Wide eyed they stared at the river. “We have to cross over that?!” priest Eli exclaimed swallowing hard. Shaking his head in disbelief priest Jonah replied, “I know the stories of the Red Sea parting, but we were so young I barely remember it.” “Yeah,” Eli shrugged. “My mom carried me and made me shut my eyes. I just remember getting bumped around and people screaming to hurry.” Jonah turned to face Eli, “Well, it’s our turn now. O Lord, please help us!”
Many of us know the story of the Red Sea parting, but do you know that the Lord parted the Jordan River too? The above story imagines what the priests were feeling, (Joshua chapter 3). BTW, I imagined their names too. Let’s set the scene and look a little deeper.
PICTURE THE JAMES RIVER DURING A FLOOD.
What do you see? Turbulent water rushing downstream engulfing everything in its’ path. Branches and debris swiftly floating past in the churning murky river overflowing its’ banks. Does that sound about right?
At the time of the Israelites crossing, it was the rainy harvest season. Cold waters traveled down from Mount Hermon to feed and overflow the Jordan river making it look like the flooded James River. Would you like to cross a river that looked like that?
Those of us living around the James River have an idea of the river’s depth and the best place to cross it by looking at the familiar large rocks. The Israelites? Not so much! They had never seen the Jordan river before. For 3 days they contemplated their river crossing. I imagine that for 3 days the priests were doing a lot of praying.
PARTING LIKE THE RED SEA?
Did the Lord part the Jordan before they stepped into it like he parted the Red Sea? No! This is what they were to do:
And it shall come to pass,
as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the Lord,
the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan,
that the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off,
the waters that come down from upstream,
and they shall stand as a heap,
TALK ABOUT FAITH!
The priests had to step into a cold, turbulent, unfamiliar river onto a path they could not see before the river would part. Anxiously the Israelites watched to see who was going to step into the water first.
I can imagine the priest going first scrunching his eyes closed intensely praying as he cautiously stepped into the cold river. He was blind to the clear path only seeing muddy, rushing water. However, when in faith the priests stepped into it, the Lord parted the Jordan and made their path visible. WHEW! The Lord worked instantly receding the river into a heap 19 miles upstream at Adam.
Sometimes the Lord asks us to take an unfamiliar path in our lives. Like the priest had to first step out in faith before the waters parted, sometimes we have to first take a step of faith before the path He has cleared for us is visible.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for
and assurance about what we do not see,
Hebrews 11:1 NIV
The Lord already promised He would make a path for the Israelites, and He promises to make one for us, even when we are blind to the path before us.
I will bring the blind by a way they did not know;
I will lead them in paths they have not known.
I will make darkness light before them, And crooked places straight.
These things I will do for them, and not forsake them,
Our loving Lord is faithful to His promises. Just as the Lord promised to cross over before the priests, (Deuteronomy 31:3), He promised to go before us too.
And the Lord,
He is the One who goes before you.
He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you;
do not fear nor be dismayed,
LEADER OF THE PACK
By taking the first step into the Jordan river, the priests were leaders of the pack. Their action of faith encouraged the Israelites to follow their example. Sometimes the Lord asks us to lead others with our faith and sometimes we are a follower. We don’t have to be a priest to encourages others’ faith. We just have to take the first step of faith that others can follow.
Let your light so shine before men,
that they may see your good works
and glorify your Father in heaven,
Is there a step of faith you need to take?
Heavenly Father, as I write Hebrews 11:1 and say it aloud, show me what steps of faith you want me to take. As I follow Your plan, help me to trust that You will go before me and make my path visible. In Jesus name. Amen.
STEP OUT IN FAITH
May your day be filled with love and laughter!
For information on making Jesus Christ your Savior, email me or visit, http://www.peacewithgod.net/
Photo river, goetc
Photo only owls, terii2000
Photo penguins, Ian Parker