And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, that the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off, the waters that come down from upstream, and they shall stand as a heap.” So it was…that the waters which came down from upstream stood still, and rose in a heap very far away at Adam, the city that is beside Zaretan. Joshua 3:13 + 16
The Sermon You May Have Heard
Many a sermon has been written on Joshua 3:13, spotlighting the issue of stepping out in faith so that God’s power might be revealed. The doctrine is rightly supported upon the fact that the waters of the (then) mighty Jordan River were divinely split after the priests stepped into the torrent flood waters. It takes faith to act in such a manner and any teaching in that regard is certainly a valid one. Conversely, it stands to reason that to not plunk your sole (or soul) into the water is to be dry in the most spiritual sense of the word. If you are spiritually dry, you might further consider obediently diving into these uncharted waters.
Take notice that those who endorse the seeing-is-believing position typically don’t trust what they observe, but those who ascribe to the believing-is-seeing principle often get to witness that which they believe. Belief is made manifest in Holy Spirit-guided action and revelation is the byproduct of active faith.
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6
The Sermon You May Not Have Heard
I am intrigued by the understated significance of verse sixteen; the waters of the Jordan River were heaped up at a far away placed called Adam, beside the city called Zaretan. We know from the opening text that the Israelites stood on the shores of the Jordan River at Acacia Grove (aka Shittim). That puts Zaretan about nineteen miles upstream.
Why is that significant?
It’s meaningful because it clearly demonstrates how our Father in Heaven is working historically behind the scenes to make things happen in anticipation of our being obedient at a future time. So while it’s true God heaped up the waters as the priests dipped their tootsies in the water, it’s truer still that God acted beforehand having foreknowledge of their faithfulness. In other words, if that water was moving along at ten miles per hour, God stopped the river’s flow two hours before the first toe hit the water, but to those priests the miracle was seemingly instantaneous. The passage reminds us that while we may be fearful to step out in faith before the Lord provides a sign, that very signal may have already been given– it just hasn’t caught up to us yet. Turn away and it may never be seen.
God’s Timing is Perfect
In order for this miracle to be perfectly revealed, God’s timing and foreknowledge had to be faultless. What if the priests were faithless; what if by disobedience their timing was off? We can only imagine how the scenario would have played out—maybe the nation of Israel would have been turned back around to spend another forty years in the wilderness—we just don’t know. That alone should give every believer pause.
Has the Holy Spirit ever nudged you to do something and you delayed in doing it or chose to ignore Him completely?
“Go pray for that person,” God asks, but you linger.
“Sing that praise song I have laid on your heart,” He says, but you wait for someone else to start.
“Speak to Me in that sacred tongue,” but you outright refuse.
Have you ever wondered about the miracle laying upstream; the one that was revealed to another because your timing was off or not at all because you emphatically rejected the urgings of the Holy Spirit? Please know that God still does miracles and consistently reveals them to those who walk by faith. If your walk is dry it’s likely because you have not dipped your feet in the stream.