“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9 NJKV
There is a wonderful story about the Israelites crossing the Jordan River. Appointed by God through Moses, Joshua became the leader of the tribe of Israel. Commissioned to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land after 40 years in the wilderness, Joshua had already proven himself faithful when his tribe chose him among 11 others to spy out the land. Upon their return, Joshua and Caleb were the only two who encouraged the Israelites to take possession of the Promised Land of Canaan. Over and over, the Lord commanded Joshua not to be afraid and to be courageous for the Lord would go with him wherever he went.
As the Israelites approached the Jordan, the harvest rains flooded the river. The currents rushed wildly and water ran over the banks. Out of faith, Joshua looked at the river and inquired of the Lord. He did not look to the right or left of his circumstances. Instead, he asked the Lord, remembering full well what God had said to him.
“Only be strong and courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:7 NIV
I picture Joshua walking up to the river, thinking, “Well, this is going to be interesting.” He glanced back at the people, knowing some would be discouraged and fretful because that was their character since leaving Egypt. He turned back to the river and I imagined his words, “Lord, what shall we do? I have grumblers among us, who are acting like teenagers, and they are going to stir up the people. Their attitude is going to cause division. Let me remind You, Lord, they built golden calves even after you parted the Red Sea and fed them daily. You performed miracles which they forgot. In the desert we never lacked anything. So I trust in you.”
The Lord specifically directed Joshua on exactly what to do. In Joshua 3:7, God tells Joshua to command the priests, who carried the ark of the covenant, to step into the rushing river.
Picture this. Over a 2.5 million people are standing before the raging river, being told they are going to pass through. Did they believe in Joshua? Yes. Wearing their heavy robes, the priests walk up to the river to dip their toes in. (Joshua 3:15 NKJV). Do you think any of them were worried about this plan? Being of the flesh, I imagined some wondered. Did they trust Joshua to hear the commands of God? Yes. Joshua had proven over and over to the Israelites that God had anointed him to lead His people to the Promised Land.
The moment the priests’ feet touched the water’s edge, “the water from upstream stopped flowing” and “piled up in a heap a great distance away” (Joshua 3:16 NKJV). The priests stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on the dry riverbed without incident.
Nowhere in Scripture does it say Joshua expressed doubt or worry. He faithfully remembered the words of the Lord to be strong and courageous and believed God’s promises that He would never leave him. He mediated on the words God gave Him. He did not give a place for worry or doubt, so these hindrances fled from his mind.
When we have tough times, do we have the faith to dip our toes into the water of the Holy Spirit and listen to the words of the Lord? “Dipping our toes” is believing the Lord is true to His promises no matter how dire the situation may seem. Conversely, the enemy uses worry to stop our advancement into the places the Lord is calling us to. As the priests obeyed God’s command, they saw before their own eyes the faithfulness of God. Discovering God is true to His promises, it built confidence the Lord would fight for them as they continued on.
Are you meditating on the rushing river or the promises? Are you worried about how you will fulfill this next call on your life, or do you trust that God is guiding you every step of the way? What promises has God made to you that you can meditate on?
Like Joshua did, meditating on the faithfulness of God rather than on the barriers before you gives you strength to follow His lead along with the confidence to move forward. Praise the Lord, He is your Helper and Sustainer in every detail of your life.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10 ESV
When worry enters my mind and I lose my peace, I look for scriptures that speak of God’s promises to me. I speak them out and stand firmly on them again and again until worry escapes me – and then I look in expectation to see His promises fulfilled.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:3 NIV
Let’s bow and pray:
Lord, I ask that you forgive me when I mediate on worry and not on Your Word. Show me in Your Word all of the promises that You have for me. Show me how You are my Helper. Stir up my faith as I dip my toes into the “living” water. I release to You the worry I am dealing with right now and trust You as my Helper. You are faithful to Your promises. Thank You for caring so deeply for me and desiring me to walk free from worry. I lay my fears at Your feet and trust in You. You are God Almighty and Lord over everything in my life. My lips will praise and give honor to You in all my circumstances, as I meditate on your promises to me. Amen.