April 28

Preparing Your Provisions, Part 2

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.’”

After 40 years in the wilderness, the people of Israel were now called to go in and take the land. Their lives were abruptly changed from a combination of settling and wandering to one of focused warfare. Had the people changed since the day before the call? Was that the big difference? No. Had God’s laws changed? No. But the call had, and that made all the difference.

With three days to get ready, everything changed. Those who moved the tabernacle were called into action. Skills related to traveling and warfare now became more important as skills related to settling were put on the back shelf. Some folks found their most familiar strengths unimportant in the light of the new challenges. Some had to face fears and responsibilities they might have been avoiding. Still others found they were needed as never before, and had strengths and gifts they hadn’t previously known about or used.

The business world has faced these kinds of challenges before, and the responses have been varied. The first digital watch changed everything in the world of watchmaking. Now the ubiquity of cells phones has changed things again. How about manufacturers of buggy whips? Or those who made “rabbit ears” for getting better television signals? The arrival of sound in film, at first thought a passing fad, changed forever the entire landscape of the art form and the industry.

Those who succeed in the business world are those that adjust quickly to massive changes like this, move through the complaining/disappointment phase quickly, and look to see how to maximize the new circumstances. What can we learn from that in the spiritual realm?

One, God is God. He is sovereign, and He can do what He wants. We need to settle that in our hearts over and over again in our lives. If there is a change of outside circumstances, it’s no surprise to God, “who works all things after the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11). We have no reason to complain.

Businesspeople look around a changed landscape to see how to change what they do and how they do it to survive and even prosper. For Israel, God not only knew the radical change was coming, but He had already prepared them for the change. Telling them to prepare their provisions tells us that He had given them those provisions already.

When God changes our circumstances, we may feel blindsided and unprepared. But if we’ve been walking with Him, we’re not unprepared. We may have to employ previously unused skills and call on strengths we’re not sure we even have. But we are prepared, even if we don’t feel it.

If the Lord gave the children of Israel only three days to prepare their provisions, He knew that things were “ready to go.” If God gives us a challenge that seems absurd or impossible, it’s because He knows we’re “ready to go,” too.

Prayer: Father, help me to be more flexible and trusting when circumstances change quickly. Thank You that nothing is a surprise to You, and that You have given me everything I’m going to need to face every new challenge.

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