Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over. After three days the officers went throughout the camp, giving orders to the people: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the Levitical priests carrying it, you are to move out of your positions and follow it. Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before . . .” Joshua 3:1-4
For forty years, God led the Israelites by the Pillar of Cloud by day and the Pillar of Fire by night. Whenever the Pillar stopped, the Israelites had to stop and encamp. Whenever the Pillar moved, the Israelites had to follow suit. The Israelites were now virtually on the verge of crossing over into the long-awaited Promised Land. Were they going to follow the leadership of God or were they going to bypass Him and chart their own path?
Joshua, as a good leader, was proactive in admonishing the Israelites: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God . . . you are to move out of your positions and follow it. Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before . . .”
There is something about human nature that makes us sober and even willingly dependent upon God when we find ourselves in the wilderness. We are willing to submit ourselves to the Pillar of Cloud by day and the Pillar of Fire by night. This might be because we feel rather helpless in wilderness situations. We recognize that without God, we will perish in the wilderness.
But then, our attitudes and thinking sometimes go through dramatic changes when we are about to possess our Promised Land. Suddenly, we sense victory and we hesitate to follow and obey the God who brought us out of the wilderness. There is a sense of “I think I can come out with a better plan than God’s.” We are not so willing to follow the LORD because we see victory right around the corner! That is the tragic mistake that plagues humanity, endlessly. We start with God but we are not so willing to follow Him when we see the light at the end of our tunnel.
The words of Joshua pulsate with truth today as it did thousands of years ago: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD . . . follow it. Then you will know which way to go since you have never been this way before.” Follow the ark! Follow the ark! Follow the ark!
I want to encourage you never to assume that you know the way of life! Don’t ever follow your own plans and thinking! If you start your career, business, job, family, ministry, finances, marriage, and household with God, let Him lead you all the way. Follow the ark! Scripture admonishes us, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” (Proverbs 3:5-6, NLT)
Prayer: Lord, please help me to follow you in everything I do. Amen.