God's Timing for Taking New Territory

Above - The Jordan River During Flood Stage as published by
Tell the priests who carry the Ark of the Covenant: ‘When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go and stand in the river.’” Joshua 3:8 NIV
The account of the Nation of Israel crossing the Jordan River contains many lessons and Kingdom principles that we can apply today, more than 3000 years after the event. The account gives us insight and wisdom into God’s way to accomplish significant advancement when He is calling us to cross over into new territory, new levels of faith, greater levels of responsibility, and more secure and stable walking of His plan on earth.

We must know God’s timing. Joshua’s decision to cross into Canaan was in sync with God’s timing. It was specifically given by Yahweh after the older generation had cowered in fear when they approached the Jordan River 40 years before. God said He would give them the land. But, at that time the majority considered the giants and the opposition to be more powerful than God’s promise and His word. But 40 years of desert living, eating manna, fighting battles with local tribes, and following a cloud and a pillar helped transform the next generation into highly anticipating the second chance. This second chance reflected two aspects of God’s perspective. First, God demonstrated grace for Israel as a whole, even though the adults of the first chance would not enter the land. Second, God demonstrated and insisted on the fulfillment of His own sovereign plan through His chosen people.
At the time of crossing over the priests took the first steps of faith as they carried the Ark of the Covenant.  "Now, the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet, as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho." Joshua 3:15, 16 NIV.

They stepped into the edge of the river, a river at spring flood stage. The Word of the Lord declared that those steps would activate the stoppage of the river flow. And the river stopped! There are times in our lives when we must simply step into new territory even when the rivers of life are rushing at flood stage.  If we have discerned God’s timing; if we know in our hearts and have heard from His Spirit on how to do it His way, then...then we step into the water. But we step with others watching, a risking step forward!

Consider Joshua’s situation. He told everyone that God was going to do this incredible thing. He told them when God would do it. And, He told everyone what they had to do to partner with God in crossing over into the land of promise. He, as leader, carried the burden and took the risk to believe God. If it didn’t happen, the people would grumble, complain and start looking for another leader. It would be a replay of what they did with Moses after leaving Egypt. Many in Israel simply wanted a leader who would keep them comfortable and risk free. Leaders, beware of this hindrance to going forward!

In today’s world we have an industry built around ‘risk management’, also known as insurance policies. Much of western civilization has developed a ‘minimal or no risk’ mentality. This minimal risk mentality has created a comfort zone within the church. Many leaders won’t risk preaching and teaching Truth because it may offend some in the church. Many will not confront hard issues in the culture of a nation. They either accept or tolerate the cultural currents. Some who do not accept the lies of the culture choose silence to avoid being marginalized or shamed by those who go with the flow. We must realize that if we choose not to ‘go and stand in the river’, even when it is at flood stage, we are choosing to stay in the desert of the culture. And that is not the Promised Land!


God's Promises, Processes, and Punctuality

The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west.  All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. Genesis 13:14-15 NIV

God makes prophetic promises to His people.  Such promises offer greater understanding, more responsibility, new territory and expanded kingdom influence. Time, and discernment of the times, is crucial to understanding and how to partner with God toward fulfillment of His promises. Scripture states that God’s promises are ‘yes and amen in Christ’ (2 Corinthians 1:20), fulfillment of promises seldom yield to our demands and perspectives of time.

In western culture we measure time based upon a 12 hour clock. The clock has a second hand that reveals time moving forward second by second. It has a minute hand depicting time minute by minute. It has an hour hand showing movement through the day, hour by hour. And some clocks document time from day to day. This western perspective of time is based upon watching the hands of the clock moving quickly across its face. From this we often expect fulfillment of a prophetic word or promise is based upon the clock.  We develop the impression that God is using the same clock and marking time and fulfillment the same way. Wrong!

God’s perspective of time is much more based upon seasons, dispensations, and kingdom perspectives. God is never late; He’s always right on time! But, are we on time? We can only be on time if we perceive time from His perspective which is higher and greater than ours. We will be on time if we are intimately in relationship with Him and are infused with a level of discernment that perceives God’s view of timing, i.e. His perspective.

God reveals and offers opportunities in our earthly life to partner with Him to fulfill His prophetic promises. He will help and reveal to us how and when to cross into new territory. As we do so we also possess new dimensions of stability, strength and trust in Him.

Abram received a promise from God:  The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. 15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring[a] forever. 16 I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. 17 Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.” 18 So Abram went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he pitched his tents. There he built an altar to the Lord. Gen. 13:14-18 NIV   Abram (later became Abraham) did not live in the time of fulfillment for that promise. When God made the promise there was no Isaac. There was no Jacob. There were no 12 sons of Jacob. There was no nation of Israel. However, Abram chose to believe God and partnered with Him to produce Isaac. While the Lord said ‘I am giving it to you’, the process of ‘I am giving’ was much longer than you and I would expect. The clock was not a good measurement of time! Isaac carried the promise generationally through the lineage to the 12 tribes and ultimate Joshua taking possession of the Promised Land.

When we get personal prophetic words of a future promotion, increase, or something greater in the Kingdom of God, we must be careful not to assume the timing of fulfillment or the process leading to fulfillment. Timing, and discernment of timing, are critical to successfully crossing into new territory.

For example, God called me into pastoral ministry in the late 1980’s. While this was not a promise, but a call to fulfill His call it automatically caused me to look at the clock!  I was active in ministry of various kinds in our local church at the time, but I knew there was a greater level of engagement, responsibility, and authority for me in the future. But, when?  I was in a financially and circumstantially prosperous career and life. I placed the timing of fulfillment beyond myself. Over the next few years I grew comfortable with my level of secular employment and local church volunteer ministry. Then suddenly, about 10 years after God’s call, a prophet spoke that I was called into full time ministry.  He, again, did not give a specific time, but I discerned that after 10 years it must be close at hand. It was then that I became anxious and started to yearn for crossing over into that new territory. I became less satisfied with my current situation and more anxious to move forward. I considered taking action that, in my view, would make fulfillment happen. Then I talked to a wise man in our church and he counseled me to be patient and allow the Holy Spirit to prompt me on the specific timing and circumstances to move forward. After about three more years, the Holy Spirit prompted me to plant a church NOW…while I was still in my current employment. My financial provision was in the secular. My ministry gifting was in the planting. I was 50 years old. 

Then…the day that I was ordained, a prophet prophesied I was also called to be an apostle. What!!??? I had only taken my first steps into pastoring and doing some international ministry, and now God declares this new mantle upon me???  I was so shocked I just put that word into the back of my mind. I did not try to make it happen. I focused on the now, and let the future take care of itself. It would be four more years before I retired from secular employment and moved more fully into ministry. It would be several more years before I began walking into apostolic ministry. And today I am still walking into it and walking though the apostolic with the Holy Spirit. But I am allowing the Holy Spirit to bring fulfillment, first inside of me, then outside of me.

The point…there is a process for crossing into fulfillment of God’s promises personally, corporately, and nationally. The process includes God’s timing and our transformation. Discern the times in order to stay in time with the Holy Spirit. Agree with His process and His timing will unfold unto fulfillment and you will cross over into that new territory.