Joshua and all the people of Israel were now on their way. Unlike their ancestors, this generation would fulfill the promise and enter the land flowing with milk and honey. However, the journey would be long; the business would be arduous. It would take a lot of trust and complete obedience. God already knew the battles and wars that they would have to face in the near future; battles that could only be won with God on their side. In the meantime, God had to build their trust slowly.
A message was being delivered to all the people “When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the Levitical priests carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. 4 Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about two thousand cubits[a] between you and the ark; do not go near it.” (vs 3, 4)
God was about to do another miracle, similar to the parting of the Red Sea. The Ark had gone ahead of the people. As soon as the carriers touched the water, the sea began to “pile up in a great heap” (16). God’s made provision for his children once again.
Here are four key points from this chapter:
1. You have to move.
God’s people were made for great works; purposes and plans he created in advance. The people were told, “When you see the ark of the covenant-move out.”
2. You have to trust and don’t go ahead of God.
The people were told, to follow the ark because “you have never been this way before”. They were also told to follow behind the ark.
3. God will make a way when there is no humanly feasible way.
God is all about parting seas and doing what is not humanly possible. He must get a real kick out of it. I know I do when I experience it. It’s just another one of the ways that He says, “I love you”.
4. So “they” may know. (See vs 7)
Many times we think our life is our own and it’s not. God uses us and blesses us in order that “they”, nonbelievers, may know the Living God. We blow this one all the time when we keep His good works to ourselves. When we should run out and tell people the good news of Jesus, not just about salvation, but of every good and perfect gift and how it all comes from Him, our Loving Father, a Father who wants to love them just the same.
Side Note: Because of this event, because of their obedience, in Joshua 5, all the Amorite kings “hearts melted” and were so afraid that they no longer “had the courage to face the Israelites”. God was mightily at work even ahead of Joshua and his people.