And commanded the people: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God carried by the Levitical priests, you are to break camp and follow it. But keep a distance of about a thousand yards between yourselves and the ark. Don’t go near it, so that you can see the way to go, for you haven’t traveled this way before.” (Joshua 3:3-4, Christian Standard Bible)
Sometimes I wonder how I ever got from Point A to Point B in the days before I had a GPS on my cell phone. Other days, when that same GPS leads me astray, I still wonder. It’s a well-known fact that I have little sense of direction. That’s why on more than one occasion I’ve been heard to mutter, “Oh, I’ve been lost here before.” I’m not a quick learner. If you see someone turning around in your driveway or a car making a U-turn on a busy street, it may just be me—confused again.
Traveling the Unknown
Taking an unknown road can be exciting. Or scary. Or both. This is where the children of Israel found themselves in Joshua chapter three. At last, after forty years of wandering in the wilderness—which is another whole story—they prepare to enter the Promised Land. They face new experiences, new miracles, new battles, and new victories. The instructions are clear: follow the ark but stay far enough back so you can see the right way to go. You haven’t gone this way before, but the Lord will lead you.
No doubt the priests carrying the ark had heard stories of the Red Sea rolling back as their forefathers left Egypt, but those were the miracles of another generation. Now they were the ones walking toward the Jordan River’s swollen banks. Would a miracle also happen for them? Would the waters roll back—or cover them? They stepped forward and were suddenly on–dry ground!
Our Eyes on Him
When God directs us onto a road we’ve never traveled, we can feel excited. But we can also feel afraid. After all, we haven’t gone this way before. Are we going to get our feet wet? Will the waters roll back—or cover our heads? The only way to find out is to keep walking forward. Keep our eyes on the Lord. He will direct our steps and keep us safe.
“The LORD is the one who will go before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or abandon you. Do not be afraid or discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8, CSB)
Is God asking you to do something new? Is He leading you to a place you’ve never been? Don’t be afraid you’ll get your feet wet. You may just discover you’re firmly standing on dry ground.
Prayer: Lord, give me the faith to boldly step out into the unknown place You are calling me. It may be to give a Bible study to a friend or to minister to those in prison. Or perhaps You want me to share my testimony with a neighbor. Whatever You ask of me, You will not send me alone. You will equip me and go with me.