Summary: Keep our focus right. Keep our faith strong. God is enough for you.
Israel is about to do something they have never done before – cross the Jordan and move into Canaan.
• They are moving onto uncharted path. They have never been this way before (3:4), Joshua said it right.
• His instruction is: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests, who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it.” (3:3)
What are they supposed to do? FOLLOW the ark. The Ark of the Covenant of the Lord represents the presence of God.
• It wasn’t a superstitious thought. It was a revelation of God given to Moses in Exo 25 when God instructed Moses to construct the Ark.
• God said, “There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the Testimony, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites.” (Exo 25:22)
• That’s where God meets Moses. That’s the presence of God with His people.
The Ark of the Covenant will move ahead of them, carried by the priests, the Levites. God will lead the way, as He has promised.
• It doesn’t matter if this is a way you have never been before. But it does matter WHO is leading you.
• Keep your eyes on the ark, Joshua says. God will get you to where He wants you to go.
• It does not matter what is ahead of you. It does matter WHO is with you.
And then Joshua added a word of caution: Don’t come to near to the Ark.
• Keep a distance. Stay close, close enough to see the Ark, but keep a distance of 1000 yards (900m). We do not know the reason for this. No explanation.
• Two possibilities. One is the holiness of God. The people, unprepared and unsanctified, must not come too close to God’s holy presence.
• Second possibility is that if those nearest crowd around the Ark, the rest would lose sight of the Ark. Stay a distance to maintain a clear line of sight for all.
We do not know the exact reason. But the important thing is DON’T LOSE SIGHT OF THE ARK. Don’t stay too far behind. Don’t get lost in the crowd.
• Joshua says, FOLLOW IT and “then you will know which way to go.” (3:4a)
• Follow Him and you will know which way to go. Determine today, in your heart that you are going to FOLLOW Him, no matter what.
The focus is not on the leader. It’s not Joshua that the people are going to look up to. It’s not going to be any church leaders or pastors. We follow Christ.
• The focus is not even on the daunting problem in front of you – how to cross the river. The instruction was simple, just follow the Ark.
• The focus is on the ARK, the presence of God. Where is He right now in your life?
The Ark of the Covenant is mentioned 17 times in these 2 chapters (3 and 4); 10 times in chapter 3 alone.
• That’s what the people need to LOOK AT and LOOK TO – the presence of God and His power to lead them through.
• God will lead us through our BIG RIVER if we stay focused on Him. No matter what that may be, it doesn’t matter. Stay close to God and keep Him in sight!