Troubled Waters

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Do you remember a day you waited for with great anticipation and excitement? It may have been a birthday, a holiday, a wedding, a graduation, or a special event. You probably thought about it often, maybe you dreamed about it, and you probably talked about it frequently to your friends and family. Depending on your personality, you may have had some anxiety because of the challenges involved in the occasion.

Imagine the anticipation and excitement the Israelites faced as they stood before the Jordan River the evening before they were to cross over into the Promised Land. They knew that on the other side of the river they would find the life they had dreamed of.

The Israelites had been wandering in the wilderness for 40 years. They had the Promised Land in sight but there was one problem: the Jordan River lay in their path. It was flooding season, and the waters were deep and turbulent. They most certainly felt anxious as they looked out over the swollen river and also considered the fortified cities that surrounded them. The Israelites had a spiritual mountain to overcome; they needed to pass through troubled waters. Even as we approach a momentous occasion, we are often faced with troubled waters.

Joshua gave the Israelites an encouraging word from God.

Then Joshua addressed the people: “Sanctify yourselves. Tomorrow God will work miracle-wonders among you.” Joshua 3:5

God did not make the rivers subside, but he gave Joshua a set of orders that he passed on to the rest of the camp.
1. Camp officers were to order the people to keep an eye on the Ark of the Covenant. As soon as they see the priests carrying it, they were to fall in behind.
2. The whole group was to expect something amazing to happen.
3. The priests were to pick up the ark and then go stand in the river.
This last command took courage. They had not experienced the parting of the Red Sea like the previous generation. They had wondered the desert, so the priests didn’t even know how to swim. But…the priests had faith that as soon as their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. The priests stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan River while the Israelites passed on to dry land. God stopped the river from flowing AFTER the priests put their feet in the water.
The Israelites shifted their focus from their mountain to God and God performed miracles. Their mountain became a miracle. They stepped out in faith right into the middle of troubled waters and God led them to the other side.
What mountains have your focus?
  • A financial problem
  • A troubled marriage
  • A struggling child
  • Poor self-esteem
  • A bad habit
  • A physical habit
  • A bad attitude
  • Family problems
Maybe we need to shift the focus of our prayer. Let’s quit focusing on the mountain. God knows our mountains. How does it look and sound when we focus on the mountain? We dwell on the problem. We try to work out the solution when what God wants is for us to step out in faith right in the middle of our mountain so that he can lead us to the other side.
Let’s focus our attention on the one who can move mountains.
Let’s spend time adoring him, confessing to him, thanking him, asking him to show us his presence. Let’s pray in faith. Let’s have the courage to step out in faith. God will work miracle wonders among you.


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