STEP OF FAITH
Jessica Albritton, NextGen Minister LHBC
10 And Joshua said, “Here is how you shall know that the living God is among you and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Perizzites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, and the Jebusites. 11 Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is passing over before you into the Jordan. 12 Now therefore take twelve men from the tribes of Israel, from each tribe a man. 13 And when the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap.” 14 So when the people set out from their tents to pass over the Jordan with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, 15 and as soon as those bearing the ark had come as far as the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest), 16 the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite Jericho. 17 Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan.
I have always been afraid of heights, and when I say afraid I mean afraid.. Once I took some students to Fall Creek Falls to go hiking and they unanimously decided they wanted to maneuver the Cable Trail. The Cable Trail is just off the Paw-Paw Trail and leads hikers to some of the best views available on the Cumberland Plateau. Hikers start at the highest point on the trail and must climb their way down, about a quarter of a mile, using only a cable for support (hence the name). I have to be honest, had I not had teenagers with me I probably would have chickened out but I knew that if I didn’t go they would have never let me live it down. So I swallowed my fear and took the first step. The first step was the hardest. I didn’t know the trail and my fear of heights made me feel like my chest was in my throat, but I am so glad I did it! Once we got to the bottom and saw the waterfall and nature surrounding it I was awestruck. It’s one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. The scary looking trail stands between the top of the hill and the beauty at the bottom, but once we decided to take the first step there was no turning back!
In the book of Joshua chapter 3 we find the Israelites in a similar situation. After the death of Moses Joshua took charge of leading the Israelites into the promised land, but there was something that stood in their way… the Jordan River. The river provided a barrier, a natural fortification, between them and the promised land of Canaan. As the nation approached the swollen river, God told Joshua to lead the Israelites across. Crossing the Jordan River was a key point in the history of the Israelites. It is what stood in their way, the barrier between wandering in the wilderness and settling as an established nation in the land God had promised.
The Levitical priests, tasked with carrying the ark of the covenant, led the way and the nation of Israel began their march. The Ark of the Covenant was important because it held the 2 stone tablets on which the Lord had written His law. It also held the promise of mercy and forgiveness when the Israelites failed to keep the law. It was the physical representation of the living God. Verses 15-17 tells us that as soon as the priests set their feet in the rushing water it pushed back and provided dry ground for the entire people to cross.
The thing that strikes me most with the priests is their step of faith. The Bible tells us that they heard the promise of God and immediately stepped out in obedience. They didn’t wait until the waters calmed down, they put their feet in. The priests didn’t hesitate to put their feet into the troubled waters because that wasn’t where their focus was. Their focus was on the promise God made them. They were not afraid of what they saw with their eyes because of what they knew in their hearts.
The Jordan River stood in the way of the Israelites, a barrier between the wilderness they were wandering in and the land God promised them over 40 years prior. Had they hesitated and refused to move they would still be in the desert, but because of their step of faith they received the promised land!
One thing that I have come to find is that we can study God’s word every day, meditate and memorize all the scripture, we can pray and give of our time and resources to the mission of the Lord, but if God calls us to do something and we don’t move our feet our life will never be fulfilled in the way that God desires for us. Focusing on God is essential, consecrating ourselves is vital, listening to the prompting of the Spirit is crucial, but stepping out in faithful obedience is imperative. Our hearts can be right but if we never move our feet we will never make the progress.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Heavenly Father, you are so good to us and your plans are so much greater than anything that we could ever dream of on our own. Lord, help me to move when you say move, give me boldness and confidence to step out in faith even when the barriers seem too much. May my focus always be on you and your faithfulness. In Jesus name, amen!
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God