After 40 years of wandering in the desert, the time had finally come for the children of Israel to cross the Jordan and enter the Promised Land. They arrived at the edge of the Jordan River and camped there three days. Joshua knew that they could not claim their inheritance without a battle. Did they wait three days to rest, seek God, plan, and prepare their hearts? A big step in our life’s journey is often preceded by a time of waiting and often includes all of those things. How long have you been camped out waiting for the signal to claim your promised land? Are you praying, preparing, planning and resting as you wait? Waiting was part of God’s plan to prepare them for victory – it can be part of His plan for us too.
When it was time to move, Joshua sent officers through the camp to tell the people that when they saw the ark of the covenant of the Lord carried by the priests, they were to break camp and follow after it. How do we know when it is time for us to move from our place of waiting? We move when we see God moving. After spending time preparing our hearts, seeking His will and clarifying our calling, we are ready to recognize God’s leading in our lives. When He moves, we are packed and ready to move with Him. Waiting is not a waste of time when it is invested in learning to listen and recognize God. Rushing ahead would have brought disaster.
After 40 years of being stuck in the wilderness you would think there was no new route to try. What is your wilderness? Do you feel stuck in a rut with no hope of escape? God told the people to get in a place where they could keep their eyes on His leading “for you have not passed this way before” (Joshua 3:4).
These words thrill me. After 40 years of wandering with the children of Israel, Joshua was 80 years old and God had something new for him. No matter how old we are or how long we have felt stuck, when the time is right, God has new adventures for His children. During the waiting time, God begins to plant a desire and anticipation for change – for a life spent in meaningful activity that will outlive us.
After consecrating themselves to the Lord the time had come to move. Consecration prepared them to experience God’s miraculous wonders. Now the priests carrying the ark come to the waters’ edge. Unlike the parting of the Red Sea, the Jordan River does not part until after the priests have waded out into the water.
When God begins to move and bids us to follow, there are times when we have to get our feet wet, and step out in faith, BEFORE we see His provision.
Where are you in this process? Are you camped out in a time of preparation and consecration? Are you training your eyes to focus on God? Are you wading in the Jordan waiting for God to stop the water? God did stop the water. Israel crossed on dry land. They had other challenges in their laying claim to the Promised Land, but they got there and experienced the thrill of walking with God in the process.
Take some time and read Joshua 3 for yourself. The God who led Joshua leads us today. The difference, instead of leading us by a priest carrying an ark, He leads us by His Holy Spirit that lives within every child of God. Learn to listen and follow His daily leading for your life.
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