This week we will be reading Joshua 3. Today we will focus on Joshua 3:1-6.
Do you know what will happen tomorrow? Truth is, you do not even know what will happen today. Even if you did know how much could you really change? The temperature? The wind speed? Other people’s attitudes? When we really allow ourselves to consider the limits of our knowledge of; and control over our lives, we realize just how much we need the Lord to show us the way forward. This is a lesson Joshua and the people of Israel are learning as they attempt to take hold of the promises God has given them.
At the beginning of this chapter we see Joshua standing on one side of the river Jordan that is overflowing it’s banks and on the other side is the land that God has told him to go get. He stands on one side with an entire nation, men, women, children, animals and no possible way to get them over to the other side. They cannot even think of swimming across, they are not able to build the rafts needed to float across, engineering that would allow a tunnel underneath does not exist, yet God has said to Joshua, take these people here, and go over there!
How is Joshua going to make this happen? He is not! He cannot do what God has told him to do, it is impossible. At least from where he is standing he cannot see a way to do what God has said to do. But Joshua does not allow what he does not know to get in the way of what he does. He knows that God can do as He pleases and God will provide the way forward regardless of how impossible it looks. Even when we have no clue how God’s faithfulness and power will work themselves out in our lives, we can know without a doubt that God will not let us down and that He will work it all out for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28).
Joshua trusts the Lord, that is why Joshua gives the instructions he gives in Joshua 3:3-4. The people are told to wait and then follow the ark of the covenant which represented God’s presence. It was the symbol God used to guide the people where they should go. Rather than following Joshua they would be follow the Lord God across the river. They even needed to give a little space so that they could see where to turn when needed. He reminds them that they have not passed this way before. They do not know where they are going so they must wait on God’s instructions. Trusting the Lord’s leading in our lives is a big part of finding confidence to go out our door each morning trusting Him to show us the way. This is why we study His Word, pray and spend time with other believers.
The people need to prepare themselves to see God do what He is about to do. In Joshua 3:5 they are told to consecrate themselves, that is purify themselves and get rid of any worldly distractions, to confess their sins and be ready to meet with God. The reason is they are going to see God do wonders among them. This is a good reminder for us as well. When our hearts and minds are focused on the things of the world rather than on the Lord it is really difficult to see what He is doing and to trust His leading. Too much trust or want for the things this world offers will cause us to question whether or not God is really the one that gives us our directions. What if He tells us to give up something we really wanted and the world says we should not have to give that thing up? It is important to trust the Lord above all others, there is no room for dual allegiance in His army. After they are prepared, the priests begin to lead the people in verse 6.
As I think about what is going to happen next, next in my family, next for my church, next for our nation, next with the world as a whole, there are times where I wonder how God is going to work it all out. I do not see how He is going to bring it all together. This passage reminds me that God does not give us the whole plan at once very often it is one step or one piece of the promise at a time, as someone said, “God often opens his hand one finger at a time.” We are given just enough light to take the next step of obedience, God does not show us all the ins and outs of His plan, they are need to know and He only tells us what we need to know, which is trust Him! Our job is not to second-guess what God will do or argue over how He could possibly do it, it is to simply put one foot in front of the other and march forward in faith.
As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:7 “for we walk by faith, not by sight.”
Let’s walk out today trusting that God knows what He is going to do and that His plans for our lives are eternally better than our plans. He knows what is going to happen today, tomorrow, and for all eternity and He can actually do something about it. So we follow Him and His will not our way and wants.