Touching Dry Land

Then the Lord spoke to Joshua, saying, ‘Command the priests who bear the ark of the Testimony to come up from the Jordan.’ Joshua therefore commanded the priests, saying, ‘Come up from the Jordan.’ And it came to pass, when the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord had come from the midst of the Jordan, and the soles of the priests’ feet touched the dry land, that the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and overflowed all its banks as before.”—Joshua 4:15–18 (NKJV)

Have you ever had to wait somewhere you just didn’t want to be? Maybe you had to wait forever at the DMV to get your license renewed. Maybe you’ve found yourself stuck sitting between two people who are arguing for the entirety of a dinner. Or maybe you’ve been trapped in a traffic standstill. Whatever the case may be, I think we can admit we’ve had times of uncomfortable, aggravating, or stressful waiting . . . 

The part of this passage that really stands out to me is the obedience of the priests. They stayed in place and didn’t move until Joshua had instructed them. This is such an interesting part of the Bible. Verse 18 tells us that as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests were lifted out of the river and touched the shore the flood level waters returned.  

So many times, God will tell us to stay in a place that is uncomfortable or even a place that is difficult for a season. The priests were standing in the waters of the Jordan River. During flood stage, parts of the Jordan could be up to a mile wide and dangerously fast. The priests had to have known this, but they held until commanded. The Lord does that with us as well. Maybe you won’t be commanded to stand in the middle of the Jordan, but at different points in your journey of faith you will be told to stay in situations that, in the moment, are difficult and at times scary. But here’s the encouraging thing: Our faith, obedience, and reliance on God’s direction will always get us through those seasons.  

The ark of the covenant represented the presence of God. Seeing that the priests were the last ones out of the river was a representation of God covering our back, guarding the things we cannot see. Isaiah 52:12 (NKJV) says: “For you shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight; for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.”

Our omnipresent God goes before us as we’re are in the water, calls us out, then is our rear guard. This passage in Joshua shows that God is guarding us at all angles. Then, right when things get to a breaking point, we are called to come forth with the Lord, our Good Shepherd, going before us as our guide and coming behind us as our shield. When we display this kind of faith and obedience to go when He commands, God will always lead us into the places He promises.

DIG: Read Isaiah 52:1–12 and reflect on the goodness of God’s protection and provision.

DISCOVER: Are we obedient in difficult situations? Do we stand still and wait on the Lord in tough times? What areas do we need to show more obedience to the Lord?  

DO: Pray that God will give you the opportunity in your week to show a true patience waiting on the Lord for His direction.