Joshua 3: 7-17
Bible Studies for Life, June 14
Gary Bulley, pastor
Living Stone Community Church, Cumming
Joshua, like Moses before him, has been called by God to lead the people of Israel. Through Moses, God worked many signs and wonders. Of course, we recall the magnificent and terrifying plagues leveled against Pharaoh and the Egyptians. We also bring to mind a cinematic vision of Moses casting his staff and parting the waters of the Red Sea so the Israelites could escape the oncoming Egyptians.
Through such works, God moved through the man He called to lead. Not only did He do this to preserve His people, but He also worked through certain individuals to show that He had given them authority. It is the same with Joshua.
Every need considered
As promised to Joshua, He would lead the people of Israel into the land promised to them through the covenant made with Abraham. To complete their appointed journey, Joshua and the Israelites camped on the banks of the Jordan River for three days prior to crossing. Understand that in leaving Egypt and entering the Promised Land, the Israelites were solely dependent upon God’s power to allow them to cross bodies of water.
As with Moses and the parting of the Red Sea, a similar display of God’s might and power was necessary to cross the Jordan. And although our imaginations may run wild with the thoughts of parting waters into towering walls providing safe passage, let’s turn our minds to the ground. For as miraculous as it is to see waters part from their natural flow and be restrained by a strong and mysterious force, the ground became dry which made passage possible for the things they carried.
Carts on wheels loaded with goods would have been difficult to move on muddy ground, even as the flow of river water was suppressed. The Lord considered every provision necessary for the success of the Israelites.
The power in a whisper
It is my belief that most of God’s miracles are not the towering-display-of-parting-waters variety, but the dryness of ground that leads to safe passage. We are drawn to stories where God’s power is loud as thunder, but the reality is it’s often a whisper. And if we’re still enough, we can hear His power; we can look back and see where He has given us safe passage, if not easy passage.
Consider Joshua and the Israelites at this moment. Scripture gives us no indication that the people were in doubt of God’s providence and power over His creation. He led them out of Egypt, provided for them during their wanderings in the desert, and established His presence among them through the Tabernacle. They were not ignorant of His power and strength, although at times they would forget in their circumstances.
Yet, on the banks of the Jordan River the Lord gave commands to Joshua, to which the Israelites were obedient. They knew they were called by God to enter the Promised Land and that God would provide. Do we have that confidence?
In your role as a leader, whether in church, business, community, or family, do you have confidence to do as God tells you? If you have leadership in more than one aspect of life, how can you take on those different responsibilities?
I do not merely suggest, but emphatically state, that any success we have that produces spiritual fruit is through our obedience to God.
Confidence in God’s power comes from recognition of who God is. Like the Israelites crossing the Jordan River, we can each reflect on who God is. The details of God’s presence with the Israelites’ deliverance from bondage, through the desert, and into the Promised Land serves as reminders to us … as does surrendering to the power of the Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
These point towards God’s reconciliation with man: He has power over waters and the grave. God serves His people well by serving His purposes first. Thus, we must have confidence to do what God calls us to do and lead in the fashion He instructs us, for He has a purpose He is allowing us to accomplish at His side.
Where obedience grows
Confidence in God’s power comes from obedience to God’s commands.
With the Red Sea before us and charging forces of Pharaoh’s command behind us, there’s little room for error. Without God’s provision, we are trapped. Yet, by following His commands we can experience God’s power, even as He delivered Moses and the Israelites as they too followed His commands.
With the Jordan River before us, and the vast and empty desert behind, there is only the command to move forward. Without God’s provision, we may try to find a way around this obstacle that’s hundreds of miles long, leading into other enemy camps, or even to a greater obstacle that we must go around. Yet, God will guide us as we follow His commands, even as he led Joshua and the people to safety through the Jordan River.
Is there a task that awaits your action? Perhaps it’s leading a presentation in the boardroom, developing a lesson for children’s church, or making an important decision for your family. As proven time in memoriam within the pages of Scripture and in evidence of our own history, we can see God’s power displayed in various ways, and often it’s in quiet and humble ways. Listen for His power, watch for His activity in your life, and be eager to seek His Word and obey His commands. Be encouraged in doing what He calls you to do, because we have proof that He provides for those who follow Him.