Consider where you came from and where you are at…For me I am around 2300-2500 miles or 3700-4000 kilometers. Consider what it took get there. Consider the impact the journey was on you and your life and your family. Consider the move from what was familiar and known to something new! When God calls us to it, He will bring us through it! He has a plan and a purpose! When I asked my parents and my in laws if I should leave the company I was working at or leave the country, they both said I would be crazy to leave the company at that time. I realized a year or so later after the move, that I had been obedient to God’s Word (without actually realizing it at the time) by being obedient to the first commandment with a promise…
1Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), 3SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH.
–from Ephesians 6
In Exodus written as the 5th commandment, it shows up as:
12“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.
–from Exodus 20
But it planted the seed and it was the beginning of the journey of God calling me and starting the incredible relationship He had planned from the beginning for me to have with Him! And the incredible blessing of raising our children in the knowledge and faith of knowing Him!
That move took effort! That move took time! That move took faith! That move took trust! Just as we see in today’s reading…
14So when the people set out from their tents to pass over the Jordan with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, 15and as soon as those bearing the ark had come as far as the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest), 16the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite Jericho. 17Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan.
–from Joshua 3
Just like these people, we had to move from the comfortable and known over to the radically unfamiliar. Just like these people, God had a plan to build up our trust and our faith in Him! For He didn’t want us to have a temporary time, but an eternal time where we put our hope and trust and faith in Him forever!
The unknown may seem scary…but we need to grab a hold of the truth that unknown to us isn’t unknown to God! God doesn’t get surprised! He knows the beginning and the end and everything in between. Jesus is our advocate. The Holy Spirit is our counselor. There is nothing that is impossible for God! His agenda is more important than ours! So everyday we should give up our agenda to Him so that His perfect plan can be accomplished in and through us! Just because things don’t play out the way we thought or planned, doesn’t mean they didn’t happen as God wanted! Consider what you learned! Consider what you discovered! Consider how it changed you and those around you! So don’t allow fear to hold you back! Trust in God! Or as we read throughout the Bible, “Fear Not, Just Believe!” In Joshua we read it as “Be Bold and Courageous!”.
Today’s reading continues on this note with…
9Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
–from Joshua 1
As I spoke with a friend yesterday and we shared, courage isn’t the absence of fear, it is the continuing despite the fear! God knows things are going to come up! As I said earlier, He isn’t surprised! We just need to put our hope and our trust in God! And allow our faith in Him to get us through it! He doesn’t want us to be freaking out…afraid…distressed…shaken up. So let’s just grab a hold of His hand and walk with Him through every step of every day!
So as today’s devotion speaks and teach us, let’s take a hold of 2 concepts…
- We need the courage to move past our fears and any unexpected challenges that arise
- We need the faith to believe that God is good and He is for our good
We need to trust His promises just like the Israelites did! The cool part is that whenever I face a new challenge, a new surprise, a new place, I reflect on the past and how He has shown up and gotten me through it to build up my faith and to build up my courage so that the fears and anxiety can be scattered by my faith and trust in God! When I think about it, a cheer from my hockey days comes up “You did it before You can do it again, Go God!” is how I tweak it. It’s not imagining or trying to put positive thoughts into my head, it is trusting in God! I remember the beginning of the journey when I didn’t know what this all meant, but I started to put my trust and then He lead me into and through and back out of situations to build up my story and my faith in Him! He showed me how to trust Him! He showed me how He is good to His Word and His promises! He revealed to me the promise found in His commandments and how even though I wasn’t aware of it that He would still fulfill it! He revealed to me that even though I didn’t think I was able or ready that in His power all things are possible for those who believe! He revealed to me just because I got it early, He will still keep His part of the bargain!
So can you trust Him? Do you trust that He is your provider? Do you trust that every good and perfect gift comes from Him? Will you leave and put your trust and hope and faith in God, the giver of the promises? Will you put it in Him rather than in the gifts? By putting our trust in Him, we don’t have to worry about the outcome or the plans we think we have, because we know that He has it all in His hands!
Today’s devotional closes with the following from the writer:
Allow me to share two important points from the book of Joshua:
1. When God led the Israelites across the Jordan River into the Promised Land, He chose the harvest season, which means the banks were swollen and the waters were high. God chose the most difficult time possible for His people to pursue the promise. Why? Because He wanted to demonstrate His power and His faithfulness. Be aware that He may do the same in your own life.
2. As soon as the first foot (of one of the priests) touched the water of the Jordan, the river was split in half and the people crossed into Canaan. What a breathtaking image to behold – the Levitical priests standing in the middle of the Jordan river holding up the Ark of the Covenant (a visual of God’s presence) while two million Israelites cross a dry river bed. God did the impossible for man and delivered on His promise. He will do the same for you and me as we choose to follow Him.
So as we reflect on that, remember just because God is with you doesn’t mean it is easy street! He is producing a story, a testimony, a way for others to get to see who He is in and through your life!
And reflect also on the fact that God is rarely early, God is never late, God is right on time! Did the river dry up before they started to walk in? Did a bridge of the water show up? It took faith! They had to start to step and then the water parted! Just because it seems impossible or too big for you to do it, doesn’t mean it won’t or can’t happen! As a song I hear play in my head whenever I hear the word impossible says “Impossible isn’t a word, it’s just an excuse not to try!” God is good to His Word! He will keep His promise to you just as He did to them as we choose to follow Him!
Today’s reading closes in Psalms
25Save us, we pray, O Lord! O Lord, we pray, give us success! 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We bless you from the house of the Lord.
–from Psalm 118