The Lord told Joshua, "Today I will begin to make you a great leader in the eyes of all the Israelites. They will know that I am with you, just as I was with Moses. Give this command to the priests who carry the Ark of the Covenant: 'When you reach the banks of the Jordan River, take a few steps into the river and stop there.’” Joshua 3:7-8
The priests will carry the Ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth. As soon as their feet touch the water, the flow of water will be cut off upstream, and the river will stand up like a wall.” So the people left their camp to cross the Jordan, and the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Covenant went ahead of them. It was the harvest season, and the Jordan was overflowing its banks. But as soon as the feet of the priests who were carrying the Ark touched the water at the river’s edge, the water above that point began backing up a great distance away at a town called Adam, which is near Zarethan. And the water below that point flowed on to the Dead Sea until the riverbed was dry. Then all the people crossed over near the town of Jericho. Meanwhile, the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant stood on dry ground in the middle of the riverbed as the people passed by. They waited there until the whole nation of Israel had crossed the Jordan on dry ground. Joshua 3:13-17
Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy! I look to you for protection. I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings until the danger passes by. Psalm 57:1
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear .... He says, “Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:1-2A, 10 (NIV)
Canaan is Israel's destination. It is the land promised to them by God and all that lies between Israel and the promised land is the Jordan River. At other times of the year they may has been able to wade across it, but it being around the harvest time, the Jordan River was overflowing its banks. Israel is a vast company of people and apart from God's intervention they can not cross the Jordan River. God does part the waters of the Jordan River for the people of Israel and they are able to cross over on dry ground into the promised land. But God does not just do it. The parting of the Jordan will take place when the priest's feet touch the water. This is a great picture of how God likes to work in our lives. How often God hinges what he is about to do on a step of faith on our part. Perhaps there is a step of faith God is waiting for you to take at this very moment in your life and when you do he will act on your behalf in an amazing way. Be assured that throughout your life God will bring you to moments that necessitate a step of faith before he does amazing things on your behalf.
The priests take the step of faith asked of them and the instant their feet touch the water God miraculously parts the waters of the Jordan River. But there is another picture of faith shown to us in what the priests must do next: "The priests who were carrying the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant stood on dry ground in the middle of the riverbed as the people passed by. They waited there until the whole nation of Israel had crossed the Jordan on dry ground." In the parting of the Red Sea after Israel came out of Egypt we are told that God kept the waters parted all night. This was necessary because of the vast number of people who had to cross. We can be assured it took a similar length of time for all the people of Israel to cross the Jordan River. If we had to stand in the middle of the riverbed all that time, don't you think we might have been thinking, "will the parting of the Jordan river last long enough for us to make across as well?" What a picture of faith for us. Being still, trusting God, and waiting on him and the safety of being on the other side of what we are in the middle of.
Lord, thank you for the reminder from the Psalms above that when I am in the middle of danger and trouble, I am in the middle of your presence. Help me not to be afraid to take the steps of faith you are waiting for me to take even if it may mean that I get in the middle of things that seem overwhelming to me. Strengthen my faith, Lord, and help me to believe that I am just as safe in the middle of your presence, with danger and trouble surrounding me, as I am when the danger and trouble have passed and I am on the other side of it. Lord, I am willing and prepared to step out in faith and I know you will do the amazing things in my life that you are waiting to do. Amen!
Posted on Thu, June 25, 2015
by Alan Porter