Going back to Joshua 1:2, we see that God continued to deliver his message to Joshua by saying, “Moses my servant is dead: now therefore arise, go over this Jordan....” Immediately after Joshua was called into ministry, he received his first assignment: Lead the children of Israel across the Jordan River into the Promised Land.
At that particular time, the Jordan River was at flood stage. Its raging waters were overflowing from its banks, and its currents were dangerously wild. Because Joshua’s promotion was still so new, the Israelites were probably wondering if he had any leadership ability. So when Joshua told them that they were going to cross a large, flooding river, they probably thought that their doubts about him were right after all!
I can almost hear them saying, “Lead us across the Jordan at this time? Don’t you realize that the river is at flood stage right now? Where is your mind? Do you intend to tell us that God actually told you to lead us over that river at this exact time? What kind of God would tell you to do such a crazy thing? That isn’t even logical, Joshua!”
It wasn’t as if the children of Israel were strangers to great demonstrations of God’s power. Under the leadership of Moses, they had witnessed the Red Sea miraculously part at their feet so they could walk across a dry sea bed to the other side. But that, of course, was when Moses was the leader — not Joshua. In the minds of the Israelites, there was surely no way that Joshua could ever be the kind of leader that Moses had been!
This is precisely the reason that God initiated Joshua’s ministry with a supernatural challenge. Something supernatural had to happen to prove to the people of Israel that Joshua really was God’s man.
Place yourself in Joshua’s shoes. How do you think he felt when he heard the Holy Spirit tell him to cross over the Jordan River? He knew the river was at flood stage and that he would probably receive a lot of criticism from some people for suggesting such a ridiculous idea. Beginning his ministry with this assignment would be an incredible leap of faith.
Joshua would have probably preferred to start out with a much simpler command from God, such as teaching people to pray or believing God to heal the sick. But that wasn’t God’s plan. Instead, God laid before Joshua an awesome task: To lead millions of people across a flooding river that they didn’t want to cross during the worst season of the year.
When God first calls men or women into a position of leadership, sometimes He doesn’t give them the leisure of taking tiny baby steps to ease their transition into their new roles. Instead, He requires them to do something monumental right at the start because their new assignments are so important. In these cases, God’s intention is to show these new leaders that the Holy Spirit is always with them, as well as to prove to their followers that these men and women have what it takes to lead.
After the Jordan River parted and the Israelites passed through on dry ground, no one — including Joshua — ever questioned Joshua’s anointing again. That supernatural intervention of God validated his ministry in the eyes of the entire nation.
There is a negativism in human nature that often causes people to sit back and watch someone take a step of faith while speculating about that person’s potential failure. They may verbally express support to that person, but inwardly they often harbor unspoken reservations.
People like to hang back and watch for your next move. If your step of faith fails or if you don’t follow through on your commitment, they may conclude that you can’t really hear the voice of God or that your vision was bigger than your faith. But if they actually see you follow through on your words and accomplish something truly noteworthy that bears great fruit for God’s Kingdom, you’ll win over their hearts. And the next time you announce you’re going to do something that sounds outrageous and wild to the natural mind, people will be much more inclined to believe you!
This kind of confidence was especially important for Joshua because he would lead the children of Israel into many seemingly outrageous situations over the course of his ministry. For instance, on multiple occasions, he led the people of Israel into battles where they were grossly outnumbered by their enemies. At such a numerical disadvantage, the Israelite fighters should have been slaughtered according to the natural — but they weren’t. They won decisive victories over their enemies with the help of Almighty God!
The parting of the Jordan River not only established the people’s confidence in Joshua’s leadership, but it also built Joshua’s confidence. When those waters parted, a new surge of supernatural faith doubtlessly rose up in Joshua’s heart as he realized, It’s true! God really is with me! The same kind of anointing that was on Moses is now on me! I can see it!
The miraculous event that transpired at the Jordan River was only the beginning, setting the stage for many other incredible signs and wonders to be wrought through Joshua. Later on in his ministry, Joshua would even command the sun to stand still, and it would remain still for an entire day. Who would have ever thought such a thing would be possible? Yet the parting of the Jordan River had proved once again that with God, nothing is impossible. Just as Joshua was able to command the waters to part, he could have commanded the sun to obey in order to fulfill the plan of God (see Joshua 10:12,13).
You can rest assured that if God has called you to do something, He has also equipped and anointed you to fulfill that assignment.
So don’t be afraid to accept the new assignment that God has given to you. The task before you may look large, overwhelming, and even outrageous to your natural mind. But you can rest assured that if God has called you to do something, He has also equipped and anointed you to fulfill that assignment.
When the waters part before you and you pass through your predicament unharmed, you’ll be left with a wonderful new confidence — an assurance that you’re right in the middle of God’s will for your life.
There is no greater confidence than knowing you’re exactly where God wants you to be.