I recently discovered something quite interesting in my devotions. While reading the Book of Joshua, I came to the place where the Israelites were crossing the Jordan River. The Scripture says, “as those who bore the ark came to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests … dipped in the edge of the water … the waters which came down from upstream stood still, and rose in a heap.” (Joshua 3:15-16) This account reminded me of the crossing of the Red Sea, so I went back a few books of the Bible to compare: “the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.” (Exodus 14:22) So in the crossing of the Red Sea, the waters were divided into two walls, but with the crossing of the Jordan River, the waters rose into one single heap! My conclusion: I guess God can perform miracles however He wants!
I got to thinking about those waters, that is, the Red Sea and the Jordan River. In the Bible, bodies of water usually represent death, chaos, or evil! “But the wicked are like the troubled sea.” (Isaiah 57:20) “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.” (Revelation 21:1) R.C Sproul commented, “In Jewish literature, the sea was often used as a symbol for that which was ominous, sinister, and threatening. Earlier in the Revelation of John, we see the Beast emerging from the sea. Likewise, in Semitic mythology, there is frequent reference to the primordial sea monster that represents the shadowy chaos.”
It’s time to face the truth: You and I are living with some of those troubling waters! Death, chaos, and evil are part of our everyday lives! We face the ominous, the sinister, the threatening on a daily basis! What are those disturbing waters in your life today? Problems at home? A shaky marriage? Is it illness or a recent loss? The promise of God is and always has been, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you.” (Isaiah 43:2)
The good news for us today is that Jesus is the God Who walks on water! He had sent His disciples away in a boat while He dismissed the five hundred-plus people who had just been fed by a little boy’s miraculously multiplied lunch. As Jesus went up into the hills to spend some time in prayer, a storm blew in on the water. Matthew says it was during “the fourth watch of the night.” (Matthew 14:25) That would be between three and six in the morning. Everything is worse in the dark of the night. That’s when Jesus joined His disciples, walking the three-and-a-half miles of the lake – on top of the water! At first the disciples were frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost! But Jesus announced His presence and all became calm.
Peter, too, wanted to walk on water, so Jesus invited him to come. He stepped out of the boat, strolling on top of the waves, until he began to look around at the choppy waters below. Once Peter had taken his eyes off the Savior, he started to sink. Jesus rescued him, scolding him for his lack of faith. (Matthew 14:31)
In this story, the turbulent waves represent problems for Brother Peter, perplexities that were bringing him down. But Jesus had just trampled all over those very waters! That means He’s more powerful than whatever is raging in your life right now! He’s greater than any stormy sea! As my pastor from days gone by used to say, “He’s still bigger than what’s the matter!”
This helps me today and it should encourage you, as well. It matters not what you are up against or what you are going through, the Lord Jesus can walk all over your waters and mine! He’s only a prayer away. “You rule the raging of the sea; When its waves rise, You still them.” (Psalm 89:9)
Rev. Danny Goddard is senior pastor of New Castle First Church of the Nazarene.