It shall come about when the soles of the feet of the priest who carry the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan will be cut off, and the waters which are flowing down from above will stand in one heap
Take action and God will do His part.
This is the crucial passage where God says that the people of Israel – specifically the priests and leaders – must take action first to demonstrate that they are committed to God’s plan of action. Notice that the waters of the Jordan would not part until the priest’s feet were resting in the Jordan.
The same is true for us today. When God makes it clear that we are to move in a certain direction, then we need to take the first step and commit ourselves. It is when we demonstrate commitment that God acts. We all would like to see the demonstration of God’s power first so we know it’s real, but it does not work that way. It is faith first and sight second.
Now we are not to be foolish and pretend God is calling us to do something just so we can do something selfish or stupid. Also we do not want to test God by going out on a limb and trying to force God to rescue us. This was the temptation that the Devil tried to get Jesus to try.
This lesson taught here to the Israelites is absolutely crucial to Christian life. We must take action in the right direction first. If we wait for God to do the miracle first or to eliminate all the problems, we will never act. Some of us want to only act on sure things. But life is not a sure thing; it takes risks. Life requires that we act before we have all the facts, before we know how it will turn out. We pray, we get counsel, we strategize and plan; but then we have to act. Without action nothing happens. The miracles will not take place until we are in the midst of the plan.
Right now you are probably facing some difficulty or dream and you really need God to do His part. If you are confident that this is God’s plan and you have done your due diligence in terms of planning, counsel, wisdom, approvals then all that is left is action. You must take the first step in the direction that God wants. It is not a leap of faith but rather a step of faith. You step forward in faith in the direction that is God’s will and your action in faith activates God’s power on your behalf.
We do not know what would have happened if the priests would have been unwilling to take the first steps into the flooding Jordan, but it seems clear that there would have been no miracle. There would have been no crossing the Jordan River and beginning the conquest of the land. There would have probably been a turning back into the desert to wander like their parents’ generation until all of them died off and God presented the life of faith to the next generation.
Their parents faced this same test and failed. They failed to act first and have God supply the miracle second. They were at an oasis called Kadesh Barnea and received the report that the land of Canaan was indeed all that God had told them it was: a land flowing with milk and honey, a good land; but it also was inhabited by giants and fearsome warriors. God told the people to go up and begin taking the land and He would be with them. They refused to take their step of faith. They shrank back from the right plan and were sentenced to futility in the desert.
So many people abandon their dreams and the righteous plan that God has laid out for them because they see the obstacles or the problems too clearly. They know that it will take a miracle and they want God to supply the miracle first before they commit to the journey. The life of faith, the life of success, the life of joy does not work that way. It is faith first, applied in the direction of righteousness and then the miracles will appear when they are supposed to appear.
What are you hesitating about that you know you should do because it is the right thing? Take the step of faith. Go back to school. Start the business. Ask her for a date. Take that class. Start writing the book. Volunteer at that good cause. Write that letter. Speak up. Begin a dialogue with your enemy.
Life requires action. God rewards action. Put your feet in the Jordan and begin the adventure.
* This material is copyrighted © by Gil Stieglitz who retains all rights to the material. The verses quoted are taken from the NASB Bible 1995 edition.