We left Billings yesterday and drove south to Red Lodge, Montana. It is like going back in time, with the storefronts and all. A real down home Americana kind of place. We visited a number of places in town and actually saw a bank that was robbed by Butch Cassidy about 100 years ago. We found a couple of Christmas ornaments for our “travel tree” that we put up each December and bought some patriotic shirts for the 4th of July celebration. Everyone is very friendly ad every time we bought something, the clerks were quick to wish us a “happy 4th.” I don’t remember an entire town ever having done that to me before!
When we arrived at the lodge where we are staying, we realized that it is on the banks of Rock Creek. Now I brought a fly rod with me, just in case I could get a little fishing in, but this creek was more like a raging river. I mean, there was almost a roar coming from the water – a roar that can be easily heard from our room on the second floor of the lodge. There is no way that anybody could fish here. In fact, God forbid, if you fell in you would be swept away in a flash – kind of like whitewater rafting on a very narrow expanse of water.
As I sat on our deck listening to the sounds of the water, I couldn’t help but notice how much water there really was – rushing past our room. It’s difficult to believe that this little creek could run this hard this long – with no end in sight. All the water is run-off from further up the mountains, but the sheer volume of water is staggering.
It kind of reminds me of the story of Joshua after the death of Moses when God instructed Joshua to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. He was rather concerned and God encouraged Joshua to trust in Him. They had to cross the Jordan River to get to their destination and we know that the river was very dangerous to cross – some theologians believe that the water was up to 12 feet deep within a step or two of shore. While Rock Creek can’t boast that kind of depth, it sure would be dangerous to try to and cross. I wonder, if God actually spoke and instructed us to do it, whether we would have the faith that Joshua had and actually get to the water’s edge.
The rest of the story is well know. As soon as the robes of the priests touched the water’s edge, the water stopped flowing and it is estimated that 2 million people crossed into the Promised Land while the priests stood on dry ground in the middle of the riverbed. And let’s not forget that Joshua had known God for some time – after all, he was the assistant to Moses and had experienced many encounters with God before this particular request to cross the River Jordan.
The verse for tonight is from Joshua 1:9, as spoken by God Himself, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” That’s great advice. My encouragement this evening is that God wants all of us, as believers, to be strong and courageous. He wants us to “step out” in faith and trust Him. My prayer is that we may all have the faith in God to honor His requests of us without hesitation. Of course, as I look out on Rock Creek this evening, I can see how that could be challenging. But God knows our hearts and our human weaknesses. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…