April 27

Preparing Your Provisions, Part 1

Joshua 1:1-3 After the death of Moses…the LORD spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, saying: “Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them—the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses.

Joshua 1:10-11 Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, “Pass through the camp and command the people, saying, ‘Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you will cross over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you to possess.’”

Consider the background of this command from God to go and begin to possess the Promised Land: They had been slaves for 400 years in Egypt. The time from the Exodus to receiving the 10 Commandments at Mt. Sinai was about one year. They encamped at Mt. Sinai about a year. Then they wandered in the wilderness for about 38 years, and encamped before the call to go into the land for about a year.

During that time, the tabernacle was erected and the children of Israel learned how to worship the Lord according to the sacrificial system. They learned about tithing, living in society, handling various social and family difficulties, sexual morality and fairness in business and legal matters. Dealing in righteousness and wisdom surely brought peace and joy to many.

For those that only knew those years, they might have thought that life consisted in settling down and following the rules. After all, God’s presence was with them as with no other people, and they were beginning to receive the blessings outlined in Deuteronomy 28.

But then came the call to move. Imagine how much had to change! They’d set up ways of cooking, raising children, and gathering manna. They had furniture that worked for tents, and habits that worked for their lifestyle and environment. Tentmakers, tent repairers, Levites who cared for the tabernacle—life was good for these folks. Now they had to cross the Jordan together and take the land promised years before.

Are you ready for the next call, the next phase? Are you ready to leave what you’ve grown comfortable with to move with God? Have you grown comfortable in your present circumstances to the point where a call from God would be intrusive? Paul said that he was “content” in all circumstances (Philippians 4:12), not comfortable. We’re certainly to learn from Paul here, but not to the point of being snug and immoveable. He knew, unlike many Israelites who might only have known the wilderness experience, that his current circumstance was only a temporary one.

God had a work to do in His people before releasing them to take the land. God is continuing to work in us to help us to expand His kingdom. He is always looking ahead to the next phase, and his current work in us is always with an eye to what He has for us in the future.

Prayer: Father, forgive me when I get so used to the blessings, rhythms and habits of my life that I miss Your voice moving me forward and out of my present circumstances. Thank You for yesterday’s blessings, and the blessings I see as I look around. I pray that they don’t distract me from You and Your call to me. I confess that while You loved me yesterday and love me today, You are always preparing me for tomorrow.

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