Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.” Exodus 14:13
Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.” Joshua 3:5
The Israelites went through the sea on dry ground. Exodus 14:29
The whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground. Joshua 3:17
As you’re working through this week’s passage, do you find yourself thinking, ‘This sounds familiar. Haven’t we heard this before?’
God’s people, led by one courageous leader, promised new freedom, staring down an impassable body of water. God, miraculously making a way for His people to cross on DRY GROUND. Haven’t we heard this before?
If you’re getting flashbacks to Exodus 14, when the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, it’s because you’re supposed to! But why are we supposed to? Why all the parallels? They speak to the nature, and character God. A God who sustains and provides for His people. Elohim God, the God of all creation overcomes impossible odds, because nothing is impossible for Him.
After 40 years in the wilderness, this new generation of Israelites had heard their elders recount their miraculous delivery from captivity through the Red Sea. The Lord of all the earth parted those waters. And he would do it again. That’s the point. The Israelites are about to make a new, dangerous crossing into a land with dangerous enemies. They needed to be reminded in the midst of scary and impossible things, even hopeful and joyful things, that God remained with them. He was and would remain present, able, and unchanged.
The living God is present with His people. Joshua chapter three is 17 verses long. The Ark of the Covenant, of the Ark of the Lord, is mentioned 14 times in those seventeen verses. No other noun is mentioned more, not Joshua, not the Jordan River, not the city of Jericho. The Ark of the Lord, is main character this week. In the Old Testament, God’s presence was confined to a certain place. The Ark of the covenant was one place where God dwelled on earth. So when you read about the Ark of the Covenant, or the Ark of the Lord, think, that’s where God is. That’s God’s presence.
The living God is present with His people in Joshua, this week’s passage. Focus on Him this week. Don’t focus on the Jordan River, all the ‘-ites,’ nor the enemies on the other side. Focus on Him, focus on staying in His presence, and not on the scary things looming on the horizon. We’re purified and set apart in His presence. We can hear His instruction in His presence and we see miraculous breakthrough in his presence.