After the death of Moses, Joshua was chosen by God to lead the Israelites across the Jordan into the Promised Land. Joshua was given specific instructions from God for the priests as he prepared to lead the children of Israel. In the Old Testament the priests acted as the go-between between God and man. In this instance, the priests were given the special job of carrying the Ark of the Covenant with them into the Jordan River.
The Ark of the Covenant contained the very Presence of God. Our amazing, wonderful God limited and confined Himself to a box in order that the Israelites would have His Presence with them at all times.
Carrying this precious cargo, the priests first had to step their toes into the edge of the Jordan River. How the cold waters must have gripped their hearts with the reality of what they were about to do! They obeyed, and in faith stepped out on the prophetic words of their leader, Joshua. And, as they held up the Ark of His Presence they were demonstrating to all Israel that God’s Presence was first and foremost in their midst.
Joshua had conveyed the words of the Lord to the Israelites and revealed to them ahead of time that as the priests entered the waters of the Jordan they would “be cut off and stand up in a heap.” (Josh. 3:13)
As the priests courageously obeyed, the waters were indeed cut off. This is a perfect example of the principle that physical obedience brings about spiritual breakthrough. Many times God reveals what He wants to do in our lives, but then gives us a step of obedience to take. It will usually require faith to step out on His word to us because we have not yet seen the reality manifest. The priests took a large step of obedience in faith, and the result was breakthrough as an entire nation crossed over on dry ground into their land.
To me, the priests exemplify a beautiful picture or act of prophetic intercession. The priests stepped out ahead solely on the word of the Lord that had been given to them through Joshua. Fear could have caused the priests carrying the Ark of His Presence to never step into the water. The priests had to believe and act on a word that was beyond their wildest imaginations. As they obeyed the command of God, upholding God’s Presence, He gave them a place to stand on dry ground as they performed this act of “standing in the gap”. The spot of dry ground wasn’t at the river’s edge, but right in the middle of the Jordan. The Jordan River was at flood stage during this time, and was the perfect setting for God to do something miraculous!
When God calls us to step out in faith on His word, His provision is always there to welcome us. We may not see the provision ahead of time, just as the priests did not see the dry ground until they stepped into the waters. God provides a place for us when we step out in faith.
As the children of Israel crossed through the river on dry ground, they had a continual visual reminder that their God was in their midst and had done a great and mighty thing.
Royal Priests under the New Covenant
We know now that under the new covenant we are called a royal priesthood. (I Pt. 2:9) We no longer have to go through an appointed priest to have relationship with God. Hallelujah! Every believer can enter boldly into His presence. But we are also royals. We have been given a place and position of authority as the King’s sons and daughters. Because of this position we are able to declare and decree with the King’s authority.
This is why it is so important that our minds are renewed with the revelation that flows from the kingdom of God. We can more fully step into our role of being a royal priesthood when we think like a son and daughter of the King. Romans 12:2 tells us that we will be able to “test and approve what God’s will is” as a result of having our minds renewed. With a renewed mind we can confidently wield our swords of authority knowing we represent the King’s heart and desires.
As royal priests we are not only to pray and intercede, we are to execute His authority and dominion in this realm. We have been given the privilege of bringing Heaven to Earth. And not unlike the courageous priests who stepped into the cool waters of the Jordan, we are to hold up the Presence as foremost and central to everything we do. This is our standard to uphold as royal priests and just as important for our day as it was for the priests who held up the Ark of His Presence while all Israel crossed into their promised land.
As a church body we are crossing into a new season with God. Faith is being required on many levels; faith to see His provision for expansion, faith to believe in His timing, and faith to believe that we will corporately see the fulfillment of the harvest and dreams He has placed within our hearts.
In this season of crossing over, just like the priests in Joshua’s day, our job as royal priests is to hold up the Presence, keeping Him always front and center to all that we do. His Presence is vital, His Presence is key, and His Presence will part the waters before us giving us dry ground and a place to stand even when the river is at flood stage. And as we stand firm on the dry ground that He provides, I believe we will see a harvest of people cross over before us into their land of promise and freedom.