A story based on true events featuring Joshua and Israel.
Apologies. I won’t be telling you the whole story since you can read it wonderfully in the Bible. So I dare you to open it and read the story. But, what I would like to share to you now is an encouragement for times when you think you’re all alone and God seems far from you, or when you are unsure whether He’s still with you on the journey He has called you to take.
Before I came to this new home called a “seminary”, I remember being always encouraged with the story of Israel when God instructed the nation to cross the Jordan river so they may get their inheritance (Written in the Book of Joshua chapters 3 and 4.). In verses 3 and 4 this instruction was given:
“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.”
There are times when the Lord would call us to do something we have completely no clue about and what we only know is His instruction, and we feel this indescribable peace and assurance. In these instances, it is His will to not reveal all the details just as how it was like when Abraham obeyed and went though he did not know where he was going and in that it takes faith — such faith that only God can give and such that can only be grown by the Holy Spirit.
Yet in this, we are not asked to obey blindly for we have God’s promises; and as we obey, the Lord reveals how He is with us all along. Joshua 3:15–17 tells further of the story, which I love so much:
“Now the Jordan is in flood 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 . . . 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.”
This is a miracle. The river of Jordan is flooded, so full overspilling to the ground, but the Lord stopped it, He cut off the water flow and the people, numbering to more than a million, successfully crossed it. And yet, the most amazing about this miracle, is the Lord’s very Presence. We can see 3 things:
The everlasting Creator of heaven and earth went ahead of Israel. He instructed Joshua what to have the people do and all they were to do was to act on exactly as the Lord commanded. He had it all under His control.
The ‘I Am’ did not simply go ahead of His children but He went with them, “while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.”
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob did not finished with just going ahead and with His chosen nation but He went after them as it says in Joshua 4 (vv. 10–18).
Jehovah surrounded Israel: He was before him, He was with him and He was behind him.
How is this not enough to choose God over ourselves? How does this not suffice as a reason to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Jesus? How is this not of value to our attention?
I am grateful that God is so loving to remind His children the importance of communing with Him. There is so much to praise God for and the top reason has to be due to His love for us.
The Lover of souls has an invitation for us to simply spend time with Him, to pour out ourselves, our frustrations, our weaknesses, our failings, our complaints, our praises, our worship, our thanksgiving — our all to Him.