And Joshua said to the children of Israel, Come here, and hear the words of the LORD your God.…
The Jordan of Canaan stands for any difficulty which the Lord commands us to encounter. Between us and the goal at which we are aiming, there is often some wide Jordan which, at the time, seems to us to be very peculiarly broad. At another time, when the stream is not so wide, we think that we might dare to make the attempt, but just now the thing seems too hazardous. We think we had better wait for a little, until the waters abate. So we stand on the brink shivering, and dare not plunge into the waves. How many a sinner has felt thus, as he has heard the call of God to forsake his sins! If only this or that were a little different, he thinks he might venture, but just now the opportunity seems hardly propitious. To the believer the same temptation comes, as he faces some duty, and recognises that it is a duty, while yet he shrinks from it to-day. To-morrow, he argues, will be a more favourable season; and so he too refuses to step boldly into the flood. We all are inclined to ask that the billows may cease flowing before we are called to descend into their very midst. Is it not so? Let the example of this people, whom we have so often condemned with a kind of superior feeling of virtue, spur us to better ways of heeding the command of God. All that we need to be sure of is that we have the command of God. Sure of that, there is only one thing to be done by the believer, and that is to go ahead. If God says, "Go into the water, and when you get there the way will be made clear," we may be sure that in due time the waters will cease. Ours is to go ahead, and God's business is to see that the waters abate. If we do our part, we need not fear but what He will do His. "It is the first step that costs," is a proverb as true in religious matters as things secular. Many an undertaking that seemed impossible when we started has become very easy before we were done with it. Like the ten lepers who were told to go and show themselves to the priests before a spot of their leprosy had departed from them, but who as they went were cleansed, so it happens to the people of God: as they go, they receive the fulness of blessing, whereas had they waited for that until they were willing to start, they would have received nothing at all. How many blessings do you suppose you have failed to receive simply because you have refused to move until the whole way was made clear to you? You can at least go as far as the brink of the water, and even put your feet into the water, without being drowned. Why not try that much, and see what will happen? Is it not worth while?
(A. F. Schauffler, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, Come hither, and hear the words of the LORD your God.