August 07, 2012


Joshua 3:9-17

As soon as … their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing.
—Joshua 3:15-16


“Come here and listen to the words of the LORD your God,” Joshua said to Israel. Our verses today reveal how “the LORD of all the earth” would show that he is the one true God.

The gods of other kings had been worthless in defense of their people (Joshua 2:10). How would Baal compare as the Canaanites’ storm god, believed to bring rain and fertility?

It was harvest time, and the Jordan River was filled to overflowing. To the Canaanites it would appear that Baal had blessed them and was defending them. Surely no army could cross the great barrier of the swollen river. Still, everyone had heard of the Israelites’ crossing at the Red Sea (see Exodus 14-15; Joshua 2:10).

It’s foolish to put confidence in worthless gods. When the feet of the servants of the Lord, who created heaven and earth, touched the flooded Jordan, the waters receded. In his presence God’s people passed through on dry ground.

The waters of the Jordan provided bountiful harvests. But it was not Baal who sent the rains to fill Canaan’s rivers. Only the Lord God of Israel sent the rains to bless the land. Earth’s vast resources are God’s gifts for good living, but those resources themselves do not deserve our trust.

Trust in God and in his Son, Jesus, who stills stormy waters, and feeds thousands, to this very day. (See Mark 4:35-41; 6:30-51.)

Help me to trust only in your power, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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