We often face transitional moments. These moments come with growing up: the changes from childhood to adolescence, adolescence to adulthood. Sometimes these transitions are artificial. The ages of 16, 40 and 65 have significant implications and changes. Transitional moments also can be forced on people, such as divorce, relocation, early retirement and job loss.
Joshua 3 and 4 detail the children of Israel, after decades of wandering in the wilderness, crossing the Jordan into the Promised Land. It marked a transition in their lives. The lessons God taught the Israelites are beneficial for us.
In Changing Times, We Need to Hear from God
Often in our excitement, whether joy or worry, when undertaking new ventures, we fail to slow down and hear from God. We want to rush in, get busy, move ahead; but as Joshua instructed the people of Israel, we first need to stop and listen. When entering new arenas in life, we need to hear God’s specific and practical counsel.
We live in a fast-paced, hurry-up world. If the devil can keep us busy and in a hurry, half his battle is won. In our hurry and busyness, we often fail to tune in to God. Once we take the time to get our ears tuned in to God’s wavelength and know His direction and plan, we are ready to move in the way He wants us to go.
In Changing Times, We Need to Move Ahead in Faith
The border of the Promised Land was marked by the Jordan River. Normally, the river was not difficult to cross because it is a rather modest stream, but at certain times of the year, it floods. This was that time of year, and no bridge, boat or ferry was available.
The command from God came to Joshua to organize the people in a straight line behind the Ark of the Covenant and march directly toward the raging waters in a beeline to Canaan. The promise was: Somewhere along the way God would intervene. However, the Israelites first had to take a step of faith. In fact, it was only when the priests at the front of the line actually entered the river that God miraculously parted the water.
Similar to the children of Israel, we want to move out toward our new opportunities, the new ventures, but doing so requires a step into uncertainty from our day-to-day lives to grasp the reality of faith.
Most of us pray and pray, and then wait. For what, we’re not sure—perhaps a hidden flow of energy, revolutionary thought or a surge of power from God—but we wait…and wait. More often than not, we remain trapped and exhausted at square one.
The problem is the waiting, the standing still. Transforming faith, the Bible tells us, happens only in the context of movement. God promises to give us power as we act. That, of course, is not our preference: We would rather God provide power before we move. God, however, always has required a movement of faith.
Faith is risky business. Kierkegaard said, “Without risk there is no faith.” For faith to be faith, we need to venture beyond our own abilities and resources. Out on the limb, beyond our own resources, depending totally on God is the manifestation of faith.
In Changing Times, We Need to Know God Keeps His Promises
Once the children of Israel obeyed God’s instructions, the water parted and the people crossed into the Promised Land. God showed His great power by working a miracle of timing and location to bring Israel into the Promised Land.
God never performs a miracle without a purpose. This miracle set the stage for the Israelites to take possession of the Promised Land. This miracle showed Israel that God keeps His promises.
The transitions of life cannot hide our faces from God, because God is always with us. The transitions of life cannot change the purposes of God, because they are ultimate. The transitions of life cannot destroy the child of God, because God’s promises are sure.