Walking In and Into the Unprecedented
This is what it looks like to follow God during the unprecedented.
Then Joshua rose early in the morning and they set out from Shittim. And they came to the Jordan, he and all the people of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over. At the end of three days the officers went through the camp and commanded the people, “As soon as you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God being carried by the Levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place and follow it. Yet there shall be a distance between you and it, about 2,000 cubits in length. Do not come near it, in order that you may know the way you shall go, for you have not passed this way before.” Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you."
By David Hammock
Some have said that we live in a time when we are making unprecedented use of the word “unprecedented.” How true that is. Pandemics have happened in years past. Cultural unrest was prevalent all through the 1960s. High unemployment and a struggling economy happen every few years. What is unprecedented is that all of these high-stress situations happened concurrently in 2020. We have not passed this way before.
Instructions for Unprecedented Events
The ancient Hebrews faced an unprecedented situation as they prepared to cross over the Jordan River and occupy the Promised Land. Joshua provided them instructions as he told them, “that you may know the way you shall go, for you have not passed this way before.” (Joshua 3:4b). So, what was the secret in their stepping confidently into the unknown?
The Secret We Can Adopt
Joshua instructed the people to observe the movement of the “ark of the covenant of the Lord your God”, which as we know represented to them the presence of God. He told them specifically how close to walk to the ark so they could keep it in view at all times and follow it. This focused the Israelites on God instead of the challenges. Joshua knew they would need that special focus as they faced unprecedented challenges. Lastly, he encouraged them and said, “the Lord will do wonders among you.” (Joshua 3:5b) Indeed He did, as shortly after that, the walls of Jericho fell down and God defeated their enemies as His people focused their attention on obeying and following Him rather than being overwhelmed by the unprecedented.
Pray this week:
Father, thank You for your abiding presence with us, just as You were with the ancient wilderness wanderers. We are grateful for Your power to also see us through our unprecedented circumstances. Teach us to follow You each day and trust Your provision for whatever we need. May our obedience and trust bring honor to You as we pass where we have not gone before. We ask this in the name of Your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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