Joshua 3:5 “And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” KJV
Today, while reading Joshua, I came upon the verses where God tells Joshua that the priests must step into the waters of the Jordan River before the flood waters will be stopped. He didn’t say that the priests should go down to rivers edge and wait for the miracle. He said that the bare feet of the priests must touch the water and then (here is the most important part) KEEP WALKING FORWARD! The priests had to have strength and courage and FAITH to do what God had called them to do. Plus they had to carry the Ark of the Covenant with them, no light burden I would guess. Then, and only then, the people would come along and cross over. Everything had to be done in order, the way God commanded it or none of it would come to pass.
It struck me as funny (although not to the priests I am sure) that God made them hang out in the middle of this dry spot, with the walls of water on each side. I can imagine that the water was rolling and foaming as water does when it is held back by anything. The priests had to hang out in the middle of the walk over that God created while all the Israelites walked over, along with their wives, children, animals, and supplies. Then, just to make it even more fun, Joshua told them that God wanted twelve men to be chosen, one from each tribe, to go back out and pick up a big rock and bring it back to the camping area. All while the priests were still standing out in the middle of the dry river bed, holding on to the Ark of the Covenant.
Now think about this for a minute. Over forty thousand warriors, plus the twelve tribes with their families had to go across that river. And their animals. And their “stuff”. I would imagine this took several hours, if not more. Upon arrival at the designated camping area, each of the twelve tribes had to choose a man to represent them. Not just any man, but a man capable of carrying a large stone out of the riverbed and up to the camping area. Knowing our sweet husbands like we do, I would imagine it was quite the process to choose just the right guy. So that probably added an hour or so more to the entire event.
The point of this entire thing is not about the twelve men picking up rocks, or their families, or their “stuff”, or even about the river stopping it’s flow and running dry. For me it was about the four (as far as I can glean from study, it was carried by four priests) priests who had to walk to the river and start wading out into it, having faith that God would make a way for them. Then they had to stay in the middle of this dry river bed for hours if not days, waiting for all the people to pass by. Then, and only then, could they leave and follow the people up to the encampment. And even more miraculously, the minute they stepped foot out of the dry river bed, the river began to flow again, even to the point of flooding out of it’s banks.
How often, when God asks me to perform a task, do I ask for all the particulars and parameters of the job. More than anything, I want to know how hard is it going to be, will I get tired, will it cause me pain, what’s in it for me? I question His every whisper, try to read between every line, and generally complain about the entire thing. Oh how hard it is for me to just start walking, start placing one foot in front of the other, feeling the water on my feet, then my calves, then my knees. So often I race back to dry land before even letting the miracle occur. I never let the waters part. I quit before the path is dry before me.
I want to wade out into the stream, letting the waters recede, holding up my end of the bargain. I want to wait until He tells me it’s time to come up out of the river bed. Joshua 4:24 reminds me to do everything that God instructs so “that all the people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the Lord your God for ever.” KJV
What has the Lord tasked you with today? What has He asked you to do that requires you to walk out in faith, not knowing if the waters will recede? Or are you in the middle of the riverbed wondering if your God has forgotten about you, while life keeps passing you by? Know this, dearest friend. Your God has not forgotten about you. He will never leave you. He knows where you stand. He covets your obedience and your desire to please Him. Keep stepping forward. Keep standing in faith. For it is your actions, standing in the riverbed, holding back the waters with your obedience, that just might allow someone else to cross through the flood waters that threaten to engulf them. I pray today for God’s grace to continue to cover you in your journey.