and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it,
that the people of Israel
may go through the sea on dry ground.
And as soon as those
bearing the ark were dipped into the brink of the water
(now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of the harvest),
the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off.
And the people passed over opposite Jericho.
Now the priests
bearing the ark of the covenant of the Lord
stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan,
and all Israel was passing over
on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan.
Joshua 3:15-17 (ESV)
These are two stories of a very similar miracle. The Israelites need to cross a large body of water, and God makes a way across.
But there are some big differences.
For Moses—all he was asked to do was lift his staff.
Now, Moses was being pursued by an enemy.
The parting of the Red Sea was certainly more dramatic.
Then we get to Joshua. Joshua is heading toward the next battle,
not away from it.
He’s moving into the Promised Land, at long last.
Yet, Joshua has to do something unexpected.
The waters of the Jordan don’t part
until the priests with
the ark of the covenant wade out into the water.
Do we want the best parts of both scenarios in our lives?
We don’t want to be pursued by the enemy.
We want time to prepare for where He is calling us.
We want the water to part before we step out. Often we don’t want to step out into the waters until we are sure the water is parting.
Like Peter, we don't want to wade out into the unknown, even when we know He is calling us to do so.
We want to know that our convictions are more than our own whims.
We don’t want to wade into the unknown without seeing where it is going.
Joshua knew the plan,
but He didn’t see it happening until they were out in the water.
Moses didn’t know where they were going,
but he saw the way before he stepped forward.
We don’t always get to have the advantages of both.
Maybe God will open the doors for you before you need to walk through.
Maybe they’ll open
as you walk through.
Maybe God will part the water to
show the way.
Maybe He’ll part them as you step out toward what
He called you to.
We have to follow his call, take the first step even if it's scary, and
Follow faithfully, however He may lead.
And know that, if He is calling you,
He will provide the way.