Solid Ground (Joshua 3:17)

And the priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan while all Israel crossed on dry ground, until all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan.

Joshua 3:17

In context, this verse is bout Israel beginning to receive the promises God had made to their ancestors — Abraham, Isaac, Jacob — and enter into the Promised Land. A few things stood out to me.

First, the priests were standing firm on dry ground. To me, this spoke of what it is to follow God and live in obedience to Him. When we live obedient lives to God, we also stand firm and the ground beneath our feet is not slippery or muddy, but is dry and able to support us.

Second, the priests were carrying the ark of the covenant of the LORD when they stood on dry ground. The ark was a symbol of God’s presence and was the place where God would meet with the high priest. But it is also a reminder. The ark contains a jar of manna to remind Israel of God’s provision; the rod of Aaron that blossomed to remind Israel of God’s choice (and that God does choose individuals for His work; the tablets with the Ten Commandments written on them to remind Israel of God’s standards. The ark, if I were to seek a parallel in my life, would be similar to my cross. A cross is an obvious thing — big, clunky, ungainly, meant to kill me — and serves as reminder of God’s calling (Jesus tells everyone who follows Him to take up our cross), God’s standards (my cross is meant to put to death my old man), and God’s provision (God provided Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of us all).

Third and last, the priests stood in the middle of the Jordan while all Israel crossed. The priests’ bearing of the ark into the river enabled the entry of the Israelites — God’s chosen people — into the Promised Land. If I bear testimony to what God has done and continues to do then my life; my stand will become an entry point into God’s grace. Not that I do anything, but that others realize that the same God who has saved me wants to save them. All I do is stand witness and the power of God is manifested to bring others into the promises of God.

In summary: An obedient life gives me a firm foundation; dry ground to stand on. Carrying my cross — which is an act of obedience — serves as a reminder of God’s provision (Jesus died on a cross to save us), God’s choice (He chose us), and God’s standard (everyone who wants to live Godly must crucify the old man). My stand in obedience to God may become a point of entry for others to enter into the promises of God; a place where people see Jesus, come to Him, and are saved.

The priests didn’t say a word, but their obedience spoke volumes. Likewise my obedience can speak to others without me ever having to open my mouth — but I should be ready to give a reason for the hope in me to anyone who asks.

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