Archive for January 6th, 2012

Joshua 3

Joshua 3 has God doing a repeat performance with crossing the river Jordan.  He did it through Moses as they fled Egypt, and now He does it through Joshua as they enter the Promised Land.  The scriptures tell us “Joshua rose early in the morning” and they took off toward the river.  They had been camped a bit away at Shittim but it was time to move the nation to the edge of the water.  So they get up early and move out.  Joshua still hasn’t been told what the plan was.  He knew it was time to move this giant mass of people toward the Promised Land, but there is one major barrier to entry – a river that floods way out of control and there was no bridge.

But Joshua knew that God always provided a way, and he set out with the troops.  God had given him this plan which he shared with the people.  “As soon as you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God being carried….you shall set out from your place and follow it”.  Still not a ton of clarity here. They weren’t to get too close to the ark, but to follow a bit behind it.  Then Joshua asks the people to prepare themselves: “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you”.  Tomorrow is not just going to be another day.  It is a day they will remember forever.  God is going to show up and be God big time.  Joshua wants the people prepared as they will be walking in the presence of a Holy God.  And God has a plan for the day too – to make sure the people know “as I was with Moses, so I will be with you”.

So what is the plan.  Here is what God tells Joshua to command the priests.  “‘When you come to the brink of the waters….you shall stand still in the Jordan….when the soles of the feet of the priests….shall rest in the waters….the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing”.  Any of this sound familiar.  God wants these priests to carry the ark of the covenant into a flooding river.  He doesn’t say that the water will stop flowing and then they should enter.  Do you see what He says here?  “When the soles….rest in the waters”.  Nothing was happening until someone does what is not logical and trusts God.  The water stops after they first step into it.  This is as much a test of faith as anything.  Without God these guys will be washed away.

But they come and “the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of water” – a Jordan river that scripture tells us “overflows its banks throughout the time of harvest” – and the waters “stood and rose up”.  Note what scripture says.  The water didn’t stop flowing.  It kept coming but it just grew and became a bigger and bigger back log.  The priests didn’t get the luxury of being first in and then first out.  They had to remain there as “the people passed over”.  Can you imagine the scene?  Waters rising, angry with being contained, on a very out of control flooding river.  But in a perfect example of what real faith in God looks like, “the priests…..stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan…..all Israel was passing over on dry ground….until the nation finished passing”.  They stood firm on their faith in God.  It started with a willingness to trust God and enter the water.  The faith continued as they stood in the river while they waited for the entire nation to pass through on dry ground.  And after all was said and done, they were able to come out the other side and unleash the waters that had been backed up by a powerful and very present God.

This is what faith looks like.  It all starts with listening – a relationship with God where we are plugged in and can hear His leading.  Then comes consecration and committing to be obedient to His commands.  And then it comes down to obedience, even when it doesn’t necessarily make sense on the surface, because we know God is faithful and will never fail to do what He says.  And finally we need to finish strong and complete the task God has given us.  There is litte doubt the water would have started flowing again as soon as the priests exited on the other side.  Had they not stood firm, the crossing would never have occurred.  Faith is not easy, but it always works.  God is in control and if He can command the rivers and the seas and all of creation, He certainly can handle the things that happen in your life and mine.  We just need to walk with Him!

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