4/21/2020 – Preparing to cross the Jordan River
Joshua 3:5 – “Joshua told the people, ‘consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.’” Basically, CONSECRATE means to attach yourself to something. Disconnect yourself from everything else and attach yourself to one thing. The only way we can get to where we want to be is to disconnect ourselves from everything else and attach ourselves to the Lord. The only way our lives will ever have any real and lasting purpose or direction is to become “set apart” or to“consecrate” ourselves, attach ourselves completely to Him.
If the Lord has no plans for my life, MY plans are pointless. If the Lord has no purpose for my life, my brief life on this earth is a complete waste of time. But if I can honestly say that the purpose of my life is to glorify the Lord as He fulfills His plans for me, I will never be held captive to anything. I will never be a victim. In Christ, I will always be free and victorious. I will overcome every obstacle. I will conquer every challenge because Jesus has overcome the world.
When we are willing to detach ourselves from our own personal interests and selfish ambitions to seek first His Kingdom, when we are willing to consecrate ourselves and attach ourselves completely to Him, when we can honestly say, “For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain,” (Philippians 1:21) we will see the Lord do many “amazing things” every day of our lives.
Israel is following the Ark of the Covenant. Their attention is focused on the Word, the Grace, the Power, and the Presence of their God. They have consecrated themselves. They have abandoned all other gods, all other interests, and all other plans and attached themselves to the Lord alone. It’s taken forty years for them to get to this point but now they are ready to cross the Jordan River to enter that land the Lord promised Abraham He would give them.
Joshua 3:6-8 “Joshua said to the priests, ‘Take up the Ark of the Covenant and pass on ahead of the people.’ So they took it up and went ahead of them. And the Lord said to Joshua, ‘ Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so that they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. Tell the priests wh carry the Ark of the Covenant: ‘When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, GO AND STAND IN THE RIVER.”
Normally, standing in the Jordan River wasn’t much of a problem. Ordinarily, crossing the Jordan River was not a big deal. They might have been forty years younger, but Joshua and Caleb both crossed that river when they first went to check out the land with the other spies,
But at this particular time, according to 3:15, “the Jordan is at flood stage all during the harvest.” The Jordan River was flooded. The water level was at its highest, and the current was the strongest. Anyone with an ounce of common sense would know that this was the worst possible time to be trying to cross that river.
But the Lord always seems to ask us to do something at the worst possible time, doesn’t He? He always seems to speak to us about things like “tithing” at the worst possible time, doesn’t He? The Lord never waits until we have a little extra income to speak to us about tithing. God speaks to us about giving more when we think we have the least to give. He speaks to us about giving Him the “first fruits” when we’re struggling to give Him the leftovers.
“This is the worst possible time to be crossing that river, Lord. It’s been forty years. Would it hurt to wait another week or so until the water level goes down a bit? It would make things a lot easier.”
I’ve noticed that I always want to wait until I think I can do it before I’m willing to try. I’m always ready to do something when it doesn’t take any faith to get it done. But the Lord always asks us to do something when we have to depend on Him completely in order to do it at all.
The Lord commanded Israel to take the Ark of the Covenant and “go…stand in the river” when the water was the deepest and the current was the strongest, when they had absolutely no hope of doing it by themselves.
The Lord told Moses in Numbers 14:24, “My servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly.” That “different spirit” the Lord was talking about is a spirit, it’s an attitude, a mind-set, a determination that’s eager to do whatever the Lord says and is eager to go wherever the Lord leads.
Well, right now Joshua, the Lord is leading you into that river and telling you to stand there. The Lord is asking you to do something that doesn’t seem to make sense and is impossible for you to do without Him.
After knowing what the Lord wants, that “different spirit” that brings us to where the Lord wants us to be and helps us live the life Jesus came for us to live, is eager to do whatever the Lord says, Joshua 1:16 – “Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go,” so if you want us to cross this flooded river right now, that’s what we’re going to do.
I may be afraid, but my desire to please the Lord is greater than my fear of doing what He wants me to do My desire to please the Lord is greater than my fear of enduring what He’s asking me to go through. Is YOUR desire to please the Lord greater than your fear of doing what He’s asking you to do or enduring whatever He’s asking you to go through?
When the Lord brings us to the edge of OUR Jordan River, it’s not just doctrine anymore. It’s not hypothetical anymore. It’s not just empty words now. When we get to the edge of our Jordan River, IT’S TIME TO LIVE OUT OUR FAITH. It’s time to back up our words with action instead of trying to justify our actions or excuse our inaction with a lot of eloquent words.
That’s all the words we have time for this week. Lord willing, we’ll cross that river next Tuesday. Remember, I love hearing from you. If you have any questions or comments, please drop a reply. If these posts are helpful or meaningful for you, please encourage others to follow along and get “In God’s Word with Pastor Buj.”