“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. The Lord told Joshua, “Today I will begin to make you a great leader in the eyes of all the Israelites. They will know that I am with you, just as I was with Moses. Give this command to the priests who carry the Ark of the Covenant: ‘When you reach the banks of the Jordan River, take a few steps into the river and stop there.’” So Joshua told the Israelites, “Come and listen to what the Lord your God says. Today you will know that the living God is among you. He will surely drive out the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites ahead of you. Look, the Ark of the Covenant, which belongs to the Lord of the whole earth, will lead you across the Jordan River! Now choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. The priests will carry the Ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth. As soon as their feet touch the water, the flow of water will be cut off upstream, and the river will stand up like a wall.””/Joshua 3:6-13
So the Israelites are going through all of these instructions and making sure they do each one as their told. The Lord tells them to focus on His among them POSITION. By positioning God at the front and lead spot, they’ve made His presence a priority on this journey, even though they don’t know where to go or what to do, they can follow Him and trust that He is putting them in the best possible position. The most important part of the instructions given to them and for our lives is to position God at the lead of our lives because only He can guide you and only He is capable of taking you out of the mess we create by ourself and into the LIFE He has for us filled with peace, joy, and freedom to walk in.
The Israelites have been wandering around in the wilderness for many years now and after going through many trials, seeing God continually deliver them and move them closer to the promised land. They are so close now, all they have to do is cross the Jordan river and take control of the land from the people who are currently there. The Lord has given Joshua these instructions for them to follow before they make this final journey. I’ve been going through a wilderness of my own lately and it’s easy to see why they wandered for so long, the wandering comes from trying to do it on your own. The trying to do it on your own comes from unbelief. A whole generation of Israelites died out there because of their unbelief had them wandering for so long. As I looked at my wilderness and wanting nothing more than to get out, at first I thought well I’ll try these instructions and see if that works. Well while putting the instructions to action, it became easy to see why the Israelites were so obedient to follow them so closely.
God gave these instructions out of pure love for His people. He wanted the very best for them, He wanted to take them into the promised land, where they can live in peace and freedom. God loves us just the same and He’s given us instructions that span over every page of His Word. He wants us to be obedient in applying the helpful truths He’s given us so when we see His promises like that of verse 5, “Then Joshua told the people, “Purify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do great wonders among you.”
We can put our hope in His promises. I kept coming back to that promise all day, when I felt weird living in His ways instead of my own and following Him instead of myself, He kept reminding me the need to keep striving forward. The need to keep coming to Him for help in everything I face. In this piece of scripture the Israelites hadn’t physically seen the promised land, like we haven’t seen the amazing works God is going to do in our life, but we can trust in His promise. Even when we think we can’t go anymore and we’ll never get out of our current circumstances that beat us down every day we can look past these temporary struggles into the promise of eternity God has in store for us. We can live in light of His love for us, the fact that if He can create all this around us with just a word, then He’s more than capable to deliver us from whatever we face in life. I don’t want to die from my unbelief or waste another second living in the self imposed wilderness I continue to create. The Israelites wanted the same and the Lord gave them promises that they could put their lives on.
We may not be able to see the victory right now by the look of things around us but such a loving and faithful God has given us Himself to hold onto. Joshua was speaking all of this victory over the Israelites and they hadn’t even started moving yet, he believed in what God was about to do and that gave him confidence and peace that spread to everyone. We have to give up every piece of ourselves to put our trust in what God has in store for us. I tried every other way so I could still keep some of myself but it’s all in or all out. If there is any piece of me left in it then I’ll never be able to walk freely with peace and joy in the fulfilled promises and deliverance God has awaiting me. Put your life on the victory God has spoken and be obedient to follow Him by checking yourself at the door. If we continue to look and focus on our circumstances and weakness then we’ll fall into them but by positioning God at the front, the #1 priority, power and guidance in our life, focus everything you have on Him and Him alone. He will lift your eyes off your current settings and help your unbelief by showing you why we move. He has given us great expectations to trust our lives with, expectations of victory not defeat, of purpose not wandering, and of LIFE not death.