God will part the waters if we are willing to prepare ourselves spiritually. At the time of the writing of this article, a New Year has just begun. I know that there are many in our world who face obstacles that keep them from their “promised land.” I can assure you that God will part the waters and I want to give you some practical steps to follow as well.
Here is our scriptural passage:
Joshua 3:-5 “Then Joshua rose early in the morning; and they set out from Acacia Grove and came to the Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they crossed over. So it was, after three days, that the officers went through the camp; and they commanded the people, saying, “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests, the Levites, bearing it, then you shall set out from your place and go after it. Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure. Do not come near it, that you may know the way by which you must go, for you have not passed this way before.” And Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”
The children of Israel were at the point of crossing over into New Territory. God doesn’t do things very often in the same way. He is a God of infinite variety. You may recall that 40 years before when the children of Israel had crossed the Red Sea that Moses had put his rod up in the air and God had parted the waters. But this time God does something new. You cannot put God in a box. This time the priest carrying the ark of the Covenant will march right into the Jordan River.
We know looking back on this true event that God divides the Jordan for the children of Israel. God will part the waters for you as well. Imagine for a moment that you are one of those Israelites. The truth is that you find yourself in a similar state as they were. You too must march boldly into 2019.
New places and seasons are important to us as believers, because you are forced to do something that you have never done in the past. A New Year is important! Because we are forced to listen to the voice of God. You may be forced into a situation where you have to trust him. You are forced to depend on his leadership and guidance. And that is what God wants and desires in our lives.
I want you to try to imagine that vast crowd of two million Hebrews standing on the east bank of the Jordan River, just north of the Dead Sea. Before them, in that springtime season, the swollen waters of the Jordan are churning past them as if to challenge their audacity – if not their very sanity. There was no way to cross those waters short of having a pontoon bridge. And even if they got across, on the other side in that promised land of Canaan were the walled, heavily fortified cities of giants.
Many wondered out loud, what was going to happen next. Would they retreat back into the desert, or did the leadership have some genius idea about crossing the floodwaters? The leader was Joshua. His words were simple, and faith filled, “Tomorrow would be the big day! Invasion day! At dawn they would cross the Jordan!
But how? The waters were swollen. They were at floodtide. There were no boats, there were no bridges. Moses the former leader was gone and so was his rod. In the natural it looked hopeless. I can assure you that Satan wanted for fear to begin to sneak into camp.
Joshua stated: “You have not passed this way before.” After years of dry sand and blowing hot winds and unfulfilled dreams, miles and miles of rocks, nomadic invaders, deadly snakes, and unmarked graves, finally there was hope that they could enter into the promised land. They just had one huge obstacle. The Jordan River at flood stage.
Some of the more visionary Hebrews were saying that tomorrow would be the first day of a glorious future. Some of the less believing may not have been so sure. Someone had better tell the priest about the thick mud, and the ooze that could pull them beneath the waters. Someone should tell them that the current was strong. They hadn’t crossed many rivers.
At long last dawn came. The crowds gathered in their prescribed formations at the edge of the flood. No one knew what awaited them. About one thousand yards ahead of the Jordan crossers, the priests carried the sacred ark of the covenant. This was a chest made of wood and cased with gold inside and out. It was about four feet long and two feet wide. It was usually housed inside of the Holy of Holies, inside the portable tabernacle.
It represented the throne of God’s glory and power in the midst of Israel. Inside the ark was a pot of manna, Aaron’s budding rod, and the tablets of Commandments from Mount Sinai. The ark was always the center of attraction when Israel was right with God. The pot of manna was a supreme example of God’s care and Gods provision. There is nothing that will happen in the course of your life that is not provided for amply in the wisdom of Almighty God. Aaron’s budding rod was an example of God’s miraculous manner of shaping Israel’s affairs. Let us never forget we also serve the supernatural God. Inside that ark was the tablets of stone containing Gods moral law. His word was true. His promises were sure.
He had promised them the land. How many times they had heard it? They had rehearsed the promises given to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. And in more recent years through Moses, Joshua and Caleb. It was on the basis of Jehovah’s word that they prepared to march.
I wonder what was in the heart of the priest as they approached the banks! Could it have been a boldness, and a courage like the heart of a Lion? There is nothing more exciting as being part of a miracle. There is no mention of any fear whatsoever!
Splash, Splash, Splash Splash. The priest feet only got wet on the bottom. As soon as the feet of those carrying the Ark of the Covenant touched the water’s edge. The water stopped flowing.
IT was as if two great invisible hands – one north at a city named Adam, the city that is beside Zaretan and one in the south at the Great Salt Sea- were pulling the Jordan River in two. The Water was separating leaving a dry pathway.
Moments later, with walls of water at each side, the Hebrews crossed the divinely created interstate into the beloved and long-awaited land of Canaan, the promised land.
What a great story from Gods Word, But the truth, the application of it is just as real today as it was then. God will part the waters if we but have the courage to march forward. There is nothing as exciting as an adventurous life with Christ. We serve the same God that Joshua and Caleb did. The same God that parted the Jordan river. The same God that divided the Red sea is the God that you serve.
We know that we will face some obstacles in 2019. There may be things that the enemy throws in our path…maybe even things we have never experienced. But I want to make a declaration today: God will part the waters! This is a year when God will manifest his power. This is a year when God will do wonders among us. Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever!
IF WE ARE TO MARCH BOLDY FORWARD INTO 2019 AND SEE THAT GOD WILL PART THE WATERS…
- WE MUST PREPARE OURSELVES SPIRITUALLY
I want to encourage the body of Christ today. God has something good in store for us in 2019.
I believe we will see water baptisms of people who have given their life to Christ. I believe we will see Spirit baptisms as people are filled to overflow by the Holy Spirit. I believe we will hear testimony of healings. I believe that marriages can be restored. I believe that Jesus still sets people free. An alcoholic can be set free because the Word says, Whom the Son sets free is free indeed.
Joshua promised the people of his day wonders. Joshua 3:5 “And Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” Doesn’t the word promise us the same thing? Mark 16:17-18 “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Wonders. For me, the greatest wonder is when someone fully gives their life to Christ and they become a new creation. But I have a question today. Is it an automatic thing? Will the wonders automatically happen? Or do we need to prepare ourselves? Do we need to sanctify ourselves? And if so, how do we do that?
The word sanctify is a bible word, you don’t really hear it much outside of the bible. It sounds like kind of a spooky word. But it is not complicated. It simply means, to set apart. In the Old Testament, they would sanctify certain object for use in the temple. It may have been a basin or a bowl, but once it was sanctified, it meant that it was going to be used for God’s purposes. They would dedicate it to the Lord. They would set it apart for God’s purposes and God’s use. It was blessed. It was holy. It was set apart.
And God wants for us to be set apart. He wants for us to be sanctified. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 says “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Paul is asking God to sanctify the Thessalonians. But as we study the word, we know that this is something we have to participate in. This is something, we need to do. Paul tells the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 7:1 “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
As we begin a New Year, I think it is good for every Christian to take some time and set it apart in order that we might be set apart. I want you to understand how that happens. It only happens as we spend time with God. Perhaps you should spend some time with God. I challenge you to fast and to pray. I challenge you to study the Word. If you have never fasted before, start with one meal a day. Open up the bible, begin to read it.
Ephesians 5:26 “…that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,” It is the Word that cleanses us and sets us apart. The more you are in the Word, the more that will happen. You may be here and have never really studied the bible. I want to give you a way you can study, just by reading one chapter a day. It is an acrostic called SOAP
Scripture – read a chapter in the bible.
Observation – look back and read it again. What is it that you observe in that scripture?
Application – then look at again and decide, how are you going to apply this scripture to your life.
Prayer – Write a prayer down in your journal asking God to give you the grace to apply it to your life.
I know that we all have our habits. We come home from work and we want to plop down on the couch and watch tv. I am asking that you think about your media input. I am asking that you think about your time online, your social media time.
Prepare yourself spiritually and God will part the waters!
If we are going to march boldly into 2019 we also must
- BE WILLING TO FOLLOW HIS LEADING
God is always moving. A lot of people think, that God is sitting up in the heavens and he is not actively doing things. That is a misnomer. God is moving. If we are going to see great things happen among us. We must follow him.
I want you to notice Joshua 3:4 “Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure. Do not come near it, that you may know the way by which you must go,”
In those days, the presence of God was above the mercy seat in between the golden cherubim. And it was a fearful thing. People were afraid to get close. They had felt the mountain shake at Sinai. But the people were still to follow. Two thousand cubits was a distance of about a thousand yards. Obviously, they couldn’t run ahead of it. And then, they could not lag behind. Any more than 1000 yards and they wouldn’t have known where to go. But the point was they had to move forward when the ark passed.
Now you and I have a wonderful privilege. We do not have to follow God by a thousand yards. If you are a believer in Jesus. You have Christ in you the hope of glory. And if you will learn to recognize his voice. There is the Holy Spirit. One of his names is that he is the paraclete. That simply means the one who is called alongside to help. The scripture tells us that we are the sheep of his pasture. And his sheep know his voice. So, if you have ears to hear, we can hear what the Spirit is saying to his people. Sometimes God is going to ask us to do things we have never done.
Is there anyone that is willing to follow his lead completely? I can assure you that means doing things that you have never done. But I assure you that if you follow his leading as did Joshua and the children of Israel God will part the waters
And then if we are going to march boldly into 2019.
- WE CANNOT GIVE IN TO FEAR!
Can you imagine being one of the priests who carried the ark. They were carrying a most precious possession. They were supposed to march boldly right toward a river at flood stage.
It would have been easy to give into fear. It would have been easy to doubt. It would have been easy to look at things only through the natural eyes.
Joshua 3:14-15 “So it was, when the people set out from their camp to cross over the Jordan, with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, and as those who bore the ark came to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests who bore the ark dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks during the whole time of harvest),”
God is not the author of fear. And the scripture doesn’t mention that they had any fear. Their faith overcame. I want to say that I have been in ministry for many years. Anything and everything that is done, usually requires an element of faith.We have to remember that the same God who divided the Jordan, who knocked down the walls of Jericho is our God today.
One of the enemies you will have to deal with in 2019 is fear. In our ministry we are challenging people to tither for 60 days. Why don’t people tithe? The enemy is fear. You are afraid. You do not trust God. Go ahead and obey his Word and God will part the water for you.
Here is a great question, what would you do for God in 2019 if you knew that you could not fail? Answer that question. Then answer this one. Why don’t you do it? let me tell you why. You are afraid. Afraid of failure. Afraid of the time commitment. Afraid you may be ridiculed. Your enemy is not lack. Your enemy in not sickness. Your enemy is not a person, place or thing. The enemy that you will have to deal with is that enemy called Fear.
Fear is nothing more than False Evidence Appearing Real. If you lose your job…what is the first emotion you have? Fear. If someone walks out of your life or a relationship is broken. What emotion do you have? Fear. What is going to happen to you. You have never been there before. How will you handle it?
Changes can be the most frightening part of life. I know that every mom knows exactly what I am talking about. Do you remember what it was like the first day you took little Billy Bob to Kindergarten? You had never been there before. From the quiet rooms of your home to the noisy bustling school you go. A lot of moms have a hard time on that day.
Billy Bob will never be the same. He is entering new territory. But what do you do? You march right in there and after a couple of months all the fears that you had about his school attendance subsides.
And then a few years later that awful moment comes when Billy gets his Permit to drive. How many of you know that new territory can cause Fear! And then that big day comes, when he buys that first car and he is off on his own. But after awhile everyone gets used to it.
Coaches often tell their basketball or baseball or football team this council. Lose to your opponent, but don’t lose to fear. Do you know that many a team has lost to fear before they ever lost to their opponent? So many times, the difference is in the team that has faith and believes that they can win and the team that lets fear set in.
Did you know that anything you fear you give power to that thing? Anything you attribute power to has control over you. Fear is caused by the intellect that operates on the basis of precedent or history or past experience. Since the intellect makes its decisions on precedent, and there is nothing else to go on. The intellect immediately registers PANIC.
I want to make you laugh for a minute. Because Satan will paint a picture of a bunch of lies in order to get you to fear. Here is a totally ridiculous illustration: The have reported the amazing discovery that pickles cause cancer, communism, airline tragedies, auto accidents, and crime waves.
99.9% of cancer victims have eaten pickles sometime in their lifetime.
96.8 % of all communist sympathizers have eaten pickles as well.
99.7 % of those involved in car accidents and air tragedies.
Moreover, those born in 1839 and who ate pickles have suffered a 100% mortality rate.
And rats force fed 20 pounds of pickles a day end up with bulging abdomens and loss of appetite.
That is all false evidence appearing real. I don’t know what you are facing today. But do not give into fear. Rather, boldly march forward in faith. God will part the waters! Replace your false evidence appearing real with the truths of God’s word!