Joshua 3: 3 And they commanded the people, saying, When ye see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it. 4 Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore. 5 And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.
This is good advice for us. We’re not children of Israel and these circumstances are different. The scriptural principles are the same. We journey into the future but we live in the present.
Joshua was the new leader of Israel. Moses led them through the wilderness to the banks of the Jordan River. They had now arrived to the other side stepping on the land God had promised. They were hard people for God to deal with. We’re hard for God to deal with; at least I am at times. I guess that’s why he keeps calling us his children. We are sometimes problem children. I’m glad God takes care of us.
Moses wasn’t allowed to take Israel on over to the other side. Joshua was the choice to take over for him. The Lord told Joshua this day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee. We have that same promise. It’s not that one day he’ll be with us and help us. He’ll help us today. That’s an assurance. As God was with Moses he promised to be with Joshua. Don’t let the devil strip you of what’s in your heart and promised to you. Jesus was with Peter, James, and John. He was with those who sat in these pews before we came along. He’ll be with us too.
The other day I found one of my old aviator maps. These are not like other maps. In the air you have to watch out for things like mountains and other airplanes. The maps are updated every three months because things change; a new tower could be put up. I was taught to rely on the maps not the GPS system. Lots of things could interfere with the GPS but the map is the map.
Spiritually the layout is there for us. The ark was first. Nothing moved until the priests moved with the ark. Inside the ark were the tables of stone, manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded. Don’t try to take a spiritual step without the map of God. The Word tells the truth. His Word must be before us. With the tablets of the Word there was manna, the way God fed Israel in the wilderness. We can’t say God’s Word doesn’t feed us. The rod that budded established the house of Aaron as priests and set order. We have the Word. We have the promise of being fed. Get fat in the Lord’s Word. God does everything with structure and order. The Bible tells us the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. We’re guided by the greatest person who gave us the best instructions. We have order in life.
It may be a crazy year ahead but our days can be ordered by the Lord. That’s why the ark must go first. Verse 4 says yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore. The ark had to be a mile ahead before they proceeded. That tells me God is in front and we need to follow his leadership. He’ll open the path. Don’t get ahead or crowd the front. Just follow God in the way. We’ve not passed this way before. In verse 5 Joshua told the people sanctify yourselves: for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you. That’s a simple map. It got them across the Jordan. God parted the waters.
This is what we must do. Sanctify ourselves. Clean up by bringing ourselves to him. Forget what’s behind. Reach for what’s ahead. Press toward the mark. If we follow the map of the Lord whatever tomorrow holds the Lord will do wonders among us.