At the Rivers Edge
Ever been in a situation that seems just too big, too deep and basically moving way to fast that you feel it is impossible to cross or get through? Not to mention extremely LOUD? You begin to look for alternatives to get to the other side, but frankly there aren’t any. You might as well just take a seat and watch life just float on by. (metaphorically speaking of course) I’d like to share what its like to be at the water’s edge and have God deliver us across.
We begin our journey in Joshua chapter 3. To give a ‘brief ‘ summary of where we are on God’s time line, Moses has brought the Israelites out of Egypt and out of slavery. They are heading for the Promise Land, their inheritance, a place to call their own. Due to MANY circumstances (which could not be contained in this devotional) they wander for 40 years. Following Moses’ death, Joshua, whom now holds the reins of leadership, prepares the people to cross the Jordan River into the Land. Can you imagine with me, what it was like for Joshua as he opened Moses’ Will… “To Jeped I leave my sandals, to Eliazer my cloak, and to Joshua – THEM. The thousands, those who complain, the dusty ones. May Jehovah have mercy on your soul!” (TOTALLY kidding)
We pick up the story: Their tents pitched on the river’s edge. They could see it, after all these years, THERE it was! HOWEVER, the river stood between them and their inheritance. The river is at flood stage. They were SO close! Oh great, we get here and this is what we find, it is bigger, wider, faster and deeper than expected.
Joshua summons the people: “Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow the LORD will do AMAZING things among you.” (v.5 emphasis mine) Looking at the flooded river, yep amazing is what it is going to take! I love this ‘amazing’. In the Hebrew it is ‘pala’ (paw-law), meaning as you would think, amazing, wonderful, extraordinary. But there is MORE… Now track with me, we turn back to Genesis 18:14, this is the story where God tells Abe and Sarah that in their old age they will have a son and remember Sarah laughs (who wouldn’t!) God says, “Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son.” Too hard, it is the same ‘amazing’ word as in Joshua. Is anything too amazing for God, too hard for HIM?
The river is RAGING. Joshua has the priests carry the ark of the covenant, God’s very presence on their shoulders. “When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s water, go and stand in the river.” (v.8) There was no, ‘march in a straight line, head held high and SHOUT with all your might,’ (that comes later at the walls of Jericho) Just stand. Verse 15, “Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from up-stream stopped flowing.” Go God! As they walked to the middle of the river, ‘they stood firm on dry ground.’ Twelve men were chosen to gather a stone from the middle of the river and take it to the other side, building an altar. Being symbolic of God’s deliverance … at the river.
Here is a wonderful analogy for us. As the Israelites passed by, the priests stayed right there in the middle of the river, until all were safe. God’s presence staying in the middle of OUR circumstance until we are safely on the other side and carry on in our journey. We take note that God solidly and very clearly stated that He getting them through these troubled waters would indeed prove to them that what lies on the other side, (Canannites and all the other ‘ites’) they would (with His help) be able to conquer! (v.9,10)
Coming to the river requires a decision. There is most often a tendency to hover near the water’s edge. Like with Israel, it also is a meeting place with God, a place of dedication, devotion and purpose. But we are NEVER to stay there. Reminder, the land has already been spied out, no need to await for recon reports, you are GOOD to go! Our inheritance (joy, freedom, assurance, security, love), awaits us on the other side. Our option? Stay and just watch the water go by or turn back … into the desert, wander some more, even go back into captivity.
Us… ‘too hard!’ God … AMAZING! Jesus says in Luke 18:27 “What is impossible with men, is possible with God.” God takes the ‘im’ in impossible and turns it into ‘I AM’. God crosses with us, stays with us and delivers us.
We do as the 12 leaders did, we take something from the river as a reminder and build it in our heart as an altar before God, HERE and now YOU preserved me, YOU brought me through, YOUR presence stayed there in the middle of it all, to see me to the other side!
I spoke this a few years ago at a women’s retreat, in the middle of the aisle I had a treasure chest full of stones. I felt God wanted us as women to identify ‘our river’. We, standing on one side, and NEEDING to cross over to our inheritance in God, taking possession. The gals were encouraged to take a stone and write on it (pen provided) what was ‘too hard’, what they wanted – NEEDED from God. I know the gal most impacted was the one upfront, looking back into the eyes of the women. God took me to the river’s edge, I dipped my toe in, then crossed, not alone, never alone.
Delivering waters need to be crossed. God with us, God in us, God delivering us from what we deem impossible.
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.” – Heb. 10:24)