“. . . that you may know the way by which you must go, for you have not passed this way before.”
Sometimes, our Christian life takes us down roads we have not traveled before. The Lord desires to take us to new heights in our relationship with Him, and to use us for the furtherance of His Kingdom. Joshua’s leadership, as he takes Israel across the Jordan, illustrates some very important principles on how to follow the Lord.
“Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”
“Sanctify” means to set apart. It carries the idea of being set apart from sin, and to the Lord. Sanctification happens when a person recognizes they belong to God, and they surrender to His ways. Their sanctification involved faith. They were to give themselves to the Lord now, trusting He wanted to accomplish something, through them in the future. Often, we remain unprepared for the day of battle, because we neglect to set ourselves apart to the Lord today.
“. . . the waters which came down from upstream stood still, and rose in a heap very far away at Adam . . .”
Since the waters stopped a great distance north of the camp of Israel, it appeared that nothing happened when the priests put their feet in the Jordan . God promised the river would part, yet the waters seemed to remain unchanged. However, as time moved forward, they would see that God kept His promise. Many times, we fail to see what the Lord is doing until we keep moving forward, as He commands.
“So the priests who bore the ark stood in the midst of the Jordan until everything was finished… and the people hurried and crossed over.”
Hundreds of thousands of Israelites crossed the river that day. This process would have taken hours. Meanwhile, four men stood holding a large, heavy wooden box. The initial excitement of carrying the Ark, and watching the waters subside, would soon be replaced with pain, as their shoulders, arms and legs began to ache. As hour followed hour, these men continued to hold up the Ark. They would learn ministry is not as glamorous as it sometimes appears. Often, we fail to see results because we fail to be steadfast and immovable in the work of the Lord.
“And those twelve stones which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up in Gilgal.”
Their first act in the Promised Land, was to make a crude altar with the stones they removed from the Jordan. This altar was not designed for sacrifice, but as a simple reminder of what the Lord had done. Future victories would be ensured by remembering what God had done in the past. If God could part a river, what obstacle would be to much for the people of God. It is good to remember what the Lord has done for us, and how He has worked in our lives. The only danger is that we become people who live in the past. Take what God has done in the past as motivation for how He wants to work in your life today.