When the Jews who left Egypt found themselves trapped at the Red Sea, God miraculously parted the waters and let them walk through on dry ground. They were newly redeemed and didn’t know how to face their enemies. Now the second generations finds themselves in the same situation, but God doesn’t bail them out so quickly, They know more about Him and have grown in the faith, so more is required of their faith. That’s how it is with us, too. That’s why it seems our tests get harder and harder – because they do! God keeps stretching our faith and expecting more and more of us.
God’s directions were for the priests to go first. Priests were the go-betweens representing God to man and man to God. Each believer today is a priest (1 Peter 2:5-9), so these priests picture us. They were expected to carry the Ark of the covenant, which was God’s throne and represented His Presence with the people, into the Jordan River. Normally that would be no big deal for the Jordan River is usually about 2 to 3 feet deep and only 20 or so feet wide. But in flood stage, which was when the Jews were to cross, it became ½ mile wide and 12 feet deep. So walking across the bottom was no option for the priests!
In addition the walk into the water was no pleasant stroll where the water quietly lapped around your ankles and slowly got deeper. The water was raging and boiling as it rushed down to the Dead Sea. And the walk into the water was very, very steep. Once the priests started over the top there was no stopping or turning back until they got to the bottom. Carrying the heavy Ark didn’t make it any easier! Now if God would have opened the waters while they watched it would have been easy for the priests to enter the water, but God told them the waters wouldn’t separate until they put their foot into the Jordan (Joshua 3:13). That meant they had to trust God and commit to obeying Him before they saw His deliverance! Sound familiar to what God expects of you?
But guess what happened? Immediately the waters opened and God even thought to dry the river bed instantly so they had a dry surface to walk on (Joshua 3:14-17). They took the Ark into the middle and stood there while the people crossed. That symbolized God’s Presence holding back the waters for them. The opening was quite wide in order to allow 2 ½ million people to cross. No doubt they remembered what God did for their parents. God was showing them He was the same and He would do the same for them – but He expected them to act in faith.
We, too, are required to live by faith, not sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). The story is told of a woman who was known for her faithful obedience to God no matter what obstacles were in her life. One day a friend asked her what she would do if God told her to run and jump into a wall. She replied that it was her job to run and jump and it was God’s job to take care of the wall. Maybe you feel like you are running into a wall. Don’t worry about the wall. Just make sure you do the running and let God take care of the wall!
(If I can answer questions or offer personal counsel, or if you would like a free copy of my Spiritual Warfare Handbook, email me at Jerry@ChristianTrainingOrganization.org or download it from http://sw.christiantrainingonline.org/. My next book, Spiritual Warfare in the Bible, which is a more advanced treatment of spiritual warfare, is also available there for free.)