For the priests which bare the ark stood in the midst of Jordan, until everything was finished..." Joshua 4:10a
Standing in faith when our world seems as if it's going to drown us feels almost impossible. Winning the battles often relies on us being unwaveringly strong when we in the midst. How do we find such faith? How do we stand when the odds of winning seem so small?
1 Corinthians 16:13 galvanises us to "Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong."
We are also encouraged to look at the lives of others in the Bible who had to stand in trying circumstances. This strengthens our assurance.
Our story unfurls with the tribe of Israel crossing over the swollen Jordan River on their way to defeat Jericho. They were called to take over the wicked land of Canaan promised by God to their forefather Abraham many years before. The crossing over happened during the time of harvest, and the river was both deep and wide, and flowing fast. (Joshua 3:15).
The fact of it being harvest is significant, as the Israelites were crossing over to take the land — the harvest. The river being swollen is also worthy of note as, like the parting of the Red Sea forty years earlier, this was a supernatural crossing as well. Nothing prevents God from doing His will.
To commence the victory, as soon as the priests dipped their feet in the Jordan River, that massive, overflowing torrent ceased flowing immediately. To display to the warriors and families of their trust in God's Word, the priests were then to stand 'in the midst' of the held-back river until all that needed to cross over had done so — "until everything was finished"
Reading such stories without dwelling on them, gives us a simplistic view of the faith needed for such a task. They convict us of our own faith in times of testing. Imagine the fear that could have entered their hearts — if they let it? Visualise the predicament they were in. One of certain death. Their job was to show the inevitability of their faith, and sustain it. Others passing them were to gain strength by seeing their enduring peace in a situation where fear would have flooded anybody else. What was their confidence? That what God promised would come true right down to the last detail. For this, they were to put their lives on the line.
Studying these heroic acts challenges our own conviction. Could we have stood alongside them without fear? In that riverbed overshadowed by a towering flood, held back only by the Word of God? As the New Testament priesthood, could we have believed in that miracle? Or would we have feared, waiting for the wall of water to give way? Waiting for God's Word to fail?
Many times we don't know God's intentions in a situation, but we can have faith in this. If we are following the Lord as He says, He is with us through those times when the flooding waters seem as if they could thunder down on us. Our Lord is in those river beds of decision. He knows it's hard to put our faith to the test in grave and intense situations. But we see the old priesthood doing precisely what we are called to do. We should be encouraged to know that the Lord loves us just as much as He loved them.
Now frame the scenario from Jericho's perspective. They were in fear, as they knew of God's power. (Joshua 2:9-11) Under normal circumstances, they were reassured the Jordan would hold back the armies of any other enemy at this time of the year. But not God's army. They had heard of the Red Sea crossing. They knew floods cannot stop God. They had more belief in the power of God than some of us now!
"Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong." and you will win!
Today's prayer: Dear Lord, sometimes I need the faith of these priests, who stood purely by faith amidst towering waters. I love the stories, so help me become a story of faith myself. One where others can get strength from as they see me stand firm.
Photo by Ricardo Frantz