It is in the writings of Joshua, Moses’ successor as Israel’s leader, that we get great insight into the lives of the 2nd generation of God’s chosen people. In chapter 3 they are at the banks of the Jordan River. Levitical Priests are carrying the Ark of the Covenant, God’s people are following behind, and the River is now the only thing standing between them and possession of the land God had promised their forefathers to give them.
I use the term “only” rather loosely, given that this large body of water is no small feat to cross, especially during harvest season.
But why though? Why is the River even a thing? Why can’t they just be in the land already! Haven’t they and their ancestors been through enough?
We sometimes find ourselves in similar situations. We are trekking along, on our way to having a goal met, a desire attained, a promise kept, and out of nowhere we end up standing before a Jordan River of sorts. That large mass blocking; stopping us in our tracks; putting the brakes on everything! Maybe your Jordan River is an illness, the loss of a loved one, a relationship gone south, unemployment, the effects of a national pandemic or perhaps the perils of inclement weather conditions have flooded the banks of your life and you just don’t get it! Haven’t you and your family been through enough?
Well, let’s go deeper.
In Joshua 3, he says to the Israelites, “when you see the ark … follow it… from a distance of about 2,000 cubits… as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the Lord…dip their feet in the Jordan, its waters … will be cut off ….”
You see, at this point in Israel’s history, the Ark of the Covenant represented God’s presence. When God said, through Joshua, “follow it,” He was saying “follow Me.” When he said to follow it from a distance of over ½ a mile, he was telling them “follow Me in such a way that all of the people can see Me.” If they failed to follow Him they’d be lost. If they failed to follow Him from this specified distance only a few in the front would be able to actually see Him and receive His guidance, leaving the others with an obstructed view.
Verses 15-17 say that as soon as the Priest dipped their feet in the Jordan, “the waters … stood still…and all Israel crossed [the Jordan] on dry ground.” Just as God said it would!
The bottom line is this:
As soon as the priests did the next right thing… as soon as they did what they knew to do– carry the ark and dip their feet, all of Israel was able to do the next right thing, what they knew to do– follow God. The end result: another miracle, another promise kept: a trek on dry ground into the land of Canaan.
As you find yourself at the water’s edge, baffled, scared, angry, confused, and tired, do what you know to do. Do the next right thing. Sure, there are a flood of unknowns in your situation. Do the thing that is known. For these people, all they knew was to “dip their feet in the water’s edge” and follow that ark.
So what did they do?
They dipped, then followed.
For you, the next right thing may be to get up and go to work tomorrow…on time. Or take a shower and get dressed. Or cook a meal and eat it. Or lay in the bed and rest. Or maybe all you know to do is play a card game with the kids. Call a friend. Write a journal entry. Read a book. Write a poem. Sing a song. Worship. Watch a funny movie. Pray. Read your Bible. Draw. Watch a church service or Bible Study online.
When you can’t figure it all out, when every step leading to God’s promise can’t be traced, when a river overflowing at its banks stands between you and your victory, by faith, dip your feet in the edge; do what you know to do, and watch God set still the waters of that river as you walk across on dry ground passed what once seemed impassable.
The end result: another miracle, another promise kept.
How can I be so sure? Well, the Bible tells us who wins in the end. For God loves the world so much that He gave His Son to die for all who believe. Death, where is your sting? Grave, where is your victory? Christ made a public spectacle of our enemy at Calvary. We, therefore, have victory! To live is to wake up every day blessed to show the love of Christ. To die is to gain eternity forever in His presence.
We win, y’all. We. Win!
With that in mind, go ahead and do what it is you know to do. Do the next right thing: dip your feet and follow your Father.