Good morning. It is Tuesday, July 5, 2022. Jeanette Stark here.
There is this song we do from time to time at Gateway. It’s a fun, up-tempo tune called Step into the Water.
The chorus says:
“Step into the water, Wade out a little bit deeper. Wet your feet in the water of his love…”
And it goes on from there, but the song always reminds me of faith. That time in your life when you stepped out in faith. That time you made a big decision based purely on the fact that you believed God was leading. Those can be scary moments for sure.
I think of Peter stepping out of the boat and onto the water when he saw Jesus. That was a huge step in faith.
But I also think of the opposite when the water departed, offering dry ground for crossing. And I’m not taking about Moses.
This certainly would not be the first time the Israelites had seen, or heard of, God drying up the water for their benefit. But this time it takes place on the Jordan River just out of Shittim. It’s such a great story!
Joshua and all the Israelites are camped on the banks of the Jordan River. The plan was to cross the river and orders are being given as we pick up in verse 3.
“…“When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the Levitical priests carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about two thousand cubits between you and the ark; do not go near it.”
Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.”
Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on ahead of the people.” So they took it up and went ahead of them.
And the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. 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.’”
Joshua said to the Israelites, “Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God. 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.
See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you. Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. 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.”
So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off.
So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.” Joshua 3 NIV
Isn’t that a great story?! It’s not just a river, it’s the Jordan River at flood stage.
Those priests had faith! They were instructed to take hold of the ark of the covenant and step into the water.
God did not say I will dry up the river and then you can cross. No. He said, “show me your faith and step into the raging water of a flooded river.”
Something that caught my eye…the verbiage of verse 13. “And when the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the Lord…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.”
How does water pile up in one heap?
I have seen a heap of leaves, but I have never seen a heap of water.
The same verbiage is used in Exodus.
Chapter 15 features a song that Moses and the people of Israel sang to the Lord regarding their safe crossing of the Red Sea as they were being pursued by pharaoh and his men.
Notice the verbiage in verse 8 “At the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up; the floods stood up in a heap; the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea.”
There it is again. “The floods stood up in a heap.” ESV
NKJV puts it this way “The floods stood upright like a heap;”
If God’s plan for your life includes crossing a flooded river, you can have the faith that He will provide a way! He will build a bridge or bring a boat or stand the water up in a heap, but He will provide a way. Nothing is impossible with God.
“‘Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.” Jeremiah 32:17 ESV
Are you waiting for just the right time to step into the water? If that is the case, may I suggest the timing will never be perfect. Seek God’s will, listen to the Holy Spirit and just like Peter, call out to Jesus. “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” Matthew 14:28
Take that first step in faith’ then take a second and a third. Put your foot in the water and watch God pile up your troubled waters in a heap, allowing you to pass by on dry dirt.
“But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26 ESV