Sunday, November 27, 2011

Following Instructions (Joshua Study Post 9)

Following Instructions

Read Joshua 3:1-6

I am filled with anticipation as we begin chapter 3!! The Israelites are so close to finally going into the Promised Land....I can only imagine the excitement they felt as they camped on the very banks of the River Jordan for 3 days. The very river that stood between them and their PROMISE...

What I want to talk about tonight is the instructions that Joshua gives to the Israelites as to how they are to cross into their land. We can probably safely say that by this point they were sitting on ready...they more than likely didn't sleep the night before b/c they were SO excited because they knew that this promise that they had been waiting soooo long for was about to be fulfilled. They would probably have just took off running towards their promise just because they were so ready to receive it after all this time!! Or, they could have let a little fear creep back in. They knew they were supposed to be crossing this river, but for the last 3 days they have looked at the waters as they flowed. they have noticed, over and over, the size of the river. I can't say for sure how they were feeling...But once again, there is a seemingly impossible task blocking their way. However; Joshua asks them to be faithful....once again. He asks them to follow a specific set of instructions. Instructions that initially sound insignificant. But we know better than that by now! ;)

Let's take a look at the instructions he gave them;
First, Joshua tells them
3“When you see the Levitical priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD your God, move out from your positions and follow them. 

Joshua didn't send his strongest warriors first. He didn't tell all of the strongest warriors to take the front line...Joshua realized that this battle was a spiritual one and not a physical one. He realized that the priests that carried the Ark of the Covenant, which was the visible representation of God's presence among the Israelites, had to be their fist line of defense.

So many times we want to attempt to fight our battles ourselves. We think "we got it". We think we know what is best. Only to find out that we are completely wrong. Then, when all else fails, we decide to give God a go at it. All the while we are fighting with our own strength, God is just waiting for us to let Him go before us and fight our battle for us! (and we're only on the 1st instruction!! :) )

Second, Joshua instructs them to
Since you have never traveled this way before, they will guide you. Stay about a half mile behind them, keeping a clear distance between you and the Ark. Make sure you don’t come any closer.”

Joshua instructs them of this for 2 reasons. In order to respect the holy nature of the Ark. And also so that everyone had a clear view of the Ark...So they could keep their eyes on the presence of God. They presence of God was leading them. How much more victorious could our lives be if we let the presence of God lead our every decision?

And Lastly,Joshua tell them,
And Joshua said to the people, "Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you."

"Sanctify....... (Consecrate, Purify, Cleanse, make yourselves holy) for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you."....The Israelites were a l m o s t ready to enter into the promise God had for them...but there was just one more thing to do. God needed to get them prepared spiritually. He needed them to purify their minds and hearts completely so that they were ready to receive ALL He had for them!

Couldn't it be that God is saying the same thing to his us today?
Sanctify yourselves.
Purify yourselves.
Consecrate yourselves
for tomorrow I will do wonders among you!!

I believe that God has got a new level for our lives to go to.
He’s got bigger authority for us to realize.
He's got more work for us to do!
He's got more friends for us to share our story with!
He’s wants to enlarge our vision, enlarge our purpose.....
But first, before these wonders will come, he says  “Sanctify yourself.”
The word, Sanctify means the process of becoming pure and holy, just as God is pure and Holy.
Cindy Jacobs says that “Sanctification is a process in which you become more Christ like."
In a nutshell, It means you make clear decisions in your life.
It's all about making a decision to not let sin have a say in your life any longer.
You make a choice that you will not sin.
You make a choice that if you are addicted that you will get help.
You make a choice to not entertain temptation.

I believe that God uses this story to make it clear that; a) we all need instruction. Just as the Israelites needed instruction before crossing the Jordan. b) that sometimes all that's left to do is surrender our life completely to Him in order to walk into our promise. All that may be left to do if you are still waiting on your promise, is for you to surrender to God's instruction for your to sanctify yourself!

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