Step into the river!

Israel was at the door to the Promised Land once again. The second generation, the children of those who had left Egypt were now presented with the opportunity to take what God had promised them. Would they see the hardships and turn back as their parents had done? Would they allow fear to drive them to faithlessness? God said, “Be strong and courageous!” So spies were sent out on reconnaissance missions. Plans were made. The people were on the move. Then, they met their first obstacle- yep, there it was- a river that stretched along the entire border of Canaan, flowing at flood stage. What could they do? They turned to the God who made rivers and He said, “Step into the river and I’ll stop its flow!” In obedience to this seemingly impossible directive, Joshua placed the Ark of the Covenant on the shoulders of 12 priests and told them to walk into the river!

Joshua tells the story – “… as soon as the feet of the priests who were carrying the Ark touched the water at the river’s edge, the water began piling up at a town upstream called Adam, which is near Zarethan. And the water below that point flowed on to the Dead Sea until the riverbed was dry. Then all the people crossed over near the city of Jericho. Meanwhile, the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Lord’s covenant stood on dry ground in the middle of the riverbed as the people passed by them. They waited there until everyone had crossed the Jordan on dry ground.” (Joshua 3:15-17, NLT)

I’ve always wondered what it was like to be one of those priests. What did they think as they waded into that river? How long did it take before they saw the miracle start to happen? Did they hesitate, even for a moment? This story from Joshua reminds me that if I want to enjoy God’s providence I must be prepared to be obedient and take the step of faith before I see the result!

It’s not hard to jump on the bandwagon once we see the miracle in progress, is it? But, it is a real challenge to do what God tells us to do when all we have is a promise!

For example, I believe in the principle of tithing, that is, giving away the first 10% of my income for charity and the work of God in the world. I also believe that Jesus promised that God would bless the generous person who puts His work first in their finances. When my own financial needs were pressing, it was an act of faith to write those checks on the first of the month, giving away a substantial sum of money. But, I stepped into the river and throughout my life He’s always provided for my needs. Now, it’s not hard at all, because I’ve experienced His provisions.

The churches I’ve led through the years have come to moments of decision, when it was important to move forward in obedience, but when it seemed impossible to do so. At that moment, we had the choice of two roads – fearful retreat or faithful advance. Like the Israelis, my experience has been- to this day – that IF we’re moving in obedience to God’s directive, He does what needs to be done so that we can move ahead.

So, Believer, is there a river God wants you cross?
Then, stop talking about the decision and ‘step into the river?’

This principle applies in so many areas of our life in Christ.
Forgiveness is often a step of faith, offered when we just don’t think we can actually do it, and God gives us grace.
As I’ve mentioned, tithing is a step of faith.
Perhaps God is calling you to reduce your standard of living so you can spend more time doing ministry work. That’s a step of faith, isn’t it?
Has He called you to take on a new responsibility and you’re stalled, focused on the impossibilities? Step into the river!

The Bible says- “What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see .. So, you see, it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that there is a God and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” (Hebrews 11:1,6 NLT)

Step into the water,
Wade out a little bit deeper.
Wet your feet in the water of His love.
Step into the water,
Wade out a little bit deeper.
Come, join angels singing praises
To the Lamb of God.

There is vict’ry for the Christian
Who walks the narrow way.
There has been a prize appointed
For the soul who does not stray.
Oh, I want to live for Jesus,
Be all that I should be
So that I can rest with Him
Forever, live eternally.

© 1981 Homeward Bound Music. 1984 Assigned To Kirk Talley Music (Admin. by Integrated Copyright Group, Inc.) CCLI License No. 810055

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