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Essential Weekly – Joshua 3

What circumstance are you in right now that feels incredibly impossible and exhausting?

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No really, take a pause and think of how you have really been feeling lately.

It probably feels like an uphill battle. Perhaps your circumstance or struggle seems pointless, hopeless, & all together disappointing.

On a personal level, I often feel terrified in these moments. I feel as if God won’t provide for me. I fear that He’ll forget about me and sometimes I fall into the enemy’s trap of believing He doesn’t care about me at all. However, these are fears and lies for a reason. God is the ultimate provider whether we can see it and believe it or not.

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Joshua was walking through a situation where it would have been easy to believe that God was not present. It was finally time for the Israelites to begin their journey into the promised land. This meant crossing the Jordan River, a seemingly impossible feat.

However, Joshua prayed to the Lord and even beyond that, he listened for his voice. “And the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant: ‘When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go and stand in the river,’ ”” (Joshua 3:7-8 NIV).

It’s incredible to see the way the Lord was consistently reminding Joshua of His promise to be with Him! What a beautiful picture of love and affirmation from God. Often we call out to God in our troubles and pray for His voice, but we don’t listen close enough to hear Him speak. We don’t trust that He truly will answer us, but this mistrust can sometimes lead us to missing His message.

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But Joshua is a beautiful example of what happens when we trust that God WILL show up in the midst of the impossible.

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Verse 15 explains that the Jordan River was at its flood stage. This particular month was known to have the deepest and widest waters. It was terrifying and dangerous, and yet God commanded a number of priests to walk straight into it carrying the ark of the covenant.

It’s easy to imagine all of the Israelites were probably wondering why God would choose such a time of year to cross the river. He could have made them cross earlier, perhaps when the waters were lower. If we are honest, we think with this same pattern quite often.

If God can save us from pain, fear, and difficulty, why doesn’t He? We create narratives in our minds of how God could have spared us the trouble. We wonder why He sends us through the waters and wastelands when there are easier times and ways.

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However, when we do this, we forget two things… First: We are here to glorify God, not ourselves. Second: faith is our strongest tool.

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“Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho,” (Joshua 3:15-16 NIV).

The water stops; God performed a miracle in response to their obedience and faith. Had the Lord chosen a month with calm, low waters, then the result of His miracle would have been less monumental. Instead, God wanted to remind His people that He was on their side and reveal a picture of His power. Had God chosen to stop the Jordan River before the priests took a step, then God would not have been exalted through the power of faith. Instead, God chose to teach these priests a wonderful lesson about free falling into His protection.

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You see, God is always going to provide. He even tells us in Isaiah 43:20, “I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wastelands”. He will always show up in the midst of our challenges, pain, and difficulties – because through them He can be glorified. We can be used as an example of His miraculous strength and power.

It’s not easy. We have to be willing to take the first step. God will part the waters, quiet the storm, and heal our wounds, but we have to be willing to take a step into the deep first. The priests obediently stepped into the Jordan, reckless waters and all, because they knew that God would never forsake them.

Where do you need to take a step of faith today? How can you live this out, believing God will provide for all of your needs?

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Pray with me…

Lord, I pray that you meet me in this moment. Clear away all distractions and focus my eyes directly on you. I have fallen into the trap of believing that you are not big enough for my battles. Erase this lie from my mind and cast out all fear. Help me to know where I need to step out in faith that you will go before me today. Help me to follow your voice obediently and know that you are working all things for my good and to glorify you. I love you Lord, thank you for all you have done for me.

Amen