Now Playing: How much are we willing to give up to follow God ?
"Joshua rose early in the morning; and they removed from Shittim, and came to Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over." (Joshua 3:1)
Faith is getting yourself in so deep that only God can get you out. This concept of faith is readily seen in the account of Joshua and the children of Israel as they crossed the Jordan River into the promised land.
With the passing of Moses a new servant of the Lord was commissioned to lead the chosen people of God. Joshua clearly had the promise of God that He would be with the Israelites. Be strong and of good courage" (Joshua 1:6). "Only be thou strong and very courageous" (1:7). "Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest" (1:9). "Only be strong and of a good courage" (1:18). Armed with these promises of divine assistance, Joshua immediately sent two men into the land to spy out the city of Jericho. Here the spies met Rahab the harlot and their lives were spared by her hiding them from the king's men. After three days the spies returned to Joshua and reported that all the inhabitants of the land were afraid of the mighty Jehovah and that Israel could easily enter the land and establish a beachhead there.
As a decisive leader, Joshua wasted no time in mustering the Israelite camp. Joshua rose early in the morning (Joshua 3:1) and they removed from Shittim to the Jordan River. Roaring downward toward the Dead Sea, the mighty current of the Jorden is very strong at Jericho, especially during the harvest season. Because of the melting snows in the Lebanon mountains, and the overflowing of the Jordan during the month of Nisan, crossing the river at this season was regarded in ancient times as a very extraordinary feat. It is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 12:15 as a heroic act on the part of the brave Gaddites. Undoubtedly the rushing waters had overflowed the banks when the two spies crossed the river a few days before. But it was altogether impossible for the children of Israel with their wives and children to cross the mighty current. What was a great obstacle for man was a great opportunity for a miracle for the omnipotent God.
After Joshua rose early in the morning and commanded the people to move to the water's edge, they abode there three days. Here they were given instructions as to how to proceed across the water and told to sanctify themselves, "for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you" (Joshua 3:5). In the morning, as commanded, the priests of Israel led the procession to the brink of Jordan's waters. Miraculously when the priest entered the water, bearing the ark of the covenant, the mighty Jordan River "stood upon an heap."
Faith that had faltered at Kadesh forty years before was now tested again. When God caused the parting of the waters of the Red Sea, it was for Israel to escape with their lives from the pursuit of the Egyptian foe. Now, however, Israel was on the march and the foe was on the other side of the river. But the crossing of the Jordan was more of an act of faith than the crossing of the Red Sea. Upon leaving Egypt the Israelites saw God part the waters before they entered them. But now the waters were not parted. Not until the soles of the priests' feet touched the water was the river rolled back. It was not an act of obedience following what God had already done, but an act of faith which caused the priests to enter the swift current of the mighty Jordan
We should never fear God's leading, even into the turbulent Jordans of our lives, for God stands behind His commands with His omnipotence. Trusting God is taking that step of faith. Trust Him today for today's step of faith.
MORNING HYMN Encamped along the hills of light,
Ye Christian soldiers, rise,
And press the battle ere the night
Shall veil the glowing skies.
Against the foe in vales below
Let all our strength be hurled;
Faith is the victory, we know,
That overcomes the world.
(from W. Kroll)