“Israel Crosses the Jordan
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 three 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 two thousand 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.” To the priests Joshua said, “Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass on in front of the people.” So they took up the ark of the covenant and went in front of the people.
The Lord said to Joshua, “This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, so that they may know that I will be with you as I was with Moses. 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.’ ” Joshua then said to the Israelites, “Draw near and hear the words of the Lord your God.” Joshua said, “By this you shall know that among you is the living God who without fail will drive out from before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites: the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is going to pass before you into the Jordan. So now select twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. When the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan flowing from above shall be cut off; they shall stand in a single heap.”
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 toward 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.
The Faith of Moses1
By faith Moses was hidden by his parents for three months after his birth, because they saw that the child was beautiful; and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called a son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to share ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered abuse suffered for the Christ to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, unafraid of the king’s anger; for he persevered as though he saw him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.
The Faith of Other Israelite Heroes
By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as if it were dry land, but when the Egyptians attempted to do so they were drowned.
To “have faith” is to act a specific way. It means to “act as if” the reality you have faith in already exists. In the words of Joshua, it means “Sanctify yourselves; for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” The act or acts of faith change who we are in such a profound way that to say a person “has” faith is like saying someone “has” crazy. We don’t have crazy. If we act crazy, we are crazy. Our deeds are either judged to be faithful (or full of faith), or faithless. There is no in-between when it comes to faith.
There is one other mystery about faith. It is not considered a verb itself, but it can inform our actions from the outside. We do things “in faith”, “by faith”, maybe even “through faith”. These phrases always keep faith objectively out of our hands… as if it is not something we can ever claim for ourselves. Like every good and perfect gift, faith comes from God, but I think, like all those gifts He gives us, He wants us to own it and put it to good use. Indeed, it could be argued that if someone has faith but does not use it, they only prove that they do not really have it at all.
We prove what we will have tomorrow by our faith today.
What is the biggest challenge to your faith today?
What is one thing you can do today to prepare for God’s goodness in store tomorrow?
- (Ex 2:1–10; 12:31–51)↩