And the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant: ‘When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go and stand in the river.’ ”
This record of Joshua was running through my head last night during my feeble attempts to sleep. God told Joshua to lead the people to the Jordan. Then, instructed the priests to carry the ark of the covenant into the water. He didn’t tell them to wait at the river’s edge for the water to be parted…he told them to step in. There are trials in this life. Trials where we stand on the side of the river looking at the expanse of uncertainty and we wait for the waters to part…when God really wants us to trust Him enough to step in.
Think of it…in all of our human-ness, we like to see a clear plan laid out before us. It is our human nature to come to these rivers and look for a bridge or a ferry to take us across. If a bridge is not present- we pray for God to provide a bridge or search for materials to build one ourselves. But, that may not be the kind of trust the Lord demands from us at that time. What He really desires is for us to place our feet in the water…to choose to stand in the current…and wait for His provision. Is it possible that when we have both feet planted in the water- only THEN will he reveal a clear path without obstruction?
Maybe God wants you to go on a mission trip and HE wants to provide the funds. He asks you to first to put down your own fundraising efforts before he graciously sends donors to you…resulting in a paid trip with a surplus for missions.
Maybe God calls you to quit your job to stay home with your kids, but you can’t seem to make the budget work. Only after you quit do you find out that somehow…only in God’s power…it all works out. God’s economics don’t make sense.
Maybe a marriage has crumbled and God wants you to stay when it would be less painful to go…to commit to stick with your vows even when it’s hard. Then, after you commit He will part the clouds and show you what a wonderful gift He has given this couple in the process.
Maybe a person has been called to ministry and must leave a comfortable job that pays the bills before God will reveal his plan to take care of that person’s needs.
Maybe God has called you to give money to another person to cover a need that they have, but when you look at the bills you don’t have enough to pay your own. Only after you follow through, God blesses you with enough to pay the bills and then some.
Maybe God wants you to place your child in a Christian school, but you can’t seem to figure out where the tuition will come from. Only two weeks after you sign and submit the application to the school- He provides the means and the way for that to be possible.
So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. Now the Jordan is at flood stage 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 (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.
You see? It was only AFTER they placed their feet in the Jordan that God moved on their behalf. And not only did He part the water, but God pushed it back…upstream!
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
If you read further, the tribes each took a stone from the dry ground in the center of the Jordan and piled them up at the shore where they had crossed. This would be a reminder for them and all of the generations to come of God’s faithfulness…of how he pushed back waters after they had the faith to wade in. They didn’t want to be like the prior generation and forget one miracle after another. And 1400 years later, (in Matthew 3) you will hear John the Baptist talking about the stones that sat in that very spot! 1400 years later…in the VERY same spot- Jesus was baptized. Jesus placed his feet in to the water and pushed back the tides of sin for all who would have faith in him. Only after you place your faith in Jesus is the gift of salvation received.
Instead of looking for a way to build a bridge today, put your feet in the water.