Joshua 1:11 ESV And Joshua commanded the officers of the people, “Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, ‘Prepare your provisions, for within three days you are to pass over this Jordan to go in to take possession of the land that the LORD your God is giving you to possess.’”
At this moment in time, we are all in waiting as the effects of the worldwide pandemic occur. When will this pass?” I’ve asked myself. “How long will it last?” I question. With many supplies in short supply at our stores, I have wondered when will the new trucks arrive and replenish the store shelves.
Wouldn’t it be great if we always knew the exact time we could leave our stress and get to the relief? In the Old Testament, there’s a record of when relief came to the nation of Israel which gives me hope.
In Joshua 1:11, Joshua told the Israelites that they would leave their 40 year tour of the wilderness in three days. I can just imagine that some of the people were ecstatic to get out of the wandering pattern, but may have wondered how they’d get through the Jordan River; they would have to pass through it to get to their Promised Land. It was time to prepare for a new journey, take down their tents and pack up their provisions.
Even though they weren’t trekking through a worldwide pandemic like us, they tackled a path that they had never seen. God knew that the people needed dry land to allow millions of people to travel to the other side of the river to get to the Promised Land. He was getting them ready to travel to the edges of the Jordan River and show His might to that generation.
Exiting out of wandering into the width of a dry river bed which led to the Promised Land started with preparation.
When Joshua told the people to prepare their provisions to leave camp, I wonder if some people had gotten comfortable with where they were and perhaps didn’t want to pass over to the Promised Land. While the desert had been their home for 40 years, food from heaven arrived daily, their clothing and shoes didn’t wear out and they were used to their nomadic life. It would make sense that they may have felt anxious about leaving all that they knew.
We must also journey to the edge of the unknown by trusting in God who will remove barriers so that our miracle can begin. Is He stirring in your heart to make a move but stress presses the override button? Have you felt that you have been wandering, anxious about every decision? Let me assure you, He knew the effort involved in packing up the camp and heading to the river; He knows that you will have to trust Him to guide you too.
As the Ark of the Covenant was moved into the river, the waters changed. God’s presence performed a miracle as the waters rushed out of the way so that the people could walk across on dry ground. A miracle happened in the water, in the midst of their struggle to get to their future. God’s presence in the Ark of the Covenant stopped the water so that they could pass on dry ground. That generation might not have remembered the way that the Red Sea had parted when their forefathers had exited out of Egypt. Forty years earlier, some of them may have not yet been born to see the parting of the Red Sea. This moment showed them how God moves to make his plan possible. God helped then and he will help us now.
When we are faced with new directions or uncertainty in our lives, God wants us to prepare our hearts, even adjusting our familiar routines to get through what is ahead. We will have to pray, trusting his Holy Presence to be with us and keep His Word in our hearts. Just as His Presence traveled in the Ark of the Covenant into the Jordan River bed, His Holy Spirit will go with us. Listen to His heart as you spend time in His Word and with Him in prayer. He will give you direction to walk into the future and go with you.
Let the following Scriptures encourage you as we cling to the Truth of God’s Word:
Joshua 3:5 “Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.”
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you”–this is the LORD’s declaration–“plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
Job 11:13-19 “If you prepare your heart, you will stretch out your hands toward him. If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away, and let not injustice dwell in your tents. Surely then you will lift up your face without blemish; you will be secure and will not fear.”