Hard times happen … places where our back is against the wall and there seems to be no solution, nowhere to go. When our way has been thwarted or the path seemingly closed. When everything seems impossible and confusing. So, what do we do?
The Problem of the Jordan
In Joshua 3, the Israelites had wandered for forty years in the wilderness because of their unbelief. Finally, their children, now grown, came to the Jordan, which was a raging river during that time of the year, impossible to cross.
What do you do when what you need seems unreachable?
Following God in the Crisis
God gave Joshua instructions to have the priests lead with the Ark of the Covenant, which represented the presence of God. When their feet touched the water of the Jordan, the river parted. In fact, it backed up from the city of Adam to the Dead Sea—a distance of 30 miles! The people walked across to the promised land on dry ground.
They met their problem head on and overcame it simply by following God. And we must do the same. Whatever our raging river, God has promised to take us through if we will intently listen to His precise instructions and follow Him.
The Purpose of the Exercise
But it is not enough with God to merely take us through the river. He always has more. During this crisis moment, several things happened that we can read about in Joshua 3–4. Notice the purposes that can be accomplished if a nation will follow God through a crisis.
The Lord can be manifested as the God of Wonders.
“Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you” (3:5 NASB).
Godly leaders can be established as those who have God with them.
Now the Lord said to Joshua, “This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you” (3:7).
Leaders can be taught a much-needed lesson: how to patiently wait and see God’s salvation.
“You shall, moreover, command the priests who are carrying the ark of the covenant, saying, ‘When you come to the edge of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan’” (3:8).
The entire nation can realize that God can be with them, building their faith for the challenges ahead.
Joshua said, “By this you shall know that the living God is among you, and that He will assuredly dispossess from before you the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Hivite, the Perizzite, the Girgashite, the Amorite, and the Jebusite” (3:10).
God can be seen as the Lord of all the earth, superseding nature itself.
“Behold the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is crossing over ahead of you into the Jordan” (3:11).
God can take an entire nation through their problems.
All the nation … finished crossing the Jordan (4:1).
A memorial can be established to remind the next generation of the greatness of God.
Those twelve stones which they had taken from the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. He said to the sons of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’ then you shall inform your children, saying, ‘Israel crossed this Jordan on dry ground.’ For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed, just as the LORD your God had done to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed; that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, so that you may fear the LORD your God forever” (4:20-24).
It would be tragic to go through a crisis and never look up to God. Not only would we miss God’s help, but we would never experience the purposes of the moment. Our lives would continue to be lived in merely humanistic ways, and all that we could have experienced of God will have been lost.
Father, keep us from missing the point in the current crisis. I pray that we will get our marching orders from You and follow them to the letter. And, in the midst of Your deliverance, I pray that all Your purposes will be accomplished in us and through us in ways that remind the next generation of Your greatness—that You alone are the Lord of all the earth!