The God who leads
Early the next morning Joshua and all the Israelites left Acacia Grove and arrived at the banks of the Jordan River, where they camped before crossing. Three days later the Israelite officers went through the camp, giving these instructions to the people: “When you see the Levitical priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord your God, move out from your positions and follow them. Since you have never traveled this way before, they will guide you. Stay about half a mile behind them, keeping a clear distance between you and the Ark. Make sure you don’t come any closer.” Then Joshua told the people, “Purify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do great wonders among you.” In the morning Joshua said to the priests, “Lift up the Ark of the Covenant and lead the people across the river.” And so they started out and went ahead of the people.” Joshua 3:1-6 NLT
The objective was set beforehand that the Israelites will enter the Promised Land. “He brought us out of Egypt so he could give us this land he had sworn to give our ancestors” (Deuteronomy 6:23). Now, they are on the brink of entering the land pending the crossing of the raging Jordan River. From the text, Joshua gave the instruction as to when they are going to enter the land. They have to prepare physically by having provisions for their travel. They have to prepare psychologically for they will be facing hostile forces. They have to prepare spiritually for there will be great temptation to give up the plan like what happened from the previous generation. “Purify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do great wonders among you” (Joshua 3:5). The success of entering the land will be based on how much they trust God. Joshua told them that they can expect that God “will do great wonders” among them. They will be going to an unfamiliar territory. But they have proven how God keeps His promise and this time they have to overcome their fear and realize that God is with them. Having the Ark of the Covenant ahead of them signifies that God is the one leading them. What an encouragement to be assured that God’s presence was with them. In the journey of life, we too will be experiencing circumstances and events we are not familiar with. It will be easy to panic or rely on our own abilities. And yet, God is reminding us to trust Him and not to fear for His presence will provide us strength. When we are in God’s presence, let us submit ourselves to be sanctified by God. After all, the goal of all His dealings and workings with His children is so that in their lives they will glorify Him.