“So the people left their camp to cross the Jordan, and the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Covenant went ahead of them. It was the harvest season, and the Jordan was overflowing its banks. But as soon as the feet of the priests who were carrying the Ark touched the water at the river’s edge, the water above that point began backing up a great distance away at a town called Adam, which is near Zarethan. And the water below that point flowed on to the Dead Seac until the riverbed was dry. Then all the people crossed over near the town of Jericho” (Joshua 3:14-16, NLT).
In the story of Joshua thus far, God had called and commissioned Joshua and the people of Israel to continue His purposes for them: to possess the land. Next, two spies were dispersed to scout the first objective in the new land—the city of Jericho.
Joshua began to mobilize the people on the eastern banks of the Jordan River. It was a massive assembly. Estimates from scholars range in numbers anywhere from 600,000 to 2.5 million people! Before them was the Jordan River, full and flowing as a result of the rainy season.
As they looked at the river, the people could have held one of two opinions. The river could have either been an obstacle or an opportunity. Either way, it would have to be crossed in order to begin the Canaan campaign.
How do you cross a river? How do you lead hundreds of thousands of people across a river? Two options were obvious. They could have worked on constructing some sort of bridge. Or, they could have attempted to swim across. But God had something else in mind: He was going to part the waters so the people could cross on dry ground.
Does that sound familiar? Though few remained in their number who had actually experienced the Red Sea crossing, without doubt everyone knew the story of the nation’s miraculous deliverance. I personally believe that God parted the Jordan River for the Israelites because He wanted to give them their own miracle. The people had been living on their parents and grand parents miracles. Now the time had come for them to have their own first hand experience of God’s power and might. They needed to know that the God of yesterday was still involved in the lives of his people in the present.
How about you? As you evaluate your personal faith journey, are you content to live off of the miracles of yesteryear? Or is there a longing in your heart to see and experience God’s work for yourself? Remember, God has not changed. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever! If you will open your heart to the possibility that God is actively involved in the world today, He will give you your own experiences with Him.