Faith and obedience go hand in hand, they work together. Faith is never a passive word; it always requires us to take action.
I’ve been here before
Joshua had been there before, a place called Kadesh Banrnea; it was on the banks of the Jordon River. It was a familiar place; he was well acquainted with this spot, in fact for forty years it had been in his mind. What If – ever played the “What If” game; it goes something like this. What if I had only done this, what if I just gone right instead of left, what if I had gone there instead of stayed at home? Oh the “What If” game has many faces, all of them tend to have some regret attached to them.
For forty years Joshua and Caleb had lived with that day, “the day” when God’s promise stood before them; the land that God had given for their inheritance, “the Promised land”. Two million people had journeyed from Egypt via Mount Sinai. They had seen God do miraculous things, had received His provision, day after day, so why didn’t they do as God wanted and cross over? Fear entered their hearts, fear robbed them of faith, and so they turned around unable to go back and unwilling to go forward. So they wandered! For forty years.
So here we are stood on the banks of the Jordon, forty years later, there had been a lot of crying in the camp over the last forty years, the tears of grief as over a million people died, and the cries of a new generation that were born into this wandering people. I wonder what was going through Joshua’s mind? I wonder if that day forty years ago began to fill his mind. Isn’t strange how our past tries to dictate to us when we have faced with that moment of faith.
The word of God says in 2 Corinthians 10:5
New King James Version (NKJV)
“…casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”
We are to take captive those thoughts and not allow them to grow and rob us but give them to God, “cast all your cares upon him for he cares for you”
They say that every journey stars with the first step, it was no different here. The River was in flood, the banks were swollen, the water was rushing by. If this had been today the BBC would be putting out a Red warning, “keep away from the Jordon River area there is danger to life” So I wonder what the priests would have said to each other, “It’s alright for him telling us to walk into the river, it’s our lives at stake” in fact it was a lot bigger than that, it was the whole nation’s lives at stake if they didn’t. Would it have been another forty years in the wilderness?
They had heard the word from God, now their faith required a step of obedience, it required faith because in the natural you would never do it, going to stand in a roaring flooded river, it required God to turn up and be faithful to His word. God is always faithful to His word.
It was the same with Peter. His journey to Jesus on the water required one step, this time out of the boat. Just one step into or should I say onto the water, and the rest is history as they say.
And so it was with the children of Israel their step of faith responding in obedience to God, this time it took them in, into the promises of God.
Most of us may never be faced with the same request from God as the two examples above, but the principle is still the same, and we have to respond in faith and obedience to God. Whatever He may ask us to do.
We may all have Kadesh Barnea, we have been there before, we have gone round the mountain, and I know I have. God is gracious, He brings us round for another go and He’s waiting for us to take that first step.
What will be your next Faith step?