I’ve been discovering lately that although, I enjoy many “new” things, others come with a bit of apprehension. I wonder if the Israelites felt the same joy and anticipation entering into the Promised Land? For forty years they had lived in the wilderness as nomads. Following a pillar of cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night they experienced a type of security in the sameness of their life. But then things began to change. Joshua replaced Moses as their leader,. God began to give them new instructions and the manna they were used to stopped appearing. It was time to receive God’s promise of a land flowing with milk and honey. But first they had to cross the Jordan River.
Joshua gave them three days notice in which to prepare for the crossing. These instructions included the need to purify themselves and how to follow the Levitical priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant. The purification process caused them to put away anything “unclean” from their presence and set apart themselves for the Lord. It was a time of renewing the reality of why they had left Egypt and the actual purpose of being God’s people. These were all things they could do. Even though they were headed to the new land, none of the steps in themselves were difficult. But change was coming.
I have often wondered how the priests felt when Joshua ordered them to “take a few steps into the river and stop there”. What courage it must have taken for Joshua to declare that the water would stop upstream and become a wall so they could pass through on dry land. Remember the Jordan river was overflowing its banks because it was harvest time, so it wasn’t a lazy or shallow river at this time. But the priests did as Joshua commanded, the river did what Joshua said and the people passed over on dry ground! It must have been amazing to experience this miracle. Joshua and Caleb both had the memory of how God had opened the Red Sea for Moses, but I can imagine Joshua having to still his mind from going to “but that was Moses and he has his rod”, I but I am only me! (Well, those might have been my thoughts!)
God, through Joshua, led His people into new levels of trusting and faith through change. The Israelite’s had gotten comfortable with the manna routine, but now they had to forage for their food. They had to adjust to a new leader and his ways. The pillars of fire and cloud stopped directing their movements–which caused even more changes. These were all good changes. They were changes that brought them closer to inheriting this land God had promised them.
He is still leading us to new levels of faith and trusting Him, and many times it is through the tool of change. Some change, if it is OUR choice, seems easier than choices outside of our control. Covid 19 has brought much unwanted change to many people. Lost jobs or businesses, death of loved ones or simply having to add masks and hand sanitizer to our shopping list means change. For many depending on where you live: wildfires tornadoes, or hurricanes have forced change as well. God knew crossing the Jordan would necessitate change for His people. He understands all the things that bring change in and through us. We must learn to lean on Him even more. I believe good things are coming as we navigate these changes. If you are in a season of forced change, please know the grace of God is with you. You are not alone and He has a plan to bring you through this season with even more fruit. If you know people who have been forced to change, please pray for them. Support them. Love them. Help them.
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you. Isaiah 26: 3