Tuesday, 21 November 2023
And Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you.” -Joshua 3:5
What great joy we experience as an earnest prayer is answered, a long awaited promise is fulfilled. Such would have been the anticipation and excitement of the Israelites as they were about to cross over the Jordan! They stood at the threshold of the fulfillment of God’s promise to their forefather Abraham (Genesis 15:7), deferred by forty years of wilderness walk due to the disbelief of the previous generation. Their fathers had witnessed God’s hand parting the Red Sea; now this generation was to experience the miracle of the parting of the River Jordan which would lead them into the Promised Land. The preparation and experience of the Israelites in crossing the River Jordan, teaches us valuable lessons to apply in our Christian walk.
Commune with the Lord (Vs 1): As a leader, Joshua communed with the Lord and awaited His counsel on leading the children of Israel. ‘Joshua rose early in the morning; and they set out…’ (Vs 1) indicated that Joshua was a man of action, who on receiving the word from the Lord, did not procrastinate but encouraged the people and moved forward. It may have been daunting to think of the overflowing Jordan River and the fortresses in the Promises Land, but his heart was focused on God who gives the victory, and not the challenges that lay ahead.
Sanctify Ourselves (Vs 5): Joshua asked the people to consecrate themselves to experience the miracle God was to do in their midst. Sanctification means to set apart or consecrated to the Lord and indicates the significance of coming to Lord with a pure heart. God is holy and He desires His children to be holy (1 Peter 1:16). As servants of God, we need to be clean and consecrated in preparation for the Lord’s work. On a daily basis we need to examine our lives of anything that distracts us from God, repent and confess our sinful ways, receive the Lord’s forgiveness and re-dedicate ourselves to Him. ‘I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.’ (Romans 12:1)
The Lord’s Presence (Vs 11): The Ark of the Covenant symbolizes the presence and power of God in the midst of His people. The distance the people kept from the Ark shows that the Israelites were to set their eyes on the Lord’s presence and follow in the path that He directs. In our busy lives, do we pause to seek the Lord and follow His desires or do we run in our own strength and wisdom? Let us pray like Moses, "If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here.” (Exodus 33:15)
Take the Step of Faith (Vs 13): Although the Israelites were excited about entering the Promised Land, they first had to cross the flooded River Jordan – an impossible feat for man. God gave very specific instructions how to cross Jordan, but it required trusting God and taking the step of faith. Are there obstacles in your life? Take that first step of faith in trust and obedience to the Lord. ‘For we walk by faith, not by sight.’ (2 Corinthians 5:7)
Experience His Deliverance (Vs 17): The moment the feet of the priests bearing the Ark touched the edge of the waters, the overflowing waters of the river stood still upstream and the people crossed over the Jordon on dry land – a miracle God revealed to Joshua (Vs 13) and performed in the midst of His people. This miracle was also to strengthen them in the Lord to face the task of conquering the Promised Land. If we trust Him, He will take us through unknown paths and bring us out victorious.
In Joshua 4:4-7, the Israelites set up a memorial stone—so too, the Lord’s mercy and grace experienced in our lives, should result in a proclamation and witnessing of His faithfulness!
The Promise: Jesus said: “…and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:20)