"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 great obstacle for them to possess the land - a flooding Jordan River. No way across. Sometimes we stand on the far bank and look over into the good land God has promised but there seems 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. We have to realize, before we even get into the land, that this is God's doing. If we are not willing to keep our eyes on God and follow His instructions, we are never going to 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 need to 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 loose our respect of 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 a respect for the father's position and authority, so in God's family we must maintain a 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 we 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 in accordance with 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. On 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 does mean being fully committed to God and to His ways in whatever position you are currently in. Maybe all you do is pump gas, 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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