Sometimes we like to avoid or rush through situations all together. If something seems inconvenient, unsettling or as something that could possibly cause some damage or undesired consequence, we tend to back away. In Joshua 3, we read of this command for the priests to stand still in the Jordan. This is one of my favorite pictures in the Bible. Imagine the Jordan. Imagine the waters that overflow the banks. God tells these priests to go out and walk into this flood zone, to stand still right in the midst of it all.
I cannot say how I would react to such a command. I would consider the electronics in my pocket. I would certainly want to take off my shoes. I wouldn’t want to be wearing jeans. I would not like entering higher waters. These priests were to walk right in there and stand still. Why stand still? Why stand still after God causes the water to part as He did with the Red Sea? Consider how awesome it would have been as these men rested the soles of their feet on dry ground and raised their eyes to look around them. Consider the awesomeness they witnessed that could not have been appreciated as dearly if they simply ran across the dry ground or if they never had to get their feet moving forward in the water to see God move.
Sometimes God wants to take you into the flood zone. He wants to get you right where you can see Him move mountains in your life. There may have been a moment where He has done remarkable things and you missed it all because you didn’t stand still, because you were focused on where you placed your feet rather than stopping to look around you. God still can cause waters to stand in a heap. God is the same God who parted both the Red Sea and the Jordan. You have the opportunity to stand firmly today – to stand firmly and to stand still wherever God leads you in life. If you rush through you may just miss the waters standing in the heap. If you don’t move your feet in the flood zone, you may miss out on the remarkable ways God wants to move in your life.
“And when the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap.” – Joshua 3:13 [ESV]
John the Baptist was baptizing people in the Jordan River when the Pharisees and Sadducees approached. He called them a “brood of vipers” and commanded that they “produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:7-8 NIV). This reminds me of what For King and Country sing, “Let my life be the proof, the proof of Your love.”
The question is when you look at your life from an outsiders vantage point, would there be proof? Are you living proof? The NLT version states it this way: “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.” Proof requires an action. There’s something you must do to prove. The answer is there—by THE WAY you live. What should your life show? Repentance of your sins. Living for God.
There are many people who claim to be Christians but no one would see Christ or anything different about the person. If we are not to be of this world, there should be a difference. A person should be able to point to you and say, “Hey, there’s something different about that person. He’s not like most people. She’s not like the people I usually see.” Why? Because of the fruit. Because of the proof by the way you live. Today would someone look at you and say you are different? Would someone notice?
“Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.” – Matthew 3:8 [NLT]
We all can think back to a time when we expected that something would go differently. Even things we have prayed for did not turn out the way that we had imagined in our minds. When I was a teenager, one of the hardest periods of my life was when the healing I expected for my Grandfather did not come. Sometimes God has another plan—a better plan. We cannot always understand it. We cannot necessarily predict it. Honestly speaking, there are moments when we don’t always like it either because we cannot see the bigger picture.
Naaman had leprosy. He expected that Elisha would come out to him and wave his hands over the leprosy and call on the name of God to heal him. Naaman expected to stand there and watch Elisha summon the Lord for healing. Instead, Elisha gives him directions via a messenger. He was to wash in the Jordan seven times—the Jordan River, not even the most likely body of water for healing in Naaman’s eyes. Naaman became angry, so angry that he stalked away.
There are moments when we get angry. We expected something to turn out differently. We followed the path God directed us to take but it is not like we expected. There’s suffering. There’s hardship. There’s challenges. There’s mountains to climb. It’s not all rainbows and butterflies. It takes work. This is not what we expected. Today, don’t let your expectations cloud you from your focus on God who has something for you that is beyond your expectation. When something doesn’t go the way you expected, trust that He has a better plan.
“But Naaman became angry and stalked away. ‘I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!”’he said. ‘I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the LORD his God and heal me!’” – 2 Kings 5:11 [NLT]
Naaman had leprosy. He was instructed by Elisha to dip himself into the Jordan River seven times. When Naaman did this he was healed. But it didn’t say that he was simply healed of the condition. The Bible says that “his skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child’s.”
I do not have any skin problems but if I would have a rash or wound, after it healed, my skin would still show some signs of aging. Skin ages and one can look at any department store to find a variety of different lotions claiming to help reduce the signs of aging. But for Naaman, his skin went from the worst possible condition (leprosy) to healthy skin that was like a young child.
This healing is another great demonstration that God does not simply fix us, but He makes us new. The skin was not simply fixed. It now was healthy skin like that of a young child. God can make you new as well. Give Him your life and see.
“So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. And his skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child’s, and he was healed!” – 2 Kings 5:14 [NLT]
When the Lord spoke to Joshua about crossing the Jordan River, He told him to command the priests to take a few steps into the water and then to stop. That is an interesting order for someone to take because we do not like to only take a few steps. We usually have this grand plan that will be fast moving, be accomplished with little effort, and show visible rewards early.
The command was for the priests to take a few steps into the water, water which was at its typical high of the season, and then stop. Stop. Not continue across. Not rush on through. We like to rush. We like to do things quickly. But God does not think as we think and He does not move as we would always like. We want things in an instant, but there are moments in life where we take a few steps for God and then we must stop. We must wait. We must allow Him to move and walk according to His plan and His timing.
Too often we want to rush. We want to plug along quickly and squeeze as much as we can into the time we have on the calendar. Today, remember those two small steps. Remember the priests who had to stand still in the water after only taking two steps. Thank God for the two steps. Thank God for the stop to rest. Thank God for whatever lies ahead on your path.
“Give this command to the priests who carry the Ark of the Covenant: ‘When you reach the banks of the Jordan River, take a few steps into the river and stop there.’” – Joshua 3:8 [NLT]
In 2 Kings 5, Naaman, army commander & leper went to Elisha for healing of the leprosy. Verse 11 says he “went away angry.” He thought that things would be different. Elisha did not come out. Elisha told him to go to the Jordan River and wash 7 times when other rivers were considered better. The servants then said if the prophet Elisha would have told Naaman to do “SOME GREAT THING” his response would have been different.
Sometimes we come before God with our problems, our hurts, our dissatisfaction, our pain, our troubles– and we think that He will act in a particular way and do “some great thing.” As we know, our thoughts and ways are not like God’s thoughts and ways (Isaiah 55:8). Even so, we can trust in His plan– it is a better plan. It is not some great thing. It is simply amazing, beyond our comprehension. Walk in faith. Trust in Him. He will do more than some great thing. Don’t try to limit God by not allowing Him to move.