I’m reading through the book of Joshua right now, and even though I’ve read that book many times, I feel like I either notice new things for the first time, or at least I’m focusing on things for the first time. This time through, Joshua 3 has really stood out to me. In Joshua 3, the people of Israel are heading to the Promise Land, and God instructs them to camp near the Jordan River. God tells the people to be ready, because He was going to show Himself in a mighty way.
God tells the people that God is going to part the Jordan River, so they can cross it safely as they enter the Promise Land. The people are told that as soon as the feet of the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant come to rest (or stand still) in the river, God would part it. So the people got ready, watched, and waited. But there were men who did not wait. There were men whose faith was required before God was going to move. The people watching could have been wishy-washy about the situation. They could have had a “wait and see” approach to the promise. Maybe God would part the river, maybe He wouldn’t. There was little investment for them.
The men carrying the Ark of the Covenant had to be fully invested. They had to step into the river. Joshua 3:15 notes that the river was overflowing its banks (the river in spring time was significantly deeper, faster flowing, and more treacherous than the rest of the year, due to rain and melting snow). Stepping in was a big deal. If God didn’t act in the way He said He would act, they very well could have been swept away by the current and drowned. But they believed God, knowing Who He was, knowing His character, and knowing His faithfulness, so they stepped out. And in His character, God protected them, provided for them, and allowed them to cross.
Sometimes God does ask us to step out in faith, and the step He asks us to take is treacherous. It can be a dangerous step that requires complete faith, knowing that if God doesn’t show up, we’re going to be in a world of hurt. This is the type of faith God wants from us, and sometimes He will call us to act upon it. Faith that He will do what only He can do. Faith to do what we cannot do without His intervention. If God calls on you to take such step, would you make that step? Would you step into the river, knowing it will overpower you unless God intervenes? I hope that I would.