September 10, 2023
This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, How Arrive at Our Destination without a Map.
God was leading the children of Israel out of Egypt, into their promised land. The promised land was a land of opportunity, but also mystery.
The Bible says those wilderness wanderings of God’s ancient people, “happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition ” (1 Corinthians 10:11b).
With each new day, we too are going into opportunity, mystery, and difficulty. Here are some lessons on how to live abundantly.
They commanded the people, saying, “When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests, the Levites, bearing it, then you shall set out from your place and go after it. Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure. Do not come near it, that you may know the way by which you must go, for you have not passed this way before.”
The Ark of the Covenant was a piece of furniture that had a central place in the tabernacle, and later in the Holy of Holies in the temple. It was about two feet high, two feet wide, and four feet long. Inside it were the Ten Commandments of God, Aaron’s rod that budded (read Numbers 17), and manna (read Hebrews 9:3-5). On top was a slab of solid gold, and two cherubim figurines with their wings spread over what was called the mercy seat. The Shekinah glory of God hovered there (see Numbers 7:89). The high priest would come and sprinkle blood upon that ark to atone for the sins of the people (see Leviticus 16:14).
This ark symbolized the life of God, the holiness of God, the righteousness of God, the presence of God, and the atoning blood of Christ. All of this was a picture of Jesus.
God does not play favorites. All Christians have the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. But not all Christians are totally following Christ. When Jesus is Lord and leader, when He is out in front, that is what makes for victory.
If you want to live abundantly, if you want to enjoy God’s promises and God’s power, then follow these three principles:
Joshua told Israel, “You have not passed this way before” (Joshua 3:4b). God’s will for you is a relationship; not a roadmap. It is not important for you to know what the future holds. Just focus on Jesus.
“When the ark moves, go after it,” Joshua said. Don’t move until God moves. Timing is far more important than time.
Have you ever gotten impatient, wondering why God didn’t move sooner? It is possible to do the right thing in the wrong time.
Jesus was never in a hurry, and never late. Many people got impatient with Him. He would answer, “My hour has not yet come.” (John 2:4b). Yet, at the end of His ministry He could say to His Father, “I have finished the work which You have given Me to do” (John 17:4b).
You don’t have to know where you will end up.
If God told you the future, that would take the mystery, the romance, and the joy out of it, because you could not be surprised by God’s serendipities. If you knew you would be in a car accident, or a loved one would die, or some disease would come, you would live every day in dread. Isn’t God merciful, that we don’t know the future?
“And Joshua said to the people, ‘Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you’” (Joshua 3:5). A “wonder” is something you don’t understand. We don’t live by explanations but by God’s promises.
Have you ever argued with God, and said, “Lord, tell me why!” You could not understand if He told you. (See Isaiah 55:8.) How do you know God’s plan for you? The only way is to look over your shoulder and say, “Here the Lord has led me.”
They called it “the Ark of the Covenant.” What is a covenant? It is a sacred contract, a binding agreement, an unfailing promise. God had made a covenant with His ancient people, and God has made a covenant with us.
“The LORD said to Joshua, ‘This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you’” (Joshua 3:7).
The promises did not die with Moses, nor with the other Bible saints. God’s promises are for all saints, seasons, and situations.
Some might say, “But that was His covenant with ancient Israel.” Yes, but God has given us a new covenant in His blood (see Luke 22:20), which the Book of Hebrews says is “a better covenant” (see Hebrews 8:6-7).
So, we are to be “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2a). To “look unto” someone means “depend on me.” It means to look away from everything else.
Do not look at circumstances. Peter walked on water as long as he was looking to Jesus. But then he looked at those mountainous waves, and began to sink. (Read Matthew 14:22-33.)
Do not look at other saints. The best of people will disappoint you. “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man” (Psalm 118:8).
Do not look at your faith. If the devil says to you, “Your faith is no good,” say, “So what? Isn’t Jesus wonderful?”
Joshua said, “By this you shall know that the living God is among you….It shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, that the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off, the waters that come down from upstream, and they shall stand as a heap.”
Knowledge of God equals trust, trust equals obedience, and obedience equals blessing.
If God commands you to cross the Jordan, it is His business to take the Jordan out of the way. Every demand upon you is a demand upon the God who lives in you, if you are saved.
As soon as the feet of the priests touched the river Jordan, the waters backed up “and rose in a heap very far away at Adam, the city that is beside Zaretan” (see Joshua 3:16).
The word Jordan means “descent into judgment.” The river Jordan flows down to the Dead Sea. The Ark of the Covenant came into that river of death, and God stopped the river all the way back to Adam.
Jesus, too, entered the chilly waters of death, and stopped death all the way back to Adam! “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22.)
Joshua 3:3-16; 1 Corinthians 10:11, 15:22; Numbers 7:89, 17; Hebrews 8:6-7, 9:3-5, 12:2; Leviticus 16:14; John 2:4, 17:4; Isaiah 55:8; Luke 22:20; Matthew 14:22-33; Psalm 118:8
You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
He who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.
Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.