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Joshua was moments away from leading the Israelites into the Promised Land, the land they were promised a bunch of generations before during the life of their Great Father, Abraham.
You remember, don’t you?
First, God promised Abraham that He would make him into many nations (we talked about that a few weeks ago, click HERE to read more).
Then Moses led the people out of slavery in Egypt towards the Promised Land.
Then (after Moses died) the baton was passed to Joshua for him to finish the task.
[ Let’s PAUSE for a second.
Do you see how long it took for this promise to come to fruition? Holy smokes! The promise started with Abraham and then was passed on to Moses and then was passed on to Joshua.
(AND, mind you, there were lots of other people and stories and years between those 3.)
We’re talking …
… Of people.
And to make matters more interesting, under Moses’ leadership the people wandered through the desert for FORTY YEARS before the baton was handed to Joshua for him to finish the task.
The point? Don’t be surprised, friends, when the promises that God makes don’t come about in the timeframe you’re hoping or expecting.
Don't be surprised when the promises that God makes don't come about in the timeframe you're expecting. #MorningEncouragementClick To Tweet
Just because God promised something to YOU doesn’t mean that you’re going to see it today or tomorrow or next week or next year.
Heck, you might never even see the promise come to fruition in your lifetime!
And you might not either. In fact, the promise that God gives YOU might not be for you to reap, but for you to steward well during your life so that the seeds are watered and watered and watered for the next generation to benefit from.
… Make sense? ]
And so, anyways, in Joshua 3 we find the Israelites in a situation very similar to the one they found themselves in under Moses’ leadership – at the edge of a river, needing to cross over to the other side.
What would happen?
If you’re the Israelites, you have a pretty good guess that the same God who parted the Red Sea would now part the Jordan River and it would be full speed ahead into the land flowing with Milk and Honey.
That’s what we would think, but that’s not what God did.
Sometimes God doesn't act in the way you think He will or should. #MorningEncouragementClick To Tweet
In Exodus, when the Israelites were being chased down by the Egyptians and were faced with a wall of Egyptian warriors behind them and a gigantic Red Sea in front of them, the Bible says that God …
Sent some WIND.
The wind pushed back the water.
Dry land appeared.
And the people walked easily across to the other side.
In Joshua 3, however, the Bible says that although the end result was the same, the process was a little bit different.
Check it out …
“So when the people broke camp across the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. 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 waters edge …”
What do you think happened?
Did the winds come?
Did the water start to pile up on both sides, creating a path for them to walk through?
Did they cross over on dry ground like they did the last time?”
The story goes on to say that …
“The water from UPSTREAM stopped flowing. It piled up A GREAT DISTANCE AWAY, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of Arabah was completely cut off.”
Do you see what happened?
Rather than a great wind blowing past their faces and parting the River right before their eyes, the Bible says that the water way UPSTREAM stopped flowing and piled up A GREAT DISTANCE AWAY in a completely different town, in a completely different area.
Here’s what I wonder – how long do you think the Priests stood in the water before they could see with their own physical eyes that what God was making a way through the River?
I mean, it says that …
The water UPSTREAM stopped flowing.
(Upstream means that it was beyond what their eyes could see in the moment).
And that the water began to pile up A GREAT DISTANCE AWAY.
(A great distance away also implies that it was beyond what their eyes could see in the moment).
And so I wonder if they got frustrated? Or confused? Or if they were feeling a little bit let down that God didn’t appear to be coming through for them under the leadership of Joshua as He did under the leadership of Moses?
Can you just imagine the Priests stepping into the water fully, 100% expecting something amazing and huge and spectacular to take place only to stand there staring at the water wondering …
“What the heck?!”
He did it before, why not again?
He did the miracle last time, why not this time?
He parted the waters earlier in our story, why can’t He make it happen again?
Ahhhhh, but He was … right?
He was doing it – the water flow WAS stopping, the water WAS piling up, the land beneath the surface of the water WAS appearing. It’s just that it was happening a great distance away and so the effects of the God-ordained miracle hadn’t yet reached a place where their eyes could see.
I wonder, today, if you’ve taken a step of faith in some area of your life?
And I wonder if, today, you find yourself (like the Priests of Israel) standing in your own Jordan River? A River you’ve been standing in for hours and days and weeks and months and years? A River you FULLY expected with great faith and anticipation to part?
And I wonder if you find yourself having taken this step of faith, now standing in water up to your knees staring down at a river of problems that refuses to part?
When the water refuses to part, here’s what I think God wants you to realize – it is parting, you just can’t see it right now. The miracle you want to happen now IS happening, it’s just happening UP STREAM. The water you’re hoping to part WILL part, it’s just starting a GREAT DISTANCE AWAY.
God IS working.
God HAS heard your prayer.
God WILL make a way.
It might not happen WHEN you want and it might not happen in the WAY you want, but the Creator of the heavens and the earth and the Creator of YOU is working.
And so when the water isn’t parting, realize that there’s always more going on than your eyes can see and that if you’ll just keep wading out into the water (in faith) and if you’ll just stand strong in the midst of the river that doesn’t seem to be changing, you’ll see the miracle come.
In HIS time.
In HIS way.
According to HIS watch.
I encourage you to KEEP standing, to KEEP waiting, to KEEP believing, to KEEP pressing in, to KEEP wading deeper, to KEEP moving forward, to KEEP knowing and trusting and believing that God is working and that more is going on that your eyes can see.
Don't give up hope. #MorningEncouragementClick To Tweet
The water upstream is stopping, a great distance away. And it’s only a matter of time before the miracle makes it’s way into your world so that your eyes can see it.
Praying for you, friend.
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