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The dictionary defines being prevenient as an act of anticipation or forethought; coming before. It has also been defined as giving attention to another’s need and doing something before hand. From God’s perspective its all about grace; prevenient grace.

There are many examples of prevenient grace in the Bible, God’s dealing with the roadblocks in our life. For Israel, God demonstrated His grace time after time, well in advance of their need or challenge at the time. There are two perfect examples that are connected to water. The most obvious is the parting of the Red Sea. But there is another that sometimes gets left out in the shadow of the Red Sea miracle… the prevenient presence of the Ark at the Jordan River.

Josh 3:2-6 At the end of three days the officers went through the camp and commanded the people, “As soon as you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God being carried by the Levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place and follow it. Yet there shall be a distance between you and it, about 2,000 cubits in length. Do not come near it, in order that you may know the way you shall go, for you have not passed this way before.” Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” And Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on before the people.” So they took up the ark of the covenant and went before the people. ESV

What is interesting about the miracle at the Jordan, unlike the Israelites waiting for the Red sea to part to go forward, the priests’ didn’t wait for the Jordan river to stop. They stepped into it and then it stopped. Picture them picking up the Ark and stepping into a river that was overflowing its banks.

Josh 3:15-17 and as soon as those bearing the ark had come as far as the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest), 16 the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away …  And the people passed over opposite Jericho. 17 Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan. ESV

What a picture of the prevenient presence of God, going before us. He does that for us as He prepares our way. He is there ahead of us at every crucial moment in our lives, preparing the way. Look back at what He said to Joshua:

Josh 3:4[c] …  for you have not passed this way before.” ESV

We so often waste so much emotional energy worrying about coming to those places where we’ve never been before. We tend to worry ourselves anticipating things happening that may never happen. F.B. Meyer addressed the problem:

“There is a presence with us, a divine companionship, the angel of the covenant, the Christ of God! Like a voice ringing down a mountain ravine, we hear His imperishable words, ‘Lo, I am with you all the days, even unto the end.’ Shall we have the faith to answer, ‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me.’ Even if our emotions have not yet realized the experience, yet our faith affirms that fact with unfaltering emphasis.”

God goes before us preveniently, preparing the way, and He is going to meet us at every overflowing Jordan of our lives. When they come, we can’t afford to wait to see what might happen. We just need to dip our feet in the water!

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