"Then Joshua issued instructions to the leaders of Israel to tell the people to get ready to cross the Jordan River." (Joshua 1:10-11 LB)
There comes a point in time where you have to make the critical decision to go for it. And in this situation Joshua had to do it. He had to take the plunge — literally! For the children of Israel to go into the Promised Land, a million or so of them first had to cross the Jordan River. You may not think that was a big deal, but there weren't bridges in those days.
The Jordan River is usually about 100 feet wide and 20 feet deep. But in the springtime, when the Israelites happened to be there, it often floods and becomes a rushing, raging river. There seemed to be no way they were going to cross it. So God said, "I'm going to do a miracle. Remember 40 years ago when I opened up the Red Sea? I'm going to do something like that again, only this time it's going to be a little different. At the Red Sea, I opened it up and then you walked through. This time, I want you to start walking through it first.”
The Bible tells us in Joshua 3 that God dammed the river up, 17 miles upstream, so 17 miles of water had to go through before the water receded. The spiritual leaders went first. They stepped in up to their ankles, and nothing happened. They walked further, up to their knees, then their hips, and then their chests. But God's timing is perfect. The waters did recede, and they were able to walk across the Jordan River and capture the Promised Land.
What do you do when you know what you ought to do and you know what's right, but you're afraid to do it? You do it anyway. What do you do when you know God wants you to do something, but you don't have the faith to do it? You do it anyway. You move against your fears. You do the very thing you fear the most. The very situation you think is going to swallow you up will become your greatest victory when you trust God and step out in faith.
Ecclesiastes 11:4 says, " If you wait until the wind and the weather are just right, you will never plant anything and never harvest anything” (GNT). There's never a better time to start doing what God meant for you to do than right now.
Talk About It
After reading this, what excuses do you think you might be using to avoid serving in ministry?
Think of other stories from the Bible where an ordinary person stepped out in faith and was given the power to accomplish God-sized tasks. In what ways can you relate to those men and women?
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller "The Purpose Driven Life." His book, "The Purpose Driven Church," was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also the founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional ©2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.