separating us unto God and His Kingdom.” (November, 2021)
Jesus would take captivity captive releasing His people from the bondage of the law and death, right into the promised land – the heavenly Temple of The Lord not made with the hands of humankind (Ephesians 4:8, Daniel 2:34,35).
The Thickets/Pride of the Jordan has swelled again. Nations are raging. Kings are bewildered into injustice acts of unrighteousness. People are afraid. Rulers are playing with the pawns on the Chess Board of nations. False altars are being served. The list goes on. BUT, the Lord is looking for those who will dare to step into the Jordan stirring up the Waters of Repentance and The Waters of Life, for the New Era of time is upon us.
“Later, as they were eating,
Jesus appeared to the Eleven
and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart,
because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and
preach the gospel to every creature.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved,
but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
And these signs will accompany those who believe:
In My name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues;
they will pick up snakes with their hands,
and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not harm them;
they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will be made well.”
A beautiful mystery about God. He plays in the River:
God Himself loves to step into the River of Life and literally stir up the waters of His Will for all people. The Triune Deity stirs up these Waters of Life sending to earth all that is needed. An ever flowing river providing God’s Will, from heaven to earth!
Along this river are the trees bearing the healing leaves with monthly provision (Revelation 21:1,2). Such inheritance is stirred up in the Waters of Life. There at His river I witness the exuberant Joy in our God towards us as He provides such waters. Such Fulfillment! He watches over the waters of His Word to complete it (Jer 1:12, Isaiah 55)! Jump into the River of God’s life and watch the wild beasts found amidst the thickets pale in comparison.
Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal,
coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street.
On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit,
yielding its fruit every month;
and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
As the Watchmen over nations and Kingdoms Jeremiah was used to proclaim and “midwife” Judah and Israel from the horrors of invasion to the restoration of the promise. He was called to live as if the Lord’s words were already fulfilled. What are you being called to watch over and to walk through? Where are you along the Jordan River and it’s thickets?
“Be strong and courageous!!
Do NOT tremble or be dismayed,
for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Much Love, P. Zananiri
Footnote for second part of “What is the Thickets/Pride of Jordan“: (Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 518). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.”
Word definitions for those who read English as a 2nd language.
Era: a long and distinct period of history with a particular feature or characteristic
Cower: crouch down in fear
Dismay: to be in panic, to shatter, afraid, abolished.
Conscience: an inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one’s behavior.
Scrimmage: a confused struggle or fight. In American Football a scrimmage is a session in which teams practice by playing a simulated game.