'Moving out in faith'
9th September 2020
'from your positions and follow'
3 "When you see the ark of the covenant
of the Lord your God,
and the Levitical priests carrying it,
you are to move out
from your positions and follow it.
4 Then you will know which way to go,
since you have never been this way before."
... Joshua 3:3-4a (NIV)
As this chapter begins,
an entire generation is standing
on the edge of a significant shift
After 40 years of living in the desert,
the Israelites are moving
to the land God promised them.
But before they begin their journey,
the Lord offers them some invaluable
instructions in Joshua 3:3-4a above...
The ark of the covenant was a special,
gold-plated wooden chest,
that housed the presence of God.
By directing the Israelites
to fix their gaze on the ark,
God redirects the focus
of their journey from
their uncertainties to his dependability.
'I know you haven't done this before.'
'but if you keep your eyes on me,
I'll show you the way,'
God assured Joshua that, as in the past, he
"was with Moses so shall I be with you."
In the past God had delivered;
he had guided;
he had supplied;
so he would provide in the present;
he gave them a new method of guidance;
no more cloud or pillar of fire,
now it was to be a walk of faith.
When priests step into water
carrying the ark of the covenant
the people would follow.
While they were keeping
their eyes on the ark
they were keeping their eyes
on the dwelling place of God;
they could not get lost
as in the past in the desert.
The past teaches us
a lot of things about ourselves
about our strengths as well as
when we recognise them,
we know what to watch out for
and how to make the best of them.
Through God's guidance
we can turn the stumbling blocks
into stepping stones.
The past has taught us many things
about God in our lives;
he was there in the hour of need;
he supplied our needs
and gave us strength;
he was with us
and saw us through difficult times.
Reflecting on the past
and trusting in God
gives us a certainty in here and now.
And we can also have a certainty of the future.
We are moving into it, no doubts -
the past is past
(we cannot change it)
and the present is passing
(we cannot stop it).
How are we to face the future?
and with our eyes on God
we can face the future with confidence.
Thanks to Jesus we no longer need
a chest to carry God in our midst.
When we accept the salvation Jesus offers,
the Holy Spirit moves into our lives
and willingly guides our steps,
15 All that belongs to the Father is mine.
That is why I said the Spirit
will receive from me
what he will make known to you."
... (John 16:15).
As we pay attention to his presence
and heed his promptings,
the Spirit directs us through the throes of change.
Being near to God
gives us wisdom
even when we find ourselves
on a journey we have never experienced before.
We can trust in him
and move out in faith.