The word transition is often mentioned. The dictionary defines transition as a passing from one condition or place or activity to another. Many of us don’t like change or transition with its fear of the unknown, and the uncertainty of entering uncharted territory.
I’ve been going through my own mid-life transition physically at ? (I guess it’s mid-life if I live to be 140). In the past period of time I’ve had to deal with heart condition, Chronic Sleep Apnea, back and internal problems, also a diagnosis of Sensory Motor Polyneuropathy with a negative prognosis. I have seen a miracle of healing with the internal problem which can be the case in the other conditions, and Praise God the other issues are being controlled with the assistance of doctors and me making some changes in my life. I do not share this detail in looking for sympathy but to illustrate this blog.
The elements of fear of the unknown and potential disaster in these kinds of transition times in life would have been very familiar to the people of Israel standing at the Jordan River. Remember, these people had been waiting for three days for the command to move. Joshua 3:4 implies their apprehension about what lay before them when Joshua says, “…You have not passed this way before.”
Joshua 1:7-13, it is interesting that God gave Joshua, the priests and the people only as much information as they needed to accomplish what he wanted them to do. God always gives us enough information, and we can trust him with the knowledge that is communicated to us. Whenever he asks us to trust him and crossover into new areas of conquest, adventure, and discovery He will fulfill in us what he asks us to do.
The counsel of King Jehoshaphat, who was one of the godly kings of Judah many years later, echoes this wonderful truth: 2 Chronicles 20:20 “Listen to me, O Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, put your trust in the LORD your God, and you will be established. Put your trust in His prophets and succeed”. Solomon also said, 1 Kings 8:56 “Blessed be the LORD, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised; not one word has failed of all His good promise....”.
We see how God fulfills his good promise and honours the prophetic ministry of Joshua. Joshua 3:14-17: 14 So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. 15Now 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, 16 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 (the Salt Sea ) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17 The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.
Although the Jordan River was only about a hundred feet wide most of the year, during the spring flood season it overflowed its banks and became up to a mile wide. But as soon as the Levites carrying the ark put their feet into the water, the river immediately stopped flowing and stood up like a wall about twenty miles upstream near the city of Adam. This was a miracle of God in response to the faith of the people.
They were called to put their feet one in front of the other in following the Lord. Remember, God had said, Joshua 1:3 “Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, as I promised to Moses.” He was saying, “It’s already yours, now just walk into it.” Unless we’re willing to step out by faith and get our feet wet, we’re not likely to make much progress in these cross-over times of following the Lord. So as the priests followed in obedience, step after step, the river waters disappeared and they were walking on dry ground. And they stood in the middle of the river and waited for all the people to passby. Can you imagine some of the comments those two million Israelites would have made as they walked across that river?
“This is not a very safe place.”
“This is worse than were we have come from”
“I feel a little exposed.”
“I don’t feel very secure doing this.”
“This can never be right”
“God can’t be in this”
“It’s what God said to do, so I guess we’d better keep walking.”
To keep on walking because God said that was what we have to do is not always easy, but we have to walk by faith not by sight, feeling or emotion. Remember our feelings and emotions are not to be relied upon unless they align with God’s word. Take hold of God’s word as that is sure and will get us to the destiny He intended for us. So let the past go and recognise that you have crossed over the Jordon in your experience and follow the ark, just as the children of Israel did and follow His leading into your next phase.
I recall listening to Canon Andrew White preaching and saying I don’t say “Take Care” I say “Take Risks”. Step out in faith believing He will open up the way. I believe we are encountering a new phase and its important that we listen to Him and not the status quo.