For most of us, at some point early on in our career, we could relate to the Israelites. You may not have wandered the woods for 40 years, but chances are, you’ve been in their shoes – face to face with a life defining moment with no other option but to trust in the Lord. For the Israelites, it was the Jordan River but for you it may be a new job, a new position, or any other shift in your career.
The Book of Joshua tells us that after camping on the edge of the river for three days, the Israelites were given their orders to cross. Joshua 3:2-4 details, “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the Levitical priests carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before.”
But the Israelites trusted Joshua and just as he said it would happen, “as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing… and all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.” (Joshua 3:15-16).
So here you are, the edge of your “Jordan River,” it’s easy to see the other side and the promises God has made you regarding your future – but you’ve never been that way before. It’s a new path, a new set of responsibilities.
Here’s what we can take from the Israelites and their trek across the Jordan:
We must wait for God to move first.
The ark of the covenant represented the presence of God for the Israelites. Just like the Israelites, we too should be patient. We often get ahead of ourselves in our work, looking for the next big promotion, next big project, or fancy new title – but we must wait for God to move first.
So many of us see our situations and are quick to run, jumping into the river haphazardly without God’s guidance or leadership. Ask yourself this, how many times have you moved ahead of the presence of God in your work? How often have things worked out for the better in those situations?
We can trust God to lead us.
Robert Frost famously said in his poem The Road Not Taken, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” Imagine if we all had Frost’s courage, backed by confidence in God and His unwavering guidance and leadership?
Though we “have never been this way before,” we can look to God to lead us. We can trust that when God guides us to our Jordan River, the water will stop flowing and we will cross into our “promise land” just the same as the Israelites.
Isaiah reminds us in Isaiah 58:11, “The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”
So, the next time you are facing your Jordan River, focus on what God is about to call you to do – here are some ways you can hone your focus:
- Journal your thoughts: writing down both the good and the bad can help us recognize and name the emotions we are feeling. Look for common phrases and patterns in your thoughts to help you narrow in on where specifically you need God’s guidance.
- Share: If you feel comfortable, share your thoughts with someone close to you. Hearing our thoughts out loud can reveal gaps in our thinking and getting feedback and encouragement from others can help us focus our thoughts.
- Pray: We know from Ephesians 6 that staying persistent in prayer is helpful when facing hard situations. Isaiah reminds us in Isaiah 58:11, “The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”
Come back next week for part two of this blog, “Facing Your Jordan River: Walking in the Shoes of the Levitical Priests” where we discuss what it looks like to lead others across the Jordan River.