Joshua pulled his cloak closer and gazed out into the night. Cooking fires smoldered in the darkness. The sentries continued their rounds. Livestock crunched their feed, undisturbed by the multitude of sounds and smells drifting on the breeze. Hundreds of thousands of people were camped before him, their tents stretched out in the moonlight. And beyond it all lay the Jordan.
Another impossible crossing for Joshua. Yet hadn’t he walked the bed of the Red Sea, marveling at the greatness of a God who could dry up its floods in a single night? He had seen Jehovah God do the impossible.
But this crossing was different. Moses was gone.
With Moses’ death on the mountain, Joshua alone now bore the responsibility of leading the people. And this river, barring the Israelites’ passage into their promised homeland, was the first great obstacle Joshua had to face without the beloved prophet. Joshua had seen Moses’ God do great, powerful, and terrifying things over the last 40 years, freeing and guiding the people He had chosen for Himself, but Moses had always been there to intercede on their behalf. How could Joshua ever hope to fill the place of a man who talked face to face with God?
There was no question that Joshua had been appointed by Jehovah God to lead. But could Joshua feel even remotely ready for such a responsibility? He was only Moses’ servant and one of the 12 spies first sent into the land. What if he weren’t able to lead the people? What if they rebelled against him the way they had against Moses? What if … what if … ? But the I AM’s answer remained the same: “as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of a good courage … only be thou strong and very courageous … Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersover thou goest” (Joshua 1:5-6, 7, 9).
We know of the mighty works God has done in the lives of people throughout history. Sometimes we have even seen His direct intervention and provision in the lives of our friends and loved ones—nothing short of miraculous. But there comes a point for each of us when it isn’t enough to appreciate that God has done great things for other people. We must believe in His power and willingness to lead us across our own Jordan—no matter what form it may take.
Are you facing the upcoming school year with many of the same feelings Joshua may have had while overlooking the multitude of Israelites camped before the Jordan? Perhaps you’re struggling to make ends meet, perhaps you’re homeschooling a special needs child, or perhaps you’re simply wondering whether you can make it through another year of homeschooling. Whatever your circumstances, God is challenging you with a Jordan. He is not content for you to merely acknowledge that He works in others’ lives. He is commanding you to “be strong and of a good courage.” It is in your circumstances that He wills you to “stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will show to you today” (Exodus 14:13).
We may not all have been called to the enormity of the task that faced Joshua, yet whatever we are facing can feel equally daunting. But the same God that led the children of Israel out of Egypt on dry ground through the Red Sea, providing for and guiding each of their steps through the wilderness, was with Joshua to lead them across the dry riverbed of the Jordan. And it is that same God who stepped into history to redeem us with His blood, that same God who has walked with Christian martyrs through the fire, and that same God who walks at our sides today. To walk by faith is to live knowing that He has chosen and specifically placed you for His sovereign purposes, not because of what you can do for Him but because of what He can do in and through you. So “be strong and of a good courage.” Your Jordan is just another opportunity for the great I AM to show His changeless power on your behalf for His Name’s sake.
Deuteronomy 33:26-27a “There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky. The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”