Crossing the Jordan
Open Your Bible
Joshua 3:1-17, Exodus 25:10-22, Hebrews 10:19-22
If I’d been the foreman of the Jordan River Crossing Committee, I would have had a bridge-building exploratory team, a fording contingency, a subcommittee on rafts, and a weather detail. I might have been tempted to squat on the banks and take soil samples in an attempt to analyze our chances because I love to get organized, make a plan, and then get to work. But the Israelites were specifically instructed to follow at enough of a distance to be able to discern which way the ark was going. The ark went ahead, and the people just had to hang back and watch.
There are few things more difficult for me than to hang back and watch. Unfortunately, taking control of every job is not as practical as it seems. Turns out, I don’t always have all the information, and I’m not always right. This is a hard lesson to learn because humans are adorably hard-headed and obstinate.
God was teaching Israel to consecrate themselves to Him, to learn to walk in His ways, not their own. We are prone to put our own plans on a pedestal, then consult and seek the direction of God as an afterthought. Do you ever find yourself attempting to get Him to approve your plans, instead of seeking first His plan? Even when our plans seem so clever and fitting, we are called to wait on the Lord.
Wait on Him and He will do wonders. His ways and thoughts are higher than our own (Isaiah 55:8–9). We often try to nip at His heels, hoping we can nudge God along to do things our way. Instead, we ought to look for His timing and His wisdom, even when it may not be what we expect. Walking the ark out into the middle of a river hardly seems like a viable crossing plan. But this miracle that God performed among His people was indicative of how He works: in His own ways, unexpectedly, wondrously.
God called His people to dedicate themselves to His ways and leave the specific means to Him. J. Hudson Taylor, a missionary to China in the 1800s, once said, “God’s work, done in God’s way, will never lack God’s supplies.” We are to trust God for the means to accomplish what He purposes and consecrate ourselves to follow His plan, “because the LORD will do wonders” among us and in His own time (Joshua 3:5).
How can we consecrate ourselves like this? Joshua is very clear: “Come closer and listen to the words of the LORD your God” (Joshua 3:9). We do not have a trail of priests and an ark of the covenant to follow. We have an even greater priest (Hebrews 4:14), who has opened access to the mercy seat and leads us safely through the deep waters to the greater promised land. He is the one who does wonders among us. Consecrate yourselves to Him.