Faithful Obedience Leads Home
Joshua 3:17 While all Israel were crossing over on dry ground, the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, until the entire nation finished crossing over the Jordan.
It was time for the long journey in the wilderness to come to an end. The Israelites were now to cross over the Jordan river and enter into the promised land. Passing through the water seems to bookend the story which began with Moses as the leader and the crossing of the Red Sea. Now, the people are to show the same type of faith and trust in God. In complete obedience they follow God’s instructions and the priests with the Ark of the Covenant step into the water of the River Jordan. This is an act of faith because the river is at flood stage and the author makes great note of this. The river is overflowing and just as Moses had led the people to safety, beyond the reach of the destroyed Egyptian Army, now Joshua is leading the people on the final step of the journey, led by the presence of God, across the Jordan and into the promised land.
The mantle of leadership was passed from one who had been faithful to another who would reflect the characteristics of the other. The people would reflect the obedience of those who had crossed the Red Sea before and would now step into the flooded waters of the Jordan. Victory would finally be within reach for those who were coming home to live as God’s faith and obedient children. God provided a sign of fidelity to these, the chosen people. It was time to make it all the way home.
There are times when we are asked to step out in faith into what appears to be raging flooded waters. It’s hard to imagine being obedient when it looks like everything around us will be all-consuming. This just may be the very place in which we live, and yet, God calls us on us step out in faith.
Just as Joshua’s life was to mirror that of Moses, so our lives are to mirror that of Christ. That’s what Easter made possible! The resurrected Christ makes participation in him possible for all of those who have chosen to step into the flood waters of faith and be united with Christ. Joshua mirrored the leadership of Moses as a faithful servant. We are to mirror the servant-leadership of Christ who washed the disciples’ feet. Joshua and Moses led the people in faith through the waters. Jesus led the disciples to cross. It is in the troubling times that we find our greatest victory. If we refuse to go through the high water, or take up our cross and follow Jesus we will never get to experience the fullness of life that God has in store for us.
Faithful obedience on the part of the Israelites finally brought them home. Faithfully following Jesus will lead us to that place where we will finally feel that we are at home, children in the Father’s kingdom.
Lord, please help me to live my life in total obedience to you. Amen.