September 12, 2009

Across The Night

You know . . . the Old Testament is pretty cool. I thought it was scary at first, but the more I read it, the more I learn about God's character (especially His redemption and patience) and how he consistently used people who are just as messed up as I am. Word.

. . . and good thing I like it, because it's kind of big and I'm going to be in the midst of it for a while (I'm trying to read the entire Bible . . . which may take anywhere between 5 and 90 years).

So Joshua is this dude who takes over when Moses dies, leading Israel into the land that God promised them 40+ years earlier. The first thing that God tells Joshua is to be strong and courageous, He'll never leave or forsake him, and that he'll succeed as long as he stays within God's will (Joshua 1:6-9).

In Joshua 3, the Israelites are on one side of the Jordan River, in Shittim . . . and they need to get to a place called Gilgal. I'm looking at a map, and really the only way to get there is to cross the Jordan, unless you want to trek waaayyyy down and loop around the Dead Sea. I'm pretty sure they didn't have bridges back then.

So what does God do? He tells them to cross the river while it's at flood stage.

He tells 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.'" (3:7-9)

And sure enough:

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 . . . So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground. (v. 15-17)

I wonder what went through their heads when they first heard what they were supposed to do. I wonder if Joshua lost any sleep over it, wondering how the Israelites would take it when he told them the news. I mean, these are the same people who, after seeing God deliver them across the Red Sea and obliterate the Egyptians, started whining about being stuck in the desert.

But you know, God didn't need the priests to get their toes wet. He could've teleported them across the Jordan if He wanted - He created the earth and physics, so He can do whatever He wants with it. But He told them to take that first step, to stand in the Jordan . . . just like He told Moses to put his hand over the water before He parted the Red Sea (Exodus 14:16).

God is going to work in our lives and through us. But sometimes it requires a bit of trust, obedience, and for us to get our toes wet.

We can't just sit at home and pray for hours, expecting God's blessings to be brought to our doorstep by the pizza delivery boy.

He wants the best for us, but it requires a little bit of action on our part . . . that first step into the water. Sure, it's scary - but if we were 100% certain, where would faith and trust come in? Would that really display God's glory?


  1. i love your blog! it is funny/encouraging/just the write length. i like your little nuggets of wisdom and insight. way to read through your Bible and actually apply what you're learning!

  2. I really like this one Sarah! I thought it and then you said it...the priests had to get wet, they had to trust and obey God with abandon first. They didn't know how He would deliver them, they didn't even know if He would. Sometimes His glorification comes when we lay down our lives, a thought I can only imagine the priests were well aware of. Yet, they moved, they didn't allow their fear to keep them on the shore. And God showed up big! What an amazingly wonderful God we serve!


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