“the water above that point began backing up a great distance away at a town called Adam, which is near Zarethan.” (Joshua 3:16a NLT)
The children of Israel had received affirmation from God that it was time to begin the conquest of their Promised Land. There was just one problem – the Jordan River. Most of the people who were then living hadn’t personally seen the crossing of the Sea as on dry land when God delivered their ancestors from Egypt. And the plot thickened because God instructed the priests whose responsibility it was to carry the Ark of the Covenant to lead the way. All they had to do was take a few steps into the river and God would do the rest.
That’s all well and good, but it was harvest season and the banks of the Jordan we’re overflowing. To step into that raging river would be a very precarious step, demanding courage, and lots of faith. Add to their dilemma, the place the Lord chose to begin backing up the flow of the river was “a great distance away…” Obviously, to guess how long it took for the riverbed to dry is conjecture, but it would be safe to say it took a while.
In my mind’s eye I see that mass of humanity, likely covering miles, waiting to cross the river, but being unable to even see it, let alone have a clue as to how long it would be before they were able to cross it. I can almost hear some of the conversations: “Isn’t it exciting we’re going to begin taking possession of our Promised Land today?” To which a brother responds: “Sure I’m excited! But how long is it going to take? We’ve been waiting days, and then the officers tell us to prepare to move out, but no one’s moving. What’s going on?”
Have you ever prayed about something you believed strongly God was leading you to do? He’s given you clear instructions and promised He’d be with you every step, but the proverbial pieces aren’t fitting together. Time passes and it seems you’re just spinning your wheels?
That’s how I felt about starting this Blog. It was a dream, then a vision, then God finally put me in the right place at the right time to meet the right person to make my dream a reality. It literally took years. But while I didn’t realize it, God was preparing the way and working in me to make sure I was prepared when the “riverbed was dry.”
How about you? What has God laid on your heart to do? What step of faith is He leading you to take, but the timing just doesn’t seem right? Perhaps it’s time to put your toes in the water. Nothing happened for the Israelites until the priests put their feet in the water. Then that only began the process, it didn’t immediately dry the riverbed.
Faith isn’t about making demands of God to carry out our will, it’s patiently waiting, trusting His clock to keep perfect time, then alerting us that it’s time to move. Remember “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” (Hebrews 11:1 NLT) If we could see every move God was making, it wouldn’t be faith, it would be sight.
Paul reminds us: “For we live by believing and not by seeing.” (2 Corinthians 5:7 NLT) The Psalmist reinforces that by telling us: “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” (Psalm 119:105 NLT) God doesn’t give us a flood light to light the whole path, but a lamp to show us the next step.
He didn’t command the priests to carry the Ark of the Covenant to the middle of the river until the bed was dry, but that wouldn’t have happened had they not taken the first few steps. What steps is the Lord leading you to take toward the vision or dream that He has given you? Perhaps He’s already started holding the proverbial river back, but it’s so far away you can’t see it. Trust Him and take that next step.
Blessings, Ed 😊