Daily Dose, June 5 — Summer Blockbusters: Big Bible Stories

  Early in the morning Joshua rose and set out from Shittim with all the Israelites, and they came to the Jordan. They camped there before crossing over. At the end of 3 days the officers went through the camp and commanded the people, “When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God being carried by the Levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place. Follow it, so that you may know the way you should go, for you have not passed this way before. Yet there shall be a space between you and it, a distance of about 2,000 cubits; do not come any nearer to it.” Then Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves; for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you. You are the one who shall command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, ‘When you come to the edge of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.’” When the people set out from their tents to cross over the Jordan, the priests bearing the ark of the covenant were in front of the people. Now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest. So when those who bore the ark had come to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the edge of the water, the waters flowing from above stood still, rising up in a single heap far off at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, while those flowing towards the sea of the Arabah, the Dead Sea, were wholly cut off. Then the people crossed over opposite Jericho. While all Israel were crossing over on dry ground, the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, until the entire nation finished crossing over the Jordan. (Joshua 3:1-5, 8, 14-17) Being a strong a faithful leader can take a lot of forms. The Bible reading for today helps to illustrate this truth. It’s part of the story of the people of Israel coming to the end of their many years of wandering in the desert. They stand at the edge of their literal promised land. And God chooses and uses a variety of people as they move forward. I’d like for you to consider three specific types of leadership that I see in this story.

1.) Someone had to say to the people, “Watch and wait for God to guide us.” Someone needed to be the one remembering what God has already done. Someone needed to be a “keeper of the promises” of God -- with those promises clearly in mind when it comes to directions and decisions. Someone needed to remind the people that God had told them he would go ahead of them. This person must be willing to listen and obey God’s direction in their lives. If the thought of being this sort of leader scared you, look again at verses 4 and 5 and the promises that they hold: “Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before…the Lord will do amazing things among you.”

2.) Someone had to be willing to be among the first to get wet…and to stay wet. They had to be willing to serve. Someone had to join Joshua, defy convention, wade into the swollen river and move out to where God was leading them. The Scripture indicates that the waters did not change course UNTIL the priests were in the river. This means they entered the swollen river with the only assurance being that God had said to be with them. AND SO THEY WENT! Part of serving God means acting as a marker for others in their journey when they may not be able to see God: “God is here, God is real, God is working!” We need people to point to the “landing zone.” We need people to wade out into the waters of uncertainty, confident in God’s promises.

3.) Someone had to be willing to go where God was leading. You can almost picture it -- there had to be the first person taking a step into the river behind the priests. That person was the first of MANY, MANY PEOPLE. The power of this story and of God’s provision falls apart if the people don’t ACTUALLY cross the river into the land God had promised them. The people had to be willing to follow where God had led them through Joshua and the priests.

Three frogs were sitting on a lily pad, and one decided to jump off. How many were left? Still 3. Deciding to do something -- and ACTUALLY doing something -- are different things. How will you step out and be a leader for the Kingdom of God? -- Rev. Brad Greene