Joshua 3:14-17 – “So when the people set out from their tents to pass over the Jordan with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, and as soon as those bearing the ark had come as far as the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest), the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite Jericho. Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan.”
This time things were different. The last time they approached the Promised Land, the Israelites were filled with doubt. This time the Israelites were filled with expectation. Their faith in the Lord’s promise gave them a sense of divine expectation. They knew that because the Lord promised them he would lead them into the Promised Land; that when they followed his lead, he would clear the path. God delivered them from slavery to Egypt by leading them on dry land through the Red Sea. Here now was a significant bookend where God led them on dry land through the Jordan River into the land he had promised to give to them years later.
In Exodus 3, as God is calling Moses to take up the mantle of leadership to go and set His people free from Pharaoh, God promised that he would deliver his people and he would lead them all the way to the land that he had promised to Abraham years earlier. Of all the promises of God that the Israelites were familiar with, the land that he was going to give to them that was flowing with milk and honey was a promise they remembered. It was because of the clarity of this promise that the people were finally able to believe and pass through the waters. They didn’t know how they would pass through the Jordan River, but they expected God to lead them.
There are numerous promises of God that he has given to us as His people, and of all the attributes of God in Scripture, God’s faithfulness is one of the most recurring attributes. We can trust God to be true to His promises because He is faithful. As a result of this, we as the people of God should be confident in obeying the commands of the Lord. This confidence is simply called faith. So when it comes to obedience, how confident are you in obeying? Do you have faith in the one who says he will comfort us when we come to him in our difficulty? Do you have an expectation in God that when we step out in faith to obey His Word, even though it may be difficult, that he will give us strength?
Too many people are dominated by weak expectations for the Lord to work. Too many people have shaky faith in the promises of God, even though he is the one who is faithful. As a result of this, too many people disobey the commands of the Lord out of fear. We are called to preach the gospel to those around us and that, as we do, God will be with us and will speak through us. Yet, oftentimes our greater expectation is that we will fail and that the conversation will be awkward. That disobedience is fueled by pathetic expectations for God’s work through us. Be like the Israelites and believe that God is faithful as you step out in obedience to His commands.