Faith has a starting place. There is a moment when we first believe.
Faith has an end. There will come a day, for those who have placed faith in Jesus, when faith will no longer be needed. We will see Him face-to-face.
There is a middle place. It is in the middle where you find the action, the tension, the events that make a story worth telling.
We are in just this kind of place - the middle. This is where the story gets interesting.
Scripture is full of these kinds of stories but we all too often rush right by the middle to get to the resolution of the moment of faith. I hope to explore just a few of these over the next few weeks. Today we simply need to get our feet wet.
In Joshua 3:1-6 & 14-17 is this wonderful story of faith in the middle. The beginning of the story we are familiar with, we're even acquainted with the ending of this chapter of faith, but it is this moment on which it all depends. Decisions are made at this point that set into motion everything that follows. It required a few priests to get their feet wet. Be sure to take a moment to read the story.
Taking a quick look back we recall that at this moment in the biblical story we are keeping company with the second generation of those who had been delivered from slavery in Egypt. These are the children of the folks who experienced the Passover and crossed the Red Sea on dry ground. These are the children of those who woke up each morning to find bread on the ground and who had seen water come from a rock at a moment of great need. These kids have grown up on the stories of God's faithfulness and probably went to bed many nights thinking, "I wish I could see God do something like that!"
This people of faith had a destiny to fulfill but there was something standing in their way, namely the Jordan river at flood stage. This 2nd generation had ample proof of God's power from their past, however their past tense faith was not adequate for their present tense needs. They needed someone to put their toes in the water.
Mark Batterson, in his book Wild Goose Chase, makes this statement "You know why some of us have never seen God part a river? Because our feet are still firmly planted on dry ground. We're waiting on God while God is waiting on us."
The question standing smack dab in the middle of this story is, "Would the priests trust God?" These guys took a risk. They laid in on the line. You see, if God doesn't come through here, these guys carrying the ark of the covenant are just going for a swim. Pretty foolish looking possibility for a dignified priest. They took the lead with everybody watching them.
Think about this for a moment. The first priests socks get wet and nothing really noticeable happens. It takes a little bit for all that flood stage water to drain off. It took a lot of faith to step into that river in the first place. I believe it took even more to keep on standing there. The question the priests had to answer standing there with their wet socks was not whether or not it made sense for them to be there with wet socks but the question they had answer was, "Has God instructed us to do this?" They answered in the affirmative. Their actions clearly display this truth.
A little while later in the story the last person from the people of Israel walks across the Jordan with their dry shoes and socks. The only ones who have not crossed all the way over are the priests standing in the now dry river bed with soggy socks and soaring spirits. They, like no one else in all of Israel, had one incredible story to tell. The story about the day they were the only ones who got their feet wet. Sure, everybody experienced the walk across the Jordan, but there were only a few whose faith made a difference on that day. After all, it doesn't take much faith to walk on dry ground. Getting your toes wet while expecting God to dry the water up is a different story.
Anybody out there ready to get their feet wet?