Thursday, October 12
As of yesterday’s devotion we left the Israelites consecrating themselves in preparation to see amazing things the Lord would do for them the following day. And, when the people were prepared – God was certainly ready to do His part. The last part of chapter 3 reads:
Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground. Joshua 3:15-17
What emoji would you choose if an Israelite just texted you that update on how their day was going? Surprise! Shock! Awe! It is an incredible account, isn’t it? When I read it I was sorry to hear that the Israelites crossing didn’t get to gaze upon the water that was “piled up in a heap” as that was about 20 miles upstream (NIV text note on 3:15). Wouldn’t that have been awe-inspiring! Why not, I thought. Perhaps God had planned to share this awesome display with those outside of the Israelite community – “so that all the people of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful.” (Joshua 4:24)
In chapter 4 we also have the rest of the story on the waters of the Jordan that had instantly dried up when the priests’ feet touched the waters’ edge. Could have been coincidence, someone might try to argue. Lots of busy beavers just upstream? But then Joshua 4:18 helps clear up any doubt: “And the priests came up out of the river carrying the ark of the covenant of the LORD. No sooner had they set their feet on the dry ground than the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and ran at flood stage as before.” This wasn’t the work of beavers or tides or circumstance. At just the precise time needed the flood waters unexplainably stopped – and then re-started, also, at precisely the correct time. This was the work of the Maker of Heaven and Earth and He was having fun doing amazing things for His consecrated people who had decided to be bold and courageous rather than cowering in fear and discouragement as their parents had.
Joshua followed the LORD’s direction to have each tribe take part in creating a rock tower to commemorate what the LORD did at the Jordan. This was done to keep the memory alive and spark conversation, down through the generations, of how Almighty God had provided just what they needed at just the right time. Joshua said their children would ask, “What do these stones mean?” (Joshua 4:6,21). It would be a great opportunity to tell of God’s power and provision for His people.
In what miraculous ways have you seen God at work? Perhaps on your own behalf, or someone you know, or even someone you read about – Biblical miracles still count today! What reminders do you have displayed for you and your family? What opportunities do you have to overflow with stories of God’s power and faithfulness? We must not forget God’s power. We must remember – and tell others. When we fear Him, we can be strong and courageous.
-Be Strong and Courageous – Marcia Railton