What did God call you to do first? What was His call to action? Because as we move forward in this faith journey (and we must always be maturing), our faith in action becomes more crucial to our journey forward. In other words, we will have to take a believing step of faith forward to activate the promise we’ve been given.
Let me explain this with the story of Israel crossing the Jordan in Joshua 3. First let’s set the stage with the Israelites and the Red Sea. At this point the Israelites are very “young” in their faith walk with God. They’re just getting the lay of the land, so to speak and yes, pun intended. They witness an entire ocean part before their eyes by the hand of God. This is their point of reference as they approach the Jordan, which is at its fullest at this time of the year, in this season of harvest. The Jordan is overflowing. It’s a time to claim new territory.
Amidst this picture, Joshua relays God’s instructions to the Israelites:
Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is crossing over ahead of you into the Jordan. Now then, take for yourselves twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one man for each tribe. It shall come about when the soles of the feet of the priests who carry the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan will be cut off, and the waters which are flowing down from above will stand in one heap. — Joshua 3:11-13
The Jordan is the next step (literally and figuratively) in the Israelites faith journey. This time God is not going to move the waters first. He’s calling the priests and all the Israelites to take a step of faith first—to step into the water before God moves it. God has already proven He is capable of such a feat with the feet (oh, I just couldn’t resist that one!). Now, He wants to see the Israelites grow in their faith and belief in Him—to believe God—and trust Him to do what He said He would do.
So when the people set out from their tents to cross the Jordan with the priests carrying the ark of the covenant before the people, and when those who carried the ark came into the Jordan, and the feet of the priests carrying the ark were dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks all the days of harvest), the waters which were flowing down from above stood and rose up in one heap, a great distance away at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan; and those which were flowing down toward the sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. So the people crossed opposite Jericho. And 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 crossed on dry ground, until all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan. — Joshua 3:14-17
The priests were instructed to step first, not to wait for the waters to part. They had to take a step of faith. Any by doing so, the waters moved, just as God said they would. But God did even more with their step of faith:
- They crossed on dry ground. God could have left the ground wet, which most likely would have meant the priests feet would have sunk into the mud, especially under the weight of the ark of the covenant. God made a way for the priests that was complete to God’s vision of their purpose and journey. God does this for us as well. When He calls us to a direction, He prepares the way. That doesn’t mean it will be easy but with God, we will not fail.
- They stood in the middle, not the edge. The priests not only stood in the middle, they stood firm and in place with the ark of the covenant on their shoulders. This is the promise of God’s presence in their lives and a future with Him. The way had been prepared for them, now they prepared the way for rest of the Israelites. Think of your home as that parted river and God is asking you to stand firm with His presence in and upon you. You bear the promise for your future and the future of all who will pass with you.
- Israel crossed on the same dry ground. The entire nation of Israel passed through under the protection of the priests’ presence. This is part of our sanctification of our family through our faith (remember 1 Cor 7:14). We bring our spouse, our children—all those we claim under the umbrella of our home and faith—over the dry ground to the other side. This is how our unbelieving spouses and loved ones are blessed through us and by our prayers for them. As we stand firm in whatever God has called us to do, we bring those we are praying for with us.
- They crossed opposite Jericho with Adam a great distance away. I can’t help but wonder if Adam is mentioned as a reminder of where they came from. Where we come from. Not as a threat but to see our past sins as far away and show us how far we have come. God had them cross in the exact place and position for their next challenge and step in the promise. Each step of faith builds upon the last and prepares for the next. Jericho would be there next victory. They didn’t know this but God did.
My friends, I pray I’ve adequately conveyed this amazing truth. Whatever it is that God has told you, given you do to, or shown you, move forward and believe God! Do not hesitate or debate, because until you take a step of faith, the promise remains a mere thought.
If God is calling you to believe Him and trust Him more, do it. Anytime doubt enters your mind, boot it out and affirm the word that God has given you. Claim it as your truth and that it is done! If God is calling you to an action, do it! Even if it scary and uncomfortable, move forward with this action (just like the Priests taking that first step into the raging waters) and the promise given will be activated.
And if God is calling you to simply stand, then stand and know that your promise is on the way. God completes everything He sets in motion but He wants us to be a part of it. He will wait on us to make the first move. This is how we claim and hold new territory in our lives.
So move! Be bold! Be courageous! God never expects us to do these things on our own. He is standing right there with us through the entire journey preparing the way, strengthening us for the weight we are called to carry, entrusting us with the promise of those we bring along the way, and guarding over our path until the completion.
My friends, this message is as much for me as it is for you. In the past my fear of the unknown has kept me planted in comfortable places but at a price. We miss out on the wild adventure of living life with God in the unexpected when we do that. I'm learning to step out in faith more and more, and each time I do, God is right there showing me or doing something new in my life.
God wants this for you too! So take that step of faith, precious one. If you're not sure what this step is, ask Him. God is waiting and ready to show you!
Love you fiercely in Jesus!