Going Forward in Faith

Key Verse: “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
—Joshua 1:9

Selected Scripture:
Joshua 3:7-17

JOSHUA’S FIRST MAJOR test of faith and leadership of the Israelites came quickly following the death of Moses. The nation had arrived at the Jordan River, which was unusually high due to recent flooding.—See Joshua 3:15

The river was impassable by all human standards, but to enter the land of promise necessitated crossing it. God encouraged Joshua by reminding him, “As I was with Moses, so I will be with thee.”—Josh. 3:7

The instructions which God gave to Joshua, and which he in turn gave to the Israelites, were simple— but required much faith. The priests that carried the Ark of the Covenant were instructed to go to the brim of the river. As soon as the soles of their feet touched the river, the waters would separate and form dry ground upon which they could walk, carrying the Ark into the midst of the river. There they were instructed to stand, holding forth the Ark, while all the people crossed the riverbed on dry ground.—vss. 8-17

The Lord’s promise did not fail. “As they that bare the Ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the Ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,) That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho. And the priests that bare the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.—vss. 15-17

Two important lessons concerning faith are contained in this experience of the Israelites. First, it was necessary for them to put their complete reliance upon the power of God to perform the miracle of separating the waters of Jordan. The same is true with us. Without the power of God working on our behalf, we could never hope to attain our promised ‘Canaan.’ His power has been manifested to us through his Son, our Lord Jesus, who bought us with his precious blood. As Jesus said, “Without me ye can do nothing.”—John 15:5

The second lesson of faith contained in this experience is that the Israelites were required to act on their faith. They had to actually walk across the Jordan, confident that the Lord would not allow the waters to return until they were all safely over. It is also true with us that we must act on our faith. “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” (James 2: 17) The Apostle Peter describes the ‘works’ that we ‘add’ to our faith, as including faith in the promises of God. Let the words of our Key Verse echo in our hearts, as they did in Joshua’s: ‘The Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.’

Dawn Bible Students Association
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