In our current Calvary teaching series — Undaunted Faith — we have been making our way through the Old Testament book of Joshua. How do we develop a faith that is undaunted by difficulty, disappointment and danger? That’s the question we are asking as we look at Joshua’s faith. The last few weeks I’ve noticed a pattern, God often calls us to take the first step. After we step, He goes to work and the work of God is amazing! But often — not always, but often — He waits for us to take the first step. Undaunted faith is a first step faith.
In Joshua 3, the people of Israel are led to the river Jordan, at the worst possible time. Nine months out of the year it’s a sweet little crick (that’s creek for all you easterners) but during the harvest it’s a raging river up to a mile wide. And of course God brings the people out of the wilderness to the river…during the harvest. As they are shaking their heads in discouragement, God gives them their instructions in vs 13…
And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the Lord the Lord of all the earth set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap. Joshua 3:13
When will God make a way through the river? They’ve come all this way, here’s the promised land, and there’s the uncrossable river. No way to reach the promise without going through the problem. The only way to go from the problem to the promise was by the bridge of God’s power. And someone has to be thinking, “NO WAY. What in the world has Joshua done?” There’s no way we can cross that. And God says, I will make a way through your no way.
But don’t miss the sequence. God says, “I will turn your no-way into a highway, but you have to take the first step. ”When — as in after — the Priests, carrying the ark, step into the raging, uncrossable river…then I’ll make a way.” Step first — amazing stuff second. Can’t you see the Priests jockeying for position at the the back of the ark? “Hey I was up front last week, your turn. I’ll follow you!”
God wants to test their faith. Step 1st. Miracle 2nd. This is…First Step Faith. We find it all over the place in the Bible, times when God wants to test and grow our faith all at the same time. “I am sufficient for you,” we hear God whisper. “I will be with you. I will give you my power. I will show you my glory. I will cause others to be amazed by what I do in you and through you. But I’m gonna ask you to take the first step. I’m going to ask you to take a risk. I’m going to ask you to exercise first step faith.”
- The walls of Jericho don’t fall till the people step out to walk around the city.
- Peter you can walk on the water, but first you need to step out of the boat.
- The crowd of 5000 do not get fed by Jesus until a young man first steps forward to give up his lunch.
- God doesn’t deliver his people till Esther risks her life by stepping forward to the King Xerxes.
- Resurrection doesn’t happen till Jesus sets his face to Jerusalem to walk up Golgatha with a cross on his back.
But God, I’m afraid. What if I fail? What if I step into the river and I drown? What if I do what you ask me to do and you don’t show up? And in that moment…at least sometimes I think we can hear the quiet whisper of God saying something like, “But what if I do” What if I do show up, ready to do something amazing…and you miss it. What do you have to lose?”
Whisper this to yourself a time or two, “I may have to get my feet wet, but God’s power is released after I take the first step.” Now ask yourself, Where Is God Calling Me to Take a Step?
Can I suggest one place where God is calling you to take a step? Your neighborhood. Look out the window. When is the last time your prayed for your neighbors? Or connected with your neighbors? Or even shared the gospel with your neighbors? But what if I step forward and God doesn’t show up? But what if He does… you probably won’t know till you take a step.