We hear the word miracle and our minds quickly move to Jesus and the amazing things He did while on the earth. But miracles were happening all the way back in the beginning. The Holy Spirit though not indwelling in all those who accepted Jesus, was still at work before Jesus times. We see his first appearance in Genesis 1 where it reads ‘the Spirit of God hovered over the waters’. Here in Joshua, we see the children of Israel experienced a miracle that they had heard about but would have never experienced. Their parents or grandparents had fled Egypt and had crossed the Red Sea on dry land. Here they were about to do the same thing.
The water above that point began backing up a great distance away at a town called Adam, which is near Zarethan. And the water below that point flowed on to the Dead Sea[c] until the riverbed was dry. Then all the people crossed over near the town of Jericho.
Moses has passed away and Joshua is leading the people into the promised land. They had already taken the land on this side of the Jordan, leaving behind the families of two tribes but requesting the men come and fight till all Israel had a home. Standing on the shores of the Jordan they could have taken the long route to go around finding a narrow bend or safer location to cross. As we read a few verses before the waters of the Jordan were gorged as it was flooded. To be in that crowd of people and hear Joshua cry forward into the water, would have been quite a scene. In faith, the priests carrying the Ark, the ‘home’ of God among His people, went in first. The waters began to open up as if divided by unseen hands, a mile one way and a mile the other. The riverbed exposed for the whole people and livestock to travel through.
The priest carrying the Ark moved to the middle of the river and waited until all had passed. This indicates that every man, woman, and child had to have passed the Ark and those carrying it. This was important as to show them that it was God who made this happen. It did not say Joshua was in the middle God waited in the middle to ensure all His people made it through safely. God is right there with you in the middle of whatever is happening in your life. Do not be fooled into thinking He is elsewhere not interested in what is happening to you. There very well could be a miracle happening all around you and you are just unaware as you follow the crowd through the river.
The last point I want to pull out of this verse is that when they arrived on the shore in the promised land they are right next to their first obstacle, Jericho. If you do not know why the city of Jericho was an issue I suggest you continue reading the next few chapters. But a quick review is that Jericho was a city with massive fortifications. Nothing that this wandering army had ever seen or had the weaponry to defeat yet God was calling them to take this city. Even worse the people had more than likely seen the river split or had heard reports of this mass of people coming from the river and were on high alert prepared for what was coming. So the Israelites came out of a miracle and directly into a problem. Expect in your life that when we do experience miracles that almost right away we may be challenged in some way that will make us question why we do what we do. The Israelites started asking why they had even bothered crossing to come to such adversity they could never overcome on their own. They lost sight of what God did almost as soon as the river splashed back into place. God is calling us to keep our eyes on Him and not the obstacle. As you will read God provided another miracle when the Israelites obeyed his direction. You can overcome your obstacles if you just ask and listen to God’s directions.
Father, there are many obstacles we come across in life, we believe you have the answer to them all. You can give us the tools to overcome or you can provide a miracle that no one can explain. Help us to see you in the miracle and give you all the glory. When adversity comes out the way we pray that the same power the Holy Spirit gave to split the sea or calm the waves or raise the dead will be empowered to us so that your name is lifted high. Use us to reach the lost and share your love and faithfulness to this world. Amen