July 22, 2013 — Leave a comment

one.001.001There’s an old recipe for rabbit stew that begins, “First, catch the rabbit…” Though it may seem a bit obvious, at least the writer of the recipe understood the importance of keeping first things first; and when it comes to exercising faith, it’s important to make sure first things really are first in our own hearts.

The “first thing” for us is that God is the one leading us—and we aren’t being led by our own desires for promotion, comfort, recognition, safety, or complacency. We can seek the Holy Spirit as He searches our hearts and shows us if  anything else occupies the place of prominence in our lives that He alone has claim to.

In Joshua 3, the Israelites are taking an impossible next step in crossing the Jordan River at flood stage. They know that God has led them to do so…and their experience serves as a profound lesson for us as we seek God’s design for our own next steps as his Body.

The Ark of the covenant is mentioned NINE TIMES in the passage—and until now, it hasn’t been mentioned at all in the book. Remember, the Ark is a sign and symbol of God’s presence with his people and serves as a war standard going before them. Here’s what we find in the chapter:

When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God…
…keep a distance of about two thousand cubits between you and the ark…

Joshua said to the priests, ‘take up the ark of the covenant…’

Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant…

See, the ark of the covenant of the LORD of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you.

…the priests who carry the ark of the LORD…

…As soon as the priests who carried the ark…

…the priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD…

It’s pretty obvious that the presence and leadership of God (and the clear, physical reminder of this presence and leadership in the from of the Ark) were of upmost importance to those about to cross the Jordan River.  There was something significant to Joshua and the nation about having the Ark present and going before the people–everything in its proper order.

Before we take steps of faith, the giver of faith needs to be foremost in our lives. If we are in Christ and he is in the place of prominence in our lives, we know we have His leadership, His comfort, His direction, and His hope as we strive in pursuit of His Kingdom. The reality is, if we take a step of faith without having first things first, it’s probably not a step of faith at all…and is more likely an exercise in the worship of self.

As we pray for God to demonstrate his continued power and presence among us, our call is to set first things first in our hearts; to die to self and seek His Kingdom, relying on His faithfulness for the right outcome at the right time.

Jeremiah Gomez

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I am on a journey...enjoying the adventure of learning to live a life that isn't my own.

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