Act of Faith
One foot at a time…
May 28th, 2019
This last Sunday we had the pleasure of visiting a story of one of the most telling events, related to the expectation our faith.
Pastor has been working through a series on the book of Joshua and this particular Sunday we were treated to Joshua 3 which details the Israelites crossing of the Jordan river.
Very few people, regardless of their belief structure, aren’t familiar to some extent with the crossing of the Red Sea as the people of God escaped from Egypt. That event seems to be a big deal in the minds of many, at the same time there aren’t many of us who take time to consider a similar event that took place sometime later, as the nation of Israel was finally granted access to the promised land.
The many years of slavery and wandering in the wilderness came to an end as the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant stepped into the Jordan that day.
And when the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap.
Joshua 3:13 (ESV)
So often we are asked to do something similar in our day to day walk with the Lord.
God places on our hearts the direction to take an action and many times the action we are being prompted to do, makes very little sense.
In this case, God told Joshua and Joshua directed the priest to carry the Ark. Typically, the only ones who carried the Ark were the Levites. This would have been a very curious instruction, but they followed it, nonetheless.
Joshua told them they were to take the Ark and lead the procession of the people to the edge of the Jordan river which at this point was overflowing its banks, much more than the normal flow. And then to step into the edgewater.
It made absolutely no sense, but Joshua indicated to them that by doing this, and invisible damn would hold back the waters from flowing so that everyone could cross the bed of the Jordan in safety.
The priests did as they were instructed and when their feet touched down at the brim of the Jordan; the waters were halted upstream were stacked up in a heap.
The laws of hydrodynamics dictate that moving fluid will always seek the path of least resistance. But in this case the restraint on the water was apparent, not only to prevent the water from flowing downstream but also from further flowing over the banks to submerse the town called Adam.
Instead, the water just piled up in a heap where it had been halted, in defiance of the rules of nature.
Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan.
Joshua 3:17 (ESV)
The people were able to cross in safety and if you’re following the story closely, you’ll see in verse seventeen something that is even more miraculous, “all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan.”
Just as same as the crossing of the Red Sea earlier, the bed of the river was dry when they crossed. We would expect damp, muddy soil and sediment would be the remnants of the flowing water being held back, but instead the way was made dry.
Stepping out on faith
God so often calls on us to step out into the impossible, the unformidable, and the uncomfortable. He wants us to do this to demonstrate that we are trusting in his ability to hold back the waters and make the way dry for us.
That first step into the water doesn’t proclaim that we can or will overcome the obstacles in our path, but it declares with certainty that we have faith in the God who has placed trust and hope in our hearts to accomplish that which he’s directed us to do.
As our feet touch down into edge waters of the river, powers that defy imagination, go to work to make a way for us.
The entire premise of redemption is based on faith. Jesus bore our sins to the grave so we might be free from the condemnation that comes from those sins, but that mercy and grace is not available to us until we step out in faith and accept from him that forgiveness.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20 (ESV)
“I live by faith in the Son of God”, is the declaration we hold to as we cross the riverbed from death into life, leaving behind the sin that encumbers us.
And once to the other side of the river, we are to step out in faith on a consistent basis too.
By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
Hebrews 11:5-6 (ESV)
It is by faith we are no longer found in our sins, as we step forward onto the path that God has prepared for us, just as he prepared the dry riverbed for the Israelites to cross the Jordan.
It’s just an “Act of Faith” that makes the difference in our wandering in the wilderness or crossing over to the promised land. Just as it was in the day of Joshua.
In the Grace of Jesus!