God Leads the Way Through Our Unknown Tomorrows

by Wayne Barber

The word "ark" is used at least 10 times in Joshua chapter 3. The Ark to the Israelites symbolized the presence of God with them. But, to us, in the New Covenant, it is Christ! Speaking of Christ, Heb. 13:5 tells us, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." He is always with us!

Joshua 3:1 tells us of the preparation to follow God into the Promised Land: "Then Joshua rose early in the morning; and he and all the sons of Israel set out from Shittim and came to the Jordan, and they lodged there before they crossed." We must note that Joshua did not have a clue as to how they were to cross the Jordan River, which was at flood stage! God had created a crisis for them in the swollen river so that they would have to trust Him in order to possess what was theirs already by faith. So, acting according to faith, Joshua moved the 2-1/2 million Israelites seven miles from Shittim to the Jordan to get ready to step into the water of God's will! Joshua was simply trusting God to do what only God could do. He didn't have all the answers, but He knew the One who did.

"At the end of three days the officers went through the midst of the camp" (v. 3). It took three days for them to make final preparations to cross over. Camping beside the river for three days would have given them all a chance to look at the flooding river! We can only read between the lines about their anxiety. The people were facing the great unknown, but God was way ahead of them. He had a plan that would encourage the people and would strengthen them as they faced that unknown.

When you and I bow before Christ and are willing to trust Him, there is no way we can know what we will face but we can rest assured we won't be alone! If we are ever going to possess what God has already given to us in Christ, He requires that we yield to Him! That we walk by faith in Him and His Word. That has never changed.

"And they commanded the people, saying, When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God with the Levitical priests carrying it, then you shall set out from your place and go after it. However, there shall be between you and it a distance of about 2,000 cubits by measure. Do not come near it, that you may know the way by which you shall go, for you have not passed this way before.'" There were no scouts to go first, only the Ark, carried by the priests. God was going to lead His people into that which He had given to them.

In the midst of the crisis, when we trust Him and only Him, He leads us where we've not been before. Everyone was to be able to see the Ark. It was to be out in front and the people were to be approximately 3000 feet. behind it (2,000 cubits x 18 inches). By staying back, they could all see the Ark. This is the most beautiful picture of how we walk with Christ-of how we possess what is ours in Him: Always with our eyes upon Him! Never losing our focus on Him and His will!

"Then Joshua said to the people, Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.'" In the presence of God, we must bow before Him. Yielding to Him is key to possessing what is ours in Him. Before they could cross the swollen river Jordan, before they could possess what was already theirs, they were to consecrate themselves.

The Hebrew word "consecrate" means to set apart unto God. It is translated "holy" seven times and "sanctify" 108 times. It is the word used in chapter 7 when the Israelites had been miserably defeated by the people of Ai, because of sin in the camp. So it is in reference to their sin that God told them through Joshua to consecrate themselves. They were to repent of their sins. To consecrate oneself is to make certain that there is nothing in one's life that in any way hinders God from working through him or her. "Then Joshua said to the people, Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.'"

The unchangeable will of God is that we focus on Him and consecrate ourselves to Him so that we can possess what God has already given to us.

Wayne Barber is senior pastor of Hoffmantown Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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