TIME FOR A NEW DIRECTION
Lord, move me out in the direction You have for me.
Read JOSHUA 3
Crossing the Jordan
3 Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over. 2 After three days the officers went throughout the camp, 3 giving orders to the people: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the Levitical priests carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. 4 Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about two thousand cubits[a] between you and the ark; do not go near it.”
5 Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.”
6 Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on ahead of the people.” So they took it up and went ahead of them.
7 And the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. 8 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.’”
9 Joshua said to the Israelites, “Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God. 10 This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. 11 See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you. 12 Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. 13 And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the Lord—the Lord of all the earth—set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.”
14 So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. 15 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, 16 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. 17 The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.
a. Joshua 3:4 That is, about 3,000 feet or about 900 meters
‘Not that I have already obtained all this … but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me’ (Phil 3:12).
The wanderers are being formed into a people under God, and they have become a ‘nation’ (17). They are not meant to wander in the wilderness. Rather, they are to take up their inheritance, but that will require a walk of faith. Such journeys require obedience, the people being instructed to ‘move out’ (3) leaving the known behind. They don’t know where they are headed, not having been this way before (4), but God knows. He commands the Ark, the chest containing His presence, to be the marker to follow. When we walk by faith, we walk into that which we don’t see or know, but we trust God’s leading.
If we are to walk with God, then preparation is essential, just as the Israelites are commanded to ‘consecrate themselves’ (5) to be ready to meet with the Lord Almighty. Though some trepidation is normal, they can expect amazing things. This account reveals to us a people who have experienced struggles, some failure, and a good deal of disobedience; yet God, being a covenant God, has been faithful. Now they must cross over, moving out of the desert into the Promised Land. That too will be filled with challenges – but they are not simply running away from slavery in Egypt. No, this is advancing forward to lay hold of the land God has already prepared for them to inhabit as a nation. The people must move in obedience, as the priests must stand not at the river’s edge but in the river: they must brave its waters before they turn dry! We are called to walk by faith, obeying God all the way. When we do this, we will see amazing things as God becomes glorified in our lives.
Have we settled in the desert, wandering aimlessly without purpose? Take some time today to consecrate yourself with the expectation that God will do amazing things tomorrow (5).
Lord, have Your way with my life. I am willing to launch out toward where Your presence leads me.
Book and Author Intros
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.