Summary: If you want to overcome the obstacles in your life, concentrate on the Lord; consecrate yourself to Him; count on His Word; and then, just cross the water.
A few years ago, drivers on the eastern highways in India encountered an especially stubborn elephant that refused to let them pass until they offered up a little food. He's even been known to stick his trunk through an open window and sniff around for any hidden treasure! One local resident went so far as to call the actions an old-fashioned hold-up. (Associated Press, “Elephant Turns Highwayman in India,” www.news.sky.com, 5-30-07; www.PreachingToday.com)
Aren’t you glad you don’t have to deal with obstructions like that around here? There’s an occasional cow or two, maybe even a slow driver, but no elephant sticking his trunk in your car.
Even so, there are other kinds of obstacles, which impede your forward progress in life. It could be sickness, difficult people, or challenging circumstances which stop you cold in your tracks.
So what do you do in those times? How do you overcome the obstacles in life? How do you get past those impediments, which keep you from moving forward to accomplish what God has called you to do? Well, if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Joshua 3, Joshua 3, where we see how the Israelites handled the Jordan River in its flood stage, which kept them from the land God promised to them.
Joshua 3:1-3 Then Joshua rose early in the morning and they set out from Shittim. And they came to the Jordan, he and all the people of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over. At the end of three days the officers went through the camp and commanded the people, “As soon as you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God being carried by the Levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place and follow it. (ESV)
They act as if the flooded Jordan River doesn’t exist. They’re making plans to proceed despite the raging river before them. The leaders instruct the people to follow the Ark of the Covenant, which represents the very presence of God Himself.
Joshua 3:4 Yet there shall be a distance between you and it, about 2,000 cubits in length. Do not come near it, in order that you may know the way you shall go, for you have not passed this way before.” (ESV)
Even as they follow the Ark of the Covenant, the people are to remain 2,000 cubits (or 3,000 feet) behind it. Why? So all of them could see the Ark. If they crowded too close, then only a few would be able to see it. But if they kept their distance, then all would be able to see it and follow the Lord.
God Himself was going to lead His people. All they had to do was keep their eyes on Him so they could follow Him. My dear friends, that’s the only way to overcome the obstacles in your life.
CONCENTRATE ON THE LORD.
Keep your eyes on Him. Focus your attention on God so you can follow Him.
David Gibson from Idaho Falls, Idaho, talks about riding with his friend, who had just bought a 19-foot jet boat. The boat was made of steel and fitted with a V-8 engine. They put the boat in the North Fork of the Snake River, where the water was quite low because of a drought and heavy irrigation. Gibson’s friend eased the throttle up until they were going 35 miles per hour. They grinned at each other as they raced across the water's surface.
Then suddenly they hit a hidden sandbar, and the boat came to an abrupt stop. They stepped onto the sandbar, barely covered with one inch of water. Another boater came along, and after three hours of digging and pushing, they once again had the boat floating in the open channel. The boater who rescued them offered to lead them back to the landing since he knew the river well. He instructed them to follow exactly behind him, so they would avoid hidden sand and gravel bars.
Their rescuer pushed his boat up to 35 miles per hour. They fell in behind him, and once again they enjoyed the power of the machine as it skimmed over the water. After a couple of minutes, Gibson’s friend steered their boat just a few feet to the right of where the lead boat had gone. Within seconds, they hit a gravel bar, and Gibson was thrown into the windshield, getting injured and busting the windshield. When the lead boat came back, the driver reminded them, “I told you to follow me.” (David Gibson, Idaho Falls, Idaho; www.PreachingToday.com)
God says the same thing to you and me: “Follow me!” He says. He knows the way around (or through) the barriers. So if you don’t want to get hung up on them, keep your eyes on Him and stay in the path He lays out before you. If you want to overcome the obstacles in your life, concentrate on the Lord, so you can follow Him. Then…