Summary: When do we take action and when do we wait?
Please open your Bible to Joshua 4…. For Communion last week, we looked at the end of this chapter as we related the memorial of stones from the Jordan River to the bread and drink to remember Jesus Christ. In the middle of Chapter 4, God tells us what the Israelites did once almost all of them had crossed the river safely! Before reading this passage, look back briefly with me to Joshua 3:14-17….
And so, there was godly instructions…. Now read along with me Joshua 4:10-18….
2 things to note from v10: the priests remained standing in the middle of the river and the Israelites did everything God commanded.
v11: once the nation of Israel had crossed the river, the priests moved closer to the bank but they did not leave the river! I find this interesting that the priests moved but they did not leave the river. Any thoughts on why they moved??
Now, what can we note from v12-13? We can note at least 4 things:
1. There will be war in Jericho!
2. About 40000 men were armed and ready for battle.
3. 3 Tribes were represented by the soldiers!
4. They were following instructions from Moses, who was already dead.
Why would 40000 men risk their lives for a dead man??
The Israelites were actually following God, who spoke through Moses (note: they went “before the Lord”). They were following instructions through men but they lived with God in mind!
v14: People were in awe of men, because they were godly men!
And so we note again in v15-17: God gave Joshua instructions and Joshua obeyed.
There is something interesting here about Joshua; what is it??
Except for the priests holding the Ark of the covenant, as soon as all the Israelites had gone safely across to the Promised Land, why didn’t Joshua just say to the priests, “guys, were all safe now, get out of there and join us!”
What did Joshua do??
Joshua waited on the Lord! And let us also note, as we can read in
v18: The priests also waited on the Lord! Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of the priests, we’ve been standing there carrying the ark for who knows how long, 3 million people passed by and safely across, the mighty Jordan River is gurgling in a distance waiting to flow down again, our boss Joshua has not told us a thing, could we have waited that long?
Was it real? Picture yourself there with the Israelites watching as the priests comes out of the river…. Whoosh!
There were over 3 million witnesses to God’s mighty power!!!
What Biblical principles form this passage can we apply to our lives?
God understands us who are fallen but we must learn when to wait on the Lord and when to take action!
Let’s start with the easy one; When do we know for sure we are to take action??
We must take action when God speaks to us! Does God speak to us today? God is constantly speaking to us, through the Bible, through the Holy Spirit, through our godly conscience, through other people, through creation? Are we listening? What is God telling us personally? Are we doing what God is telling us?
When do we wait on the Lord??
Like Joshua and the Priests at the Jordan, we must careful of taking action when God has not told us specifically! How do we know when God has not told us?? Always check the Bible; Check yourself or ask someone!
We noted that the Priests in the Jordan walked to the other side of the river but we don’t see them being instructed to do so. There may be times when we just take action, even though not told; but what should we do before taking action when we are not told by God??
Prayer is a must before taking any action, then it is in God’s loving hands! No matter what happens, if we bring it to the Lord, He will take care of us!! God is good all the time, not just some of the time!!
And finally, one more thing before taking action; God tells us something that can be easily missed… look again at v11…The priests may have taken action without being told, but what does God tell us here??
After praying about it, call on godly witnesses if you take action when God has not said anything.