There is a very interesting passage of Scripture in Hebrews 3:18-19. “And to whom did He swear they should not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? And so we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.” In this text, the inspired author is recounting Israel’s failure to enter into Canaan and Joshua’s leadership in the face of adversity.
When one examines Israelite history one will find that the record of the Jordan River crossing is a true testimony to the unquestioned and unhesitating obedience of God’s people! Israel was under extreme adverse and pessimistic circumstances. How was Joshua able to obey? The answer is actually simple: he trusted God. Brothers and sisters; obedience is the evidence and expression of our faith in God. Obedience is faith turned inside out. Crossing the Jordan River was a key event in Israel’s history. Just as crossing the Red Sea changed Israel’s position from slavery to freedom, passing through the Jordan into the Promised Land transformed Israel from a wandering horde into a great nation. To the people, the river seemed like an insurmountable obstacle. But to God, it represented a decisive turning point; one of faith and action. You see faith is the root and obedience is the fruit of true faith. True faith always calls for action on one’s part!
Not long ago a friend called and asked me, “Will you do me a favor?” I asked, “What is it?” He said once again, “Will you do me a favor?” I replied, “Tell me what it is first.” He then said, “What’s the matter? Don’t you trust me?” I laughed and said, “No.” Of course, I was joking with him, but if I really trusted him I wouldn’t have been hesitant to commit. That really is a lesson in itself; if we are reluctant to give unquestioned obedience to God it is because we really don’t trust Him.
That entire scenario got me thinking; if obedience comes from trust, where does trust come from? The answer was “right in front of my face”; trust comes from knowledge! No God; no truth. Know God; know truth! John 8:32 tells us, “You shall KNOW the truth and the TRUTH shall set you free!” It is interesting to understand that truth will set no one free! Brothers and sisters, it is KNOWING the TRUTH that produces freedom! I preach truth week in and week out but how many of those sitting in the pews take that truth into their lives and act upon it? Do you really know God? When Joshua laid out God’s plan to the people he made several references to the character of the One who was commanding them to cross the river! He was saying, “Don’t be afraid to do what God tells you; you can trust Him.”
The lesson for today is that any Christian can live in victory. You can trust the one who created you. How can this happen? In order to find true victory, every Christian must obey according to knowledge. An old hymn says it best: “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, To be happy in Jesus, Than to trust and obey!”