Today you will know that the living God is among you. Joshua 3:10 (NLT)
Joshua had led the people of Israel to the Jordan River. They were going to enter the land of Canaan. The river was at flood stage and all of the people had to cross. That was surely a dangerous proposition. Not only was the river dangerous but after they crossed it, they were going to be venturing into the unknown. On the other side of the river were lots of different enemy peoples.
As Joshua came to relay the instructions to the people that God had relayed to him, he said “Today you will know that the Living God is among you.” The Living God was among them in the way of the Ark of the Covenant. God spoke to Moses from the Ark. It was known that this was his presence in their midst.
The Ark would lead the way making the path clear. God would go before. But I think what Joshua meant was “Today you will experience God.” As the people walked to the swollen river, I wonder what they thought. Did it seem impossible to cross that especially with woman and children? Did they look ahead and say “We can’t get there from here?”
We do that don’t we? We look at where God is leading and say “WOW! That looks like more than I can handle.” We stop and say things like “I have to pray about it” or “Maybe now is not the right time for this.” What if the Israelites had done that? “Lord, we can’t step out now because we have to pray about this and well, we’ve been wondering for 40 years, surely a few more days won’t matter.”
We don’t have a physical Ark to follow now but we do have God’s presence. He promises it to us in the form of the Holy Spirit. He is leading us and telling us to take the next step. He is telling us to trust that he has prepared the way.
The priests, who were carrying the Ark, went to the river’s edge and stepped in. The Bible says the water stopped a distance away and became a wall of water. Below where they were standing, the rest of the water drained into the sea.
What if? What if we trusted that God was going before us? What if we walked to the water’s edge even though it looked too scary to cross? What if we stepped in (even when we were afraid) to see what God would do? Would we, like the people of Israel, know who God really was?