When the spies returned from Jericho, they shared their good news with Joshua. (See Joshua – Rahab’s Pact) They summed it up by saying,
“The Lord has surely given the whole land into our hands; all the people are melting in fear because of us.” Joshua 2:24
Three days earlier, Joshua, who heeded God’s encouragement to be strong and courageous, had given orders to his officers.
“Go through the camp and tell the people, ‘Get your supplies ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you for your own.’ “ Joshua 1:11
The spies had been gone those three days and arrived back to the camp just in time to give their good news and get ready to travel with the camp. God’s timing is always perfect. His finger points us in the right direction when our eyes are watching and our hearts are ready.
So this huge group of people have packed up their things once again, ready to move forward.
When they move to their new location, they camp again fairly close to the Jordan River. The plan is to wait three more days.
Now the officers go through the camp giving another order.
“When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move out and follow it. Then you will know which way to go since you have never been this way before. Joshua 3:3-4a
Why the ark of the covenant? While God is not confined to a box, this “box” had special meaning to the people. It contained the ten commandments, Moses’ rod, and a sample of the manna which represented God’s commands, His protection, and His provision. More than that, it represented the presence of God to these people.
So, in essence, following the ark of the covenant was like following God. Just to maintain respect and awe for their divine God, they were told to keep a respectable distance from it, about a thousand yards. Imagine ten football fields!
To prepare for this special moment, Joshua tells the people,
“Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.” Joshua 3:5
“Consecrate” usually meant bathing themselves and preparing themselves physically, mentally, and spiritually for something special. Think of a graduation or a wedding. You take a bath, prepare your garments, think through what is about to take place.
Think of moving forward for something special in your life—a renewed relationship with your spouse, a new job, a new ministry, a witnessing opportunity, even a burial for a loved one. You prepare yourself or consecrate yourself.
For me, right now, it is preparing for the publishing of my book. I edit and ask others to look at it. I watch videos of teachers giving advice on writing, editing, publishing, and marketing, praying God will give me the next step.
What amazing thing is he ready to do in your life?
~ Joyce ~