Read Joshua 3:14-17
14 So the people left their camp to cross the Jordan, and the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Covenant went ahead of them. 15 It was the harvest season, and the Jordan was overflowing its banks. But as soon as the feet of the priests who were carrying the Ark touched the water at the river’s edge, 16 the water above that point began backing up a great distance away at a town called Adam, which is near Zarethan. And the water below that point flowed on to the Dead Sea until the riverbed was dry. Then all the people crossed over near the town of Jericho.
17 Meanwhile, the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant stood on dry ground in the middle of the riverbed as the people passed by. They waited there until the whole nation of Israel had crossed the Jordan on dry ground. (NLT)
We are regularly told to trust that God will come to our aid. We just as regularly experience that help arrives at the last minute! It is as if God waits to see if we do truly believe he keeps his promises. He tests our faith. We may not like it, but we can’t do much about it.
One such episode is described in our text today. The Israelites are crossing the Jordan to the Promised Land. No pontoon bridges existed. It would take supernatural intervention to get them across the flooded river. Intervention came in the form of what we believe to be an earthquake or subsidence at a narrow part of the river upstream. In a miracle of timing, the river was dammed up at that point.
But the priests who led the group were not to know that. They had to get their feet wet first. Imagine stepping into the water wondering if it would dry up as promised. That was really a test of faith. It seems God wants us to ‘get our feet wet’ by taking steps of obedience before seeing signs of his presence.
Many of us would prefer to wait until God smooths the way before embarking on that way. But that is not how God usually works. Step out first, then expect God to keep faith with us. We may get our feet wet but we won’t be left to drown.