by: Pastor Joey Vazquez
Joshua 3:15 (NLT) 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, the water above that point began backing up a great distance away at a town called Adam, which is near Zarethan.
The Israelites finally reached the moment that they were all waiting for. After traveling around the wilderness for forty years, they were now on the move to cross over the Jordan River and into the promised land where their first challenge would be conquering the city of Jericho. But before that, they had to face a major obstacle. They had to cross the Jordan River. The problem was that at the time that they were crossing it, the river was at its highest level and where they were crossing it was one of its widest points. The river was at flood stage and it was about two miles to the other side. The question that comes to mind is why the Lord would lead his people to cross the Jordan at this time and at this place. In other words, since God knows all things, why didn't he lead them to cross over earlier or later in the year when the river would be at its lowest and why not at another location where the river would be narrower?
With God being God, the river being at its highest couldn't have possibly been a surprise to Him. He knew exactly at what stage the river would be and He knew how far across it was at that point. Yet this is the specific time and place that He chose for them to cross over, and cross over they did as the Lord performed yet another miracle, making the river back up about twenty miles north. At the time of the season it is estimated that where they crossed, the water was about 120 feet deep. So knowing that at other points on the river and at other times of the year they could probably have waded across, why did God wait for the river to be at flood stage and why cross over where the river was at one of its widest points? God has always taken the time, because of our lack of faith and belief, to show us His glory and power. The Israelites were about to face a great enemy and they needed to be reassured about the God who was leading them into battle. They had to see and to learn that there is absolutely nothing impossible for God. In that way, they could face their first major battle and all the ones that would follow with great confidence, knowing that victory was certain as long as God was with them.
In our own lives today as followers of Christ, we sometimes face problems and situations that seem to be at flood stage and that feel as if we will never be able to get past them. Since we are children of God, we may ask ourselves why God doesn't rescue us before the problem grows seemingly out of control (flood stage) or why He leaves us in the situation for so long (a wide distance to the other side). It's for the same reason that He led the Israelites to a wide portion of the Jordan when the river was at flood stage. He wants to demonstrate His power to save and deliver us from anything that we face, even things that we see as impossible situations so that we will be ready for all the battles that we will face in life.
When Jesus gave Peter permission to walk on the water with Him, did you notice that there was a storm at sea going on at the time? Jesus could have calmed the water before Peter stepped out of the boat but curiously, He didn't calm the water and the storm until after they were back in the boat. Jesus wanted Peter and us to know that when He is with us, we can walk on the stormy seas of life in victory. As long as we keep our eyes on Him, we will be safe in His hands. The Israelites kept their eyes on the Ark of the Covenant as they crossed the Jordan that day and today, we keep our eyes on Jesus to cross over the problems, trials and snares of life safely and securely until we are safely on the other side of them. It's how we learn that we are more than conquerors because of our God who does amazing things on our behalf to let us know that as long as He is with us, there is nothing that we cannot face.
Pastor Joey Vazquez