Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lead not on your own understanding… Proverbs 3:5 (NIV)
Just when we think we have God figured out, he changes the rules. Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt after stunning displays of God’s power. And then they came to the Red Sea. The battle-hardened army of Pharaoh got closer to the fleeing Israelites, and God’s children were, understandably, terrified. Moses reassured them by saying that God would fight for them.
What did God do? He told Moses to raise his hand so that the Israelites could cross the sea on dry ground. And that’s just what happened. The Israelites were just as joyful after escaping as they had been angry and frightened only the day before. They put their trust in God, danced, and sang praises.
We know that the bliss didn’t last, and after one too many complaints, God’s chosen people wandered forty long years in the wilderness. But God gave them another chance. When they were again approaching the Promised Land, God told Joshua to instruct the priests to take the ark and wade on out into the River Jordan (then at flood stage). Surely, Joshua remembered the first time they’d crossed through the water. It must have been much more comfortable to see the Sea open and then go across on dry land than to have to push forward through a swift-moving current.
There at the banks of the Jordan God upped the trust level AND the obedience level. (After all, the Israelites tended to have defective memories when it came to following God.) But God knew his man. Joshua, one of the spies who had encouraged the Israelites to conquer the Promised Land forty years earlier, listened and obeyed.
The priests took the ark, got into the water, and when “their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing.” Instead of relying on prior experience or his own understanding, Joshua listened to God and obeyed. The children of Israel entered the Promised Land.
Oh, Lord, how often do we assume to know your ways when we fail to listen to your voice? Remind us that your ways are higher than ours and that you do want us to depend totally on you. Thank you. In Jesus’ name.