Thursday, March 29, 2012

Stepping Out

Are you a risk taker? Would you be the first person to bungee jump or the last one who was kicking and screaming the whole time? If you are a parent do you tell your kids "I hope you don't kill yourself!" as they hop on the skate board or are you the type of parent that puts the helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, and mouth piece in before explaining how dangerous skateboarding can be and how you knew kids who have broken bones skating?

I don't mean to sound sacrilegious but I tend to think God is a risk taker. I know, I know, God cannot take risks because he is omniscient and knows how everything will turn out. But I think he likes us to take risks and trust that he is in control. Take a look at this passage in the book of Joshua:

Joshua 3:14-17 - 14 So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. 15 Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, 16 the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17 The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.

Did you see it. Here is the scene. The priest are carrying the ark of the covenant and are told that they will have to carry it to the other side of the Jordan river. Notice from the passage that the river was at flood stage. I am sure you have seen pictures of rivers at flood stage. They can be moving very quickly and carrying all sorts of debris. These priest might have seen trees carried away, animals swept into the water, maybe even a few whitecaps. My guess is that these guys were nervous. My guess is that these guys might have been thinking "Why can't God go ahead and stop the waters before we have to step in them!?" "Why do we have to step in the raging river!?" God told them that he would part the waters after they step in, not before.

How many times does God ask us to do the same thing. Not take foolish risks like jumping out of an airplane with no parachute but take a step in faith. Maybe he is calling you to talk to the homeless guy you see every Saturday morning. Maybe he is asking you to step up and teach a Sunday school class of your peers. Maybe he is asking you to send your kids to public school! Regardless of what he may be asking the bigger question is how are you and I responding. Are we waiting for the risk to go away, are we waiting for the water to part before we step in or are we going to take a risk and see if he is still able to part the waters? My guess is that he is still able to do today what he did back then. We simply need to take that first step like the priest did and watch God do something amazing.

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