“All you have to do is the impossible.” This is what voices in your head seem to scream in those first few moments of fatherhood. In the few hours of solitude after grandparents and friends leave the hospital room, reality has a way of settling in. You’re new parents, holding your child in your arms for the first time as a family. And it doesn’t take long to realize that every role in your life has just been shifted, and all you have to do to raise this child correctly is the impossible.
You’ve been good at being you, and now you have to add being a dad to the job title as well. The one thing I’ve learned about fathering is that you don’t know if you’ve really done it right until it’s too late to do it over. Being a father is more than a title. It’s greater than throwing a ball, and it’s harder than just providing. It involves a priesthood mentality.
In the Old Testament books of Genesis and Joshua, a parting of the waters occurred. In creation, one of the first things God did for mankind was to separate the waters from the waters to create a living space. God planned ahead, and, before he created man, he created space for each of us to inhabit, an expanse fully equipped with life sustaining oxygen. God separated waters for you and me and gave us dominion within that space.
Skip ahead a few thousand years, and Joshua has prepared the nation of Israel to move into their promise. They have found themselves between two homes for the last generation. One home they don’t remember, and the next they’ve never seen. The Jordan stands in the way of their future home. It’s a space that must be separated before Israel can possess their long-awaited promise. Once again, God needs to separate the waters for mankind, only this time it’s Israel’s turn to make a space for God. Joshua tells the people to consecrate themselves in chapter 3. He required them to purify themselves, to reserve a space in their hearts for him to bring another holy separation. However something happened on that day that can be a learning tool for us with our own crossings, and that is the waters of the Jordan didn’t part until after their hearts were pure and then only after the priesthood made the first step into the waters. The Levites carried the ark of God into the midst of the Jordan, and the supernatural power of God through their obedience held back the waters during flood season for the whole of the nation to cross.
It was the priest that entered the waters first. It was the priesthood that stood in the midst, and it was the 12 chosen men that carried stones from the depths of the riverbed. Men – God is calling each of us as fathers to attempt the impossible. To stand between the waters for our families. To carry stones and build memorials. He’s calling us to be the priest of our homes. Every home, marriage, and family needs a holy separation. There’s always a river to enter and stones to carry, and that responsibility doesn’t fall on the mother or wife. It’s the shoulders of the fathers that must get scarred from the heaviness of the stones. Our feet are to get wet first and our call to consecrate ourselves and our family to God and away from the world.
In Genesis God gave us dominion to rule the newly created firmament. In life that dominion should be honored by leading our families to Christ. God never separated waters just because he had nothing else to do that day. He is intentional in everything he does. We must be intentional and obedient to the consecration. It’s what moves waters back and moves families forward.
I want to challenge each of you reading this to visit with us at Christpoint Church this Sunday at 9:15 a.m. and 11 a.m. We’re on the square in Sparta. We’re real people, living real lives, serving a real God. Welcome home.