Then Joshua said to the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you."Joshua 3:5(NASB)
For 40 years the children of Israel had wandered in the wilderness instead of entering the promised land, due to their lack of faith. They were saved from Egypt, but because of unbelief, they lived a defeated life and failed to enter their promised rest. Despite their redemption, they failed to live a sanctified life. A whole generation died and was buried in the wilderness, but another was waiting, expectantly, to enter the promised land.
Forty years had passed, and the old, defeated generation was replaced by one with high expectations. The time for Moses' departure drew near, and he reminded this new set of Israelites of the many things that had taken place since their parents had smeared the blood of Passover lambs on their door lintels, and the angel of death had passed through Egypt.
He reminded the people of their entire history and how God had provided for them in the wilderness. He promised blessings for obedience but warned of curses for disobedience. Finally, Moses handed the reins of leadership to Joshua, the son of Nun, and the day came when he blessed the people of Israel and went up to the top of Mount Nebo, in Moab, where this faithful servant of the Lord died.
Once the time for mourning was over, Joshua was called by God to make preparation to cross the Jordan into the promised land. Two men had already spied out the impregnable city of Jericho, and Joshua was ready to set out with the Children of Israel to conquer the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their descendants.
Having waited three days on the banks of the Jordan before crossing, Joshua sent officers throughout the camp, instructing the people to keep their eyes on the ark of God, as the Levitical priests carried it on their shoulders. They were to follow it wherever it went. After giving out all his instructions we read, "then Joshua told the people, 'Consecrate yourselves.. because the Lord will do wonders among you tomorrow.'"
What a wonderful promise the people of Israel received, as they set out on the next step of their journey. Having been saved by trusting God's Word, they were now instructed to sanctify themselves to the Lord. The people of God were to set themselves apart for Him and the Lord promised to do wonders among them - the very next day.
God had chosen the nation of Israel to be His firstborn, adoptive son. He called them out of Egypt and redeemed them from slavery. This redeemed people were to keep their focus upon Him. They were to be separate from the pagans Gentiles. They were to keep the ark of the covenant ever before their eyes. And they were to live holy, consecrated lives that honoured the Lord Who redeemed them.
What a beautiful picture this gives to Church-age believers of God's redeemed people, and the call to live a consecrated life unto Him. Having been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, we too are to keep the eyes of our heart on Jesus - the Author and Finisher of our faith. We are to live a life that is sanctified unto God - a life that is walking in spirit and truth - a life that is growing in grace, and a life that honours our Father in heaven.
We who have been redeemed from the slave-market of sin should not follow in the footsteps of those who died in the wilderness. Rather, we should take note of Joshua's command to the next generation - to be consecrated to the Lord. The people were told, "tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you." And the Lord did a wonderful thing for Israel the next day. He stopped the fast-flowing waters of the River Jordan and the people crossed over the water in safety.
Just as the Lord promised to do wonders among Israel, He has promised to do wonders through the Church. The Lord has prepared good works for each of us to do, as empowered by the indwelling Holy Spirit. Every one of God's people can give evidence of the wonders the Lord has done in each of our lives, for we have all been saved by grace through faith in HIM. And each one of us are called to consecrate ourselves to God as we walk with Him, day by day, in the light of His love.
And let us never forget that the best is yet to come, for we have also been told, that eye has not seen, and ear has not heard the wonderful things that God has prepared for those that love Him.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the wonderful things You have done, in and through Israel and in and through the Church. Thank You for the way You have guided and directed my life and the lives of all Your people. Help me to carry out the good work that You have prepared for me to do in the power of the Holy Spirit, and I pray that I may be consecrated to You in thought, word, and deed, for You are a great and mighty God. This I pray in Jesus' name, AMEN.