The curio cabinet slid into place on top of the table. Chairs stacked beside it. Picture frames, totes, and bags full of items, carefully but quickly placed high enough off the floor to be saved. We worked all night stacking boxes on totes and moving furniture.
The water was rising.
We had just moved up to Cherokee Village into a rent house while we waited to build. It was a beautiful spot right on the golf course and on the river. It was early Spring, and all of our stuff, our parents’ stuff, everything, was stored down in the basement.
People were talking about how the river seemed to flood every 8-10 years or so and how this just happened to be right in that time frame. You’ve never seen such a sight as a raging, flooding river overtaking its banks. Its waters were so powerful they could no longer be contained.
The water kept rising.
After working until about 2 A.M. stacking up items, we went upstairs and looked out the window. The river was not only out of its banks, but in the field and was creeping closer and closer with every passing minute.
Huge logs and debris rushed by as the waters continued to rage. Anything in its path would be swept away. And the sound, the sound of the river roaring was terrifying.
As we turn to our study this morning in the book of Joshua, we find them preparing to cross over the Jordan River. To get a clear picture of what they faced, let’s look at what the Jordan was like. Normally, it was about 100 ft wide and around 10 ft deep. However, as the scripture tells us in Joshua 3:15, the river was now flooded out of its banks. This was springtime and the snow caps from the mountains were melting, causing the water level to rise. This was no calm river they faced. But Joshua instructed them to follow the priests carrying the ark of the covenant and no matter what it looked like, they were crossing that river.
“And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap.” (Joshua 3:13)
Can you imagine what was going through their minds? The river was raging! It was out of its banks! Wouldn’t they be swept away? And the scripture says “the soles of the feet of the priests” not just the first one stepping into the water. Oh no. It wasn’t like, “here, let me dip my toe in the water and boom the waters part”. No. It was EVERY priests’ feet that had to be in the river! Now let’s be honest here, folks. If it had been me, I would have said let’s draw straws and the short straws have to go in front. I’d be begging to be in the back!
The miracle didn’t begin when God parted the water here. It began with the faith of those men that took that first step. The power of God that protected them until that last foot touched the river and then just as God had parted the Red Sea, He promised to do it again to the Jordan River.
“And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people; And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,) That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho. And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.” (Joshua 3:14-17)
Can we stop for just a second and praise God for how amazing He is?! Wow! Not only did they cross the river, but notice it says they passed over dry ground and they stood firm on it. The bottom of a river is caked with mud and debris. But these men stood on dry, firm ground. Even though the men may have looked at the flooded river and thought “this is crazy! What a horrible time to cross!” God had chosen the perfect time to display His power and glory to His people! The magnitude of what just happened was unimaginable, yet God did it!
Did you know, the same God who did that for the Israelites then, is the same God today who wants to provide for you?!
“When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour:” (Isaiah 43:2-3)
God is calling you to step out in faith today and follow Him. Whether that’s in a new job, missions, your finances, family, or even salvation, He wants you to take that first step and trust Him. Trust that He will protect you as the raging waters surround you. And that He will allow you to stand on the firm ground of His truth and promises!
Are you ready to take that step?