The children of Israel began their preparation for crossing the Jordan River by taking a spiritual inventory. They are not to simply count their men, but also told to look deeper at the posture of their hearts. Their future journey would take them through a road unfamiliar but not unknown to God (Joshua 3:4).
They are not commissioned to implement a new military strategy, nor do they come away armed with the latest military weapons. Instead, they are called to consecrate themselves. How strange! In the midst of preparing for warfare, they are commissioned for worship. Why? Because the children of Israel are being prepared for a display of God’s mighty power. The assembled group have only heard stories of the crossing of the Red Sea, but now they must be prepared to have their own encounter with the God of wonders.
Consecration refers to preparation for a holy encounter. Do we wake up with anticipation, ready to experience the power of God in our lives? It’s easy for our hearts to become so calloused and numb toward the mundane activity of following our calendars that we fail to anticipate encounters with God. But we must make the cognizant choice to step away from distraction and ready our hearts and minds to experience our God’s presence not only in anticipation of struggle, but every day.
How can we look toward a tomorrow when we live in the reality of today? Unrealistic expectations of life, ourselves, and our responsibilities seem to compound activity after activity, day after day. Yet, Joshua heeds the Word of the Lord that tomorrow breeds expectation. Joshua’s knowledge and personal experience of Israel’s God remind him that God’s mission is bigger than any one individual (Joshua 1:2). He is bigger than any one person’s feelings of inadequacy (Exodus 3:10–11).
What do you expect from God? What if we were to expect no more but also no less than the very presence of our loving God? We constantly need the reminder that God’s leading is what draws us into experiencing His power and blessing. But this comes into fruition under God’s terms and not our own.
Joshua’s confidence in the Lord is rooted in his personal experience with Him (Joshua 1:5–8). And because of his personal encounter with God, Joshua can stand on God’s promises regardless of outside circumstances. Missionary and writer J. Oswald Sanders says, “When God ordains our service, he is morally obligated to see us through.” Indeed, God’s promises never fail.
The call of God’s people is not to lean on their own capacities but to trust the God of history, in Scripture, and in their own lives. He invites us to share in His amazing wonders. The future crossing of the Jordan River and the conquest of Canaan begin with the explicit command to make ready to be used by God. Because the Lord is ready and waiting to do wonders among us.