And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan. ~Joshua 3:17
Our devotion this morning is taken from a very stimulating statement found in Josh. 3:17. As the priests who bare the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord came to the banks of the overflowing Jordan River, their feet stood firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan. The soft, muddy ground became firm, but as it did, these men stood firm as they held the Ark of the Covenant. These men “dug their heels in.” The picture presented to us is the importance of steadfastness in the Lord’s work.
We see the RESPONSIBILITY in steadfastness.
Steadfastness is when someone rigidly holds his ground and will not move. Being steadfast means that, regardless which direction the winds blow, you have dug your heels in deeply to the Word and will not move. We must be steadfast in our beliefs. In Prov. 22:28, we are instructed to not move the ancient landmarks. Our beliefs concerning the Scriptures should be rock-solidly based on, “Thus saith the Lord,” and not, “Thus saith the author of the day.” Paul tells us not to be blown about with every false wind of doctrine. Then, we must be steadfast in our behavior. I am filled with righteous indignation against the modern-day hypocrisy and inconsistencies of believers who say they believe the Word, but live lives contrary to the Word. Belief determines behavior. Behavior indicates what you believe.
We see the RESILIENCE in steadfastness.
The priests that held the Ark of the Covenant stood firm until every Israelite passed over. Given there were 2.5 to 3 million Israelites who had to cross the one-mile stretch of the Jordan, it took a minimum of an entire 24-hour day for all to pass over. This meant that these priests stood firm with the Ark that entire time. That is a very good description of resilience. Like Eleazar, whose hand held tightly to his sword, we must hold tightly in our faith. Paul told Timothy, “Holding faith, and a good conscience…” You might get weary in the work, but stand firm! You might feel lonely and forsaken in the work, but stand firm! You might feel like you are the only one standing, but stand firm!
We see the REINFORCEMENT in steadfastness.
There were four priests standing firm, with each one holding his end of the staff. Seeing the priests in front of you or to your side, standing firm, gave personal reinforcement. Be encouraged that there are the 7,000 who have not bowed their knees to Baal! Be encouraged that there is at least one other person standing firm! Then, think of how your example helps someone else. When you stand firm as a leader, think about how this reinforces the faith of a younger person or someone who is weaker. When you stand firm, think about all the people who pass you, and are thankful that you stood firm and did not waver.
We see the REWARD in steadfastness.
These priests who stood firm with the Ark were blessed in upholding the presence of God during this miraculous endeavor. These four men were individually thinking, “I’m thankful that God’s presence is with us. I’m thankful that God’s presence made a way where there was no way.” These men, Joshua, and the other people were blessed in knowing that the presence of God is the secret to spiritual accomplishment. Success in the Christian life is not a walk in the park; success in the Christian life is a walk with God! The Bible says that Enoch walked with God and he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
Dig your heels in deeply! Stand firm even though the waters of the river are overflowing, and the way seems impassable.
Have a steadfast God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Nehemiah 10-11