By Rev. James Martin.
A wise and committed person once said, “I’ll go anywhere, so long as it’s forward!” Our current worldwide health and economic crisis is presenting challenges that are unprecedented. We are navigating uncharted waters; at least they’re off our charts. Where do we turn in such times as these?
Our normal is disrupted. What will be the new normal? I was reading Joshua 3 yesterday morning. How pertinent these timeless truths are for us today!
Our political and healthcare officials are echoing the words of Joshua’s officers, “ye have not passed this way heretofore” (v4). Let me say that I sincerely appreciate the diligent deliberations and difficult decisions that our leaders are tasked to execute.
So, how did God prepare, position, propel and perpetuate a new way forward for His people?
They were not being presumptuous to move forward at a time when the Jordan was flooded. It was God’s time to move. “…Remove from your place, and go after it (the ark). Yet there shall be a space between you and it.” (v3-4). Spatial distancing is not new. God instructed Israel to follow the priests bearing the ark of the covenant — about a half mile away so everyone could see the mighty acts of God. “…Ye may know the way by which ye must go” (v4). The sight of the ark assured them of God’s leadership and proper course of action. Apart from God’s direction, they were clueless and helpless. But confidence is birthed in divine revelation. “Sanctify yourselves” (v5). The purification of our hearts, hands, and habits is essential. How much do we desire to move forward with God? It is evident by the intensity of our willingness to clean up our lives! “…tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you” (v6). The promised wonders follow the sanctified life. Adventure awaits those who amend their actions and attitudes.
The people watched as the priests had to “get their feet wet” before the Jordan began to stand up.
It was a faith-building time. This miraculous action assured them that the God who is able to do this will surely overcome the powerful heathen nations who occupied the Promised Land. “Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan” (4:9). Build a pillar of memorial in the middle of your trial.
“.p..Take…twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place” (4:3). Then carry some memories with you to ensure a legacy of faith for generations to come! God will see us through!
It’s a new way, and always forward!