I love the story of the Israelites. Their history fascinates me. Can you imagine? In Eygpt for years, and finally freedom is in sight. Finally released by Pharaoh and freedom is tangible. They leave. All Hebrews. But shortly after leaving they find themselves at the sea. They have nowhere to go. Pharaoh, by this time, as changed his mind and now ready to capture the Hebrews. They were stuck. No solution. Water on one side, certain death at the other. But God provided. He held back Pharaoh meanwhile separating the Red Sea allowing for dry ground. The Hebrews made it safely to the other side. They had their freedom. Finally. On their way to their land, the very land promised to them by God, they were afraid and for some reason did not think God could handle the danger ahead. Because of their lack of faith and doubt, they spent 40 years wandering in the desert with their promise so close, yet still so unattainable. Again, they were stuck.
At the end of the 40 years, the Hebrews were allowed their promise. Lead by Joshua now, not Moses, Joshua led the people to the Jordan River. The Jordan River is nowhere near as magnificent at the Red Sea. In fact it is not a challenge to cross over…or at least not all the time. But when the time came for Joshua to lead the people past the river, it was flood season and no possible way to cross the Jordan. But again, God found a way to work through that which seemed impossible and made a way for the Hebrews. God gave Joshua a word to speak to the people: “sanctify yourselves. Tomorrow God will work miracle wonders among you”. This time the people had a choice. They could stay in a less than mediocre life, but safe life, on the one side of the Jordan River or they could embrace the unknown. Nothing ahead seemed sure or certain. The river itself was flooded. But this time the people and Joshua walked confidently in the promise of God. The waters were separated for the second time, allowing the Hebrews to walk on dry land. On the other side, the Hebrews had reached their land that was promised long before that generation even lived. But it was not finished there. Other people lived throughout that land. Jericho was ahead.
I fully believe that the message Joshua relayed to the people was profound. If they were going to walk in the promise of God and actually live it out, they had to face the difficulties ahead. If they wanted the full promise of God they would have to leave the banks of the Jordan River, cross on the dry land, and move forward. They could have lived that less than mediocre life of safety. But they were not living. They were barely breathing. But in the Promised Land, they would be living a life that was anointed by God. Defended by God. Prepared by God. Jericho was just one of many people they had to face in order to obtain their promise.
How often do we see something ahead that is far from safe and we choose to stay where we are? How often do we choose to wander in the desert, barely alive, rather than choosing the difficult path, but knowing your are giving life your all? I want to live like the Hebrews. More specifically, I want to live like Joshua. I want to believe that if I purify my life, live my life according to God’s truth, there will be wonders ahead. But with that promise I have to believe that God will help me in the struggles as well. You know, the difficult, confusing, dangers times. God didn’t just put the Hebrews before Jericho and let them stand there. He lead them to victory. But in that victory path, they still had to fully believe that God was right there with and had complete purpose through everything that was happening. I want the faith of Joshua. To know that behind me is a desert that offered nothing to me but before me was Jericho. To know that I have a choice to live fully for God and have purpose in my life, and not just be suffocating in the heat of the desert. To know that God will do wonders in my life even with Jericho before me.