Through the Bible in 90 days: Day 16
Read: Joshua 1-14
Verse that stood out: Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried thee arek reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water's edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing - Joshua 3:15-16
I imagine most of the Hebrews standing with Joshua at the edge of the Jordan River could have told you the story of the crossing of the Red Sea in minute detail. They knew how that crossing had happened. Moses stood up and lifted his staff and the waters parted. I’m pretty sure Joshua knew the story, too. He could have easily said, “I know how this works. Caleb, old man, bring me my staff, we’re about to have a show.” But he didn’t. He joined the people in a day of waiting and worshipping and wondering.
And as God often does, God spoke a new word, “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 time, there would be no parting from afar. No, this time God said, “I want you to go down and stand in the river.” Which, as you can imagine, sounds a whole lot riskier. Especially, when you think about what the priests were carrying as they went down. They were carrying the Ark of the Covenant.
If we were Joshua, we may have objected, “God, don’t you think that’s a little dangerous? That doesn’t sound like being a good steward of your resources. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I trust you all the way, I’m just not sure I trust them. That priest on the left looks a little clumsy. Plus, the closer you get to the river the muddier it gets. We’d hate to for them to slip. Dropping the Ark would not be a good way to start my term as leader. Plus the river’s at flood stage. That current is moving pretty quickly. Sure we can’t do it the same way we did it last time from up here on the hilltop?”
But Joshua didn’t object. He realized that sometimes, the only way to experience God’s deliverance is to jump right in. David had to walk out all the way out onto the battlefield, before the giant fell to the ground. Daniel had to go all the way into the lion’s den before he discovered God had shut the lions’ mouths. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had to go all the way into the fire, before they discovered the flames didn’t burn. Peter had to step all the way out of that boat, before he discovered the water would hold his weight. And Joshua and the people of Israel had to get their feet wet if they were ever to walk across dry land. Likewise, if you and I want to embrace the promises of God, we’ve got to be quiet enough to hear his voice and then brave enough to go wherever it leads, even if it leads us into the middle of the raging waters.