Taking the First Step

Those of us who have had children remember baby’s first step. We

practiced walking with them. They gripped our finger with their tiny

hands. We walked. They held on. Eventually, we dropped one hand and

walked some more. Then we wriggled our other hand loose from their

tight little fist. The child wobbled tentatively. They never did this

before. “Come on,” we encourage. “Come on. Walk to Daddy. Walk to

Mommy.” They wobbled some more. Then cautiously they put one foot out

and wobbled some more. As they got more confidence, they put the other

foot out again. And again. They fell. They get up. They fell again.

They got up again. Soon they were walking everywhere on their own.

Isn’t that how we are with our faith? Sometimes wobbly? Tentative?

Lacking confidence?

What does it take for you to take the first step of a new adventure?

We understand what’s required, but many times we’re not willing to

take that first step of faith. The naysayers descend with their

discouragement: “You can’t do that.” and their, “You’re too (old,

young, skinny, fat, unskilled) for that.” and their, “You don’t have

the right qualifications for that.” It’s easy for them to cast doubts

when they aren’t doing the stepping out.

What hinders you from taking that first step? Sometimes we get in the

way when God is waiting for us. Sometimes it’s little things. A sour

attitude, a naysayer, fear of the unknown, a flimsy excuse. We can

dream up excuses all day. Moses did. Isaiah did. Thomas did. But men

like Noah and Abraham and Daniel and David and Joseph didn’t worry

about stepping out in faith. They were all willing to take first

steps, despite the possibility of challenging times ahead. Rahab was

willing to risk her life and the lives of her family for men she had

never met. Hers wasn’t a step. It was a giant leap of faith.

Nowhere in the Bible do we find more critical first steps than the

Israelites took in faith when they crossed the Jordan River. They were

taking the first step into an adventure – into a whole new life in the

promise land. God’s people had crossed the Red Sea with Moses, but all

those people died in the desert. The group Joshua led had never been

here before. They had heard stories about the promise land and about

crossing the Red Sea. Now, here they were on the verge of crossing

over the Jordan River. This was an adventure for which they were ill

prepared. There were no defined parameters.

Crossing the Jordan would take preparation. Joshua prepared them by

providing the plan his people were to follow. They were to camp by the

river for three days. At the appointed time the priests were to carry

the ark ahead of them at a distance of about 3,000 feet (or about 30

football fields). Joshua told them to keep their eyes on the ark. “Do

not come near it,” Joshua said, “that you may know the way by which

you shall go, for you have not passed this way before.” Joshua 3:4.

They were prepared.

The next thing Joshua told them to do was to consecrate themselves.

Consecration meant the people needed to recognize they were set apart

to see the power of God at work. Consecration also implies

purification. We can not see the power of God at work in our lives

unless we are pure, unless we have no unconfessed sin in our lives.

After they consecrated themselves, God elevated them. The call of the

heart of God is for us to experience the great adventure of faith. God

was about to elevate Joshua to a level of leadership that would

convince the Israelites of God’s protection and provision. “This day,”

God said to Joshua, “I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all

Israel that they may know that just as I have been with Moses, I will

be with you.” Joshua 3:7.

Can you imagine what the Israelites thought as they watched the

priests who carried the ark step into the water? What did they think

when the waters stood up and rose in one heap to a great distance up

river? They were all smack dab in the middle of conquering the

impossible. Did they gasp as they tip-toed in their sandals across dry

ground that just a few minutes ago was a river overflowing its banks?

The crossing gave them all an opportunity to demonstrate true faith.

It gave them the opportunity to witness God’s mighty provision. And it

gave them the opportunity to experience the impossible.

When you meditate on this seemingly impossible story you discover some

things about God. First of all we discover that we can trust God to

give us instructions, just like he gave to Joshua. We can rely on God

to make provision for us. God’s plan for His people was for them to

inhabit the land he promised to Abraham way back in Genesis. God

provided everything Joshua and the Israelites would need to get there.

We also discover that we can trust God for the impossible. And we can

rest assured that our blessings come from action.

The Israelites couldn’t wish their was into the promise land. They

couldn’t get there any other way except to take action. To take the

first step.

What about you? Are you ready for God to show you unbelievable things

you do not know? Are you willing to cross your Jordan Rivers and trust

God to take you where He wants you to go.

You adventure begins when you become willing to take action. To take

the first step.