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"So it was, after three days, that the officers went through the camp; and they commanded the people, saying, 'When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests, the Levites, bearing it, then you shall set out from your place and go after it. Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure. Do not come near it, that you may know the way by which you must go, for you have not passed this way before.' And Joshua said to the people, 'Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.'" [Joshua 3:2-5, NKJV]
A new generation of Israelites [men and women of faith] stood on the edge of the Promised Land. Before them was the first significant obstacle to possessing the land - a flooding Jordan River. There is no way across. Sometimes, we stand on the far bank and look into the good land God has promised, but there seems to be no way to get there. The Israelites were wise enough to know it was impossible for them to possess the land. They didn't send out the engineers to report on bridge building. They didn't start building rafts. They knew there was no way across - except for God. When the way is impossible, when the dream slips out of our grasp, we need to turn our eyes to God. Except for Him, there is no hope. Before we even get into the land, we must realize that this is God's doing. If we are unwilling to keep our eyes on God and follow His instructions, we will never make it. That is a pure, simple fact. The good news is that God IS with us, and He WANTS us to possess the land.
The next thing to notice is that we must keep a healthy balance in
our approach to God. There was a set distance between the people and
the ark of the covenant. In the New Testament era, as children of the Living God, we are welcome anytime into the presence of God. God delights when His children
come to Him and spend time with Him. However, we must never forget that our Father is King of kings and Lord of lords. In other words,
although we enter His presence with joy and without fear, we must never
lose our respect for God. Sometimes, we take things for granted and
become disrespectful. Just as in an ideal family where the father
should be a man who loves and enjoys his children, but there should always be respect for the father's position and
authority, so in God's family, we must maintain respect for Who God is
without giving up the intimacy which is our right as children.
We have not passed this way before. God is leading us into new challenges and new experiences. We are going to possess the land. We can learn from the past but must not be trapped there. We must keep our minds open to the new things God has for us and the new trail He is blazing in our lives [always by His written Word, of course]. The methods and systems that worked in the past may not work in the future. Life in the Promised Land is totally different from life in the Wilderness. One big thing is that life in the Promised Land demands individual and corporate responsibility.
Finally, if we would have God work wonders on our behalf, we must sanctify ourselves. Basically, to sanctify is to set apart. If we want to go all the way, if we want to possess the land and drive out the enemy, we must set ourselves aside for the purposes of God. This does not mean going into "full-time Christian ministry" or even adding to your current workload "spiritual" activities. It means being fully committed to God and His ways in whatever position you are currently in. Maybe all you do is cashier; it doesn't matter, set yourself apart for God. Do whatever He calls you to. When you are a Christian, nothing is "secular" - everything you do is to be under God and, therefore, has spiritual value.
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