And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant
before the people;
And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,)
That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho.
And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed
over on dry ground, until all the people were
passed clean over Jordan. Jos 3:13-17
Let's break down these verses, and glean some wisdom from them. The devotion below is from Streams in the Desert.
The people were not to wait in their camps until the way was opened, they were to walk by faith. They were to break camp, pack up their goods, form in line to march, and move down to the very banks before the river would be opened.
If they had come down to the edge of the river and then had stopped for the stream to divide before they stepped into it, they would have waited in vain. They must take one step into the water before the river would be cut off.
We must learn to take God at His Word, and go straight on in duty, although we see no way in which we can go forward. The reason we are so often balked by difficulties is that we expect to see them removed before we try to pass through them.
If we would move straight on in faith, the path would be opened for us. We stand still, waiting for the obstacle to be removed, when we ought to go forward as if there were no obstacles. -- Evening Thoughts
What a lesson Columbus gave to the world of perseverance in the face of tremendous difficulties.
For three days the host faced that swollen river. It was enough to appall them, except that, like Abraham, they dared to behold it in the light of the divine promise. Every method was adopted to impress on them that the river was cleft by and for the Ark. The distance between the people and the advancing priests was purposely widened that there might be no doubt about the miracle. Whenever we step out on the unknown path, the Ark of the Covenant, which symbolizes Christ, precedes, Isa_52:12.
The waters far up the stream were arrested and formed themselves into a vast lake. The bed of the river became dry for miles. The priests stood still till all Israel was safely over. Not only the leaders and priests, but the rank and file. Each of the blood-bought is dear to God. They shall not come into judgment, Joh_5:24. F.B. Meyer
Think about it, people can knit pick, find fault with the man, and those who chose to take this voyage with him at the risk of their lives-but I can say without fear of debate, that few would take up the challenges he took on. There's always many who talk with great bravado-but, he did it. He didn't just talk about it. The real problem with his critics-is jealousy and envy.
Those who got on the boats with him, shared the same dangers, risks, and hardships. But they were willing to take the risks, because they weren't willing to live in the oppression and tyranny they were under anymore, they were willing to face death, to achieve freedom, and the ability to live out their faith, and forge a new life. Those who made it, lived to see wonderous sights and a new continent, which changed history forever. We here in America, live and still reap the benefits of their courage, faith, and boldness to this day; even those who hate him, and would like to destroy what history spoke of him.
As the story of Joshua above shows us, it wasn't a matter of waiting until they felt the courage, or waiting to see the waters part before they moved-it was taking the steps and moving on, into the adversity. As they moved on and stepped their feet into the water, God met their faith, and parted the waters as they moved forward.
What he accomplished was biblical, in the same level of courage, faith, and determination that Moses and Joshua had.
No one, can take this from Christopher Columbus.
Behind him lay the gray Azores,
Behind the gates of Hercules;
Before him not the ghost of shores,
Before him only shoreless seas.
The good Mate said: "Now we must pray,
For lo! the very stars are gone.
Brave Admiral, speak, what shall I say?"
"Why, say, ’sail on! sail on! and on!’"
"My men grow mutinous day by day;
My men grow ghastly wan and weak!"
The stout Mate thought of home; a spray
Of salt wave washed his swarthy cheek.
"What shall I say, brave Admiral, say,
If we sight naught but seas at dawn?"
"Why, you shall say at break of day,
’sail on! sail on! sail on! and on!’"
They sailed. They sailed. Then spake the Mate:
"This mad sea shows its teeth tonight.
He curls his lip, he lies in wait,
With lifted teeth, as if to bite!
Brave Admiral, say but one good word;
What shall we do when hope is gone?"
The words leapt like a leaping sword:
"Sail on! sail on! sail on! and on!"
Then, pale and worn, he kept his deck
And peered through darkness. Ah! that night
Of all dark nights! And then a speck--
A light! A light! A light! A light!
It grew, a starlit flag unfurled!
It grew to be Time’s burst of dawn.
He gained a world; he gave that world
Its grandest lesson: "On! sail on!"
-- Joaquin Miller
Faith that goes forward triumphs.