Going After the Ark
And they commanded the people, saying, When ye see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it. ~Joshua 3:3
This morning, we are studying one of my favorite passages of Scripture: the crossing of the Jordan River. The crossing of the Jordan is a beautiful picture of the sanctification of the believer. It symbolizes how we have crossed over to a life of victory in the Lord. It is also a powerful picture of faith and the power of God. Perhaps the key phrase in Joshua 3 is “the ark of the covenant.” Right before the crossing of the Jordan, Joshua and the priests told the people, “When ye see the ark of the covenant of the LORD, … go after it.”
We see the significance.
The ark represents the presence of God. The contents within the ark beautifully speak of the law, our Lord Jesus Christ as the Bread of Heaven, His atoning death, His bodily resurrection, and the mercies of God. It pictures God’s matchless holiness in the midst of sinful man. It pointed to man’s need for God. It was the place where God showed His glory. We need God’s presence in our life. We need His presence for His forgiveness. We need His presence for His favor. We need His presence for our forward walk.
We see the spacing.
There had to be a space of 3,000 feet between the people and the ark. This was a reminder of how awesome the holiness of God is. The people had to be far enough away to have reverence to God’s holiness, but not so far that His holiness could not touch their lives. The spacing was a requirement for a congregation getting ready to cross the Jordan. Looking ahead and looking back, the people would see the priests holding the ark in the midst of the Jordan on dry ground!
We see the submission.
The people had to have faith in the ark. They had to have faith that without the presence of God, they could not successfully cross this overflowing river. We must have faith in the goodness of God’s presence. We must also have faith in the greatness of God’s presence. Submission is our ability to follow leadership without reluctance and doubting. The ark always preceded the people. It would be folly to go ahead of the ark or away from the ark. In the same way, it is folly for us to get ahead of God or go away from God, especially when He calls us to put our feet in a “Jordan River” that we must cross.
We see the supremacy.
“That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho.” God did the supernatural that morning. Joshua and Caleb saw the parting of the Red Sea forty years before. For a second time in their life, they experienced God’s power and presence pushing back the overflowing waters, the ground immediately becoming dry, and God’s people crossing over with no problems or resistance. For the majority of the Israelites, this was the first time they experienced a miracle like this. It gave them bolstered confidence for entering and conquering Canaan land. It proved, without a shadow of doubt, that God’s presence in their lives was the game changer. In the same way, God’s presence in your life is a game changer.
Is there evidence of God’s presence in your life and work? Will you have faith that His presence will enable you to cross over a Jordan?
Have a presence-filled God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Joshua 12-15
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