Devotion and Prayer for Week of June 10, 2012

Meditation for the Week of June 10, 2012

“Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during the harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing…The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.”  (Joshua 3:15-16a, & 17)

                                                                            

The setting of this text is as the nation of Israel is poised to cross the Jordan River into the Promised Land to begin occupying this land promised to their forefathers.  But there is a problem. The Jordan River is at flood stage.  So the place where one might normally wade across is being washed by swiftly flowing water.  The simple truth that we hear all the time on the Weather Channel applies to this situation.  “Turn around, don’t drown.”

Swift flowing water is very dangerous. It can easily sweep a person off his feet, sending him down river among the swirling current and the debris from up river.  We have learned that even cars and pick-up trucks can quite easily be swept away in a few inches of fast moving water.

So the Israelites are confronting a difficult, dangerous and potentially deadly situation.  Yet Joshua has lined them up and brought out the priests with the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord.  And these priests are going to be the first ones to hazard a step into the swift moving water of the Jordan.  It might be tempting to shout to them, “turn around, don’t drown.”  But Joshua has them move forward into the swiftly flowing flooded Jordan River.  Amazingly, they don’t drown. The whole Israelite nation crosses over on dry ground – it is an amazing, miraculous event.

But notice, it required the priests taking those first steps into the water to encourage the others.  For the miracle to happen, the priests, the people and Joshua had to take a risk. They needed to take a step forward in faith.  That was the message that came to us loud and clear over Pentecost.  The Spirit filled the men and gave them the gift of speaking in foreign languages.  But first the disciples had to leave the place where they were gathered and go forth into the public areas and start to speak.

What we learn in Joshua is that God acted once the priests put a foot forward into the Jordan.  From Pentecost we learn that when the disciples went out to speak, the Holy Spirit acted through them.  God is waiting to act – if we are willing to step out in faith.

 

Our Weekly Prayer 

Lord, we are nervous people.  We want to always be on sure footing.  We are afraid to wade out too far from the things we know to be safe, after all it is smart to turn around and not to drown.  Yet you call on us to be bold witnesses to you and for you and for all that you have done for us and want to do for others.  Embolden each of us to be willing to speak out for you. To tell others about all your Son Jesus has done to save us. Fill us with your Holy Spirit so that we too can speak to others of your grace and love. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen