I wonder about something. When you read the OT passages do you kinda view the people of the stories as characters. Like a character in a fiction book? Well, Joshua is a real man. He lived on this planet and I can’t wait to meet him one day. I’m going to ask him a bazillion questions about living to be an old man, yet still having the health and vitality of a youth. What was it like to see the pillar of fire at night and the cloud during the day. Were you as astonished as me because your traveled in the wilderness for 40 years and yet your clothing and shoes never wore out?
I’m sure I will pepper him with so many questions that he will have to spend a least a 100 years with me alone to satisfy my curiosity. Ahhhh, to dream about our ever-lasting future…. It’s one of my favorite pastimes.
My friends, there is so much we can learn from Joshua but what I want to take a look at what begins to play out starting in verse 7. Now remember with me that the Israelites have been wondering. They have witnessed God move for them with supernatural miracles. God has now released them to finally to take ownership of the Promised Land. We could do an entire study on these concepts alone. But what I want us to recognize is a couple of things.
Verse 8: God commands Joshua: 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.’
Now catch something here. There is a shift in God’s expectations of His people. For years the people have watched God provide for them supernaturally with Manna, water from a rock, escape the Egyptians through the Red Sea. But today, this day, something is different.
Read with me: 9 Joshua said to the Israelites, “Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God. 10 This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. 11 See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you. 12 Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. 13 And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the Lord—the Lord of all the earth—set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.”
14 So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. 15 Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest.
Okay, I can’t even begin to explain why the river is at flood stage during harvest season but it is roaring. It is wide and virtually uncrossable for the 1.5 million people of Israel. But, let’s not get stuck on that phenomenon. Let’s get stuck on the next one.
God instructs the people to MAKE THE FIRST MOVE. He commands the priests to step into the river FIRST. He instructs them to carry the Ark of the Covenant and to step into the raging waters. They must TRUST that God will do what He promised and cut the flow off.
They had to choose that very moment to activate their faith. For years they have watched God take care of them but today, they will take His Presence with them and step into the water. This is when their faith is activated and faith becomes trust.
God wants them to grow up. To become a people of trust to be participants in the miracles and not just the benefactors of His goodness and grace. I’m also intrigued that in just a couple of chapters the people ate grain from the land and I quote Joshua 5:12, “The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land.”
So I can bet you know where I’m going with this train of thought.
Do you believe this kind of trust is what God wants from us? Thoughts? Love you, Lynn