“Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you” (Joshua 3:5).
To consecrate has many meanings. One of them is to “keep oneself apart or separate.” Joshua instructed the Israelite nation to do this before they entered Cannon. They were facing danger – eminent war!
They were up against the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. These “ites” worshiped other gods and practiced despicable acts in the sight of the Lord. They were quite influential. Therefore, God’s plan was to – one by one – over a period of time – remove these people from the land that He had promised Israel through Abraham. During this time of removal, God was very instructive to the Israelite people, “Do not make a covenant with these people or with their gods. Do not let them live in your land or they will cause you to sin against me, because the worship of their gods will certainly be a snare to you” (Exodus 23:32-33).
In keeping with God’s instructions, the Israelites were to keep themselves apart and separate from anything that would influence them away from God’s mission. Interestingly, (in this point and time), it would take a whole day, for it was tomorrow that God would do amazing things among them. How did they consecrate themselves? They were cleansed ceremoniously by walking through the Jordan River on dry ground. Their faith was tested, their endurance was tried, and their obedience was practiced meticulously. God gave them specific orders in how to cross through the Jordan River, how to carry the Ark of the Covenant, how far from the ark to be, what stones to recover from the Jordan River and where to place them as a memorial. Each instruction was a test of obedience, devotion, and consecration – all in preparation for what was about to happen the following day.
As I read this, I couldn’t help but think about the American churches of today. How many preachers, ministers, lay leaders, and congregants actually consecrate themselves the day before service? How many truly allow God to test their faith, try their endurance, and practice their obedience before the Sunday service comes. How many take a whole day in preparation for the great things God is going to do on the morrow? Do we go about our business, living as any other day, not preparing for the upcoming battle we face on Sunday? Indeed, we face a battle every week, on every Sunday.
We may not be fighting Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites, but we are certainly fighting “ites.” They come in the form of parasites: the parasite of fear, the parasite of depression, the parasite of apathy, the parasite of animosity among believers, the parasite of habitual sin in the lives our church family – sin that is never dealt with, challenged or reconciled. We are up against the god of this culture that sadly is infiltrating our churches. Why? Because we have chosen not to consecrate ourselves for a whole day before battle. Therefore, what we experience on a Sunday morning is mediocre; not amazing things God can do. We may very well be serving as the dam that keeps Jesus only knocking on our doors wanting to come in.
We may not be crossing the Jordan River to prepare for battle, but there are ways we can increase our faith, prepare for endurance and learn tenacious obedience to God. For a whole day before Sunday, we can prepare ourselves in the River of prayer, in surrender to our Rock, Jesus; we can allow His Presence to be our Guide, and let the scriptures wash us from sin and ready us with the sword of truth. Trust me when I say this: when we consecrate ourselves like this the day before Sunday, we can be assured that we will see God do amazing things among our people. Every “ite” that wants to eat away at God’s people will be demolished right before our very eyes!
Keep yourself from the world, its influences and it’s deceptions. Take yourself out of the world and into God’s presence for a whole day. Consecrate yourselves, so God can combat the gods that want to pilfer God’s salvation from His people.
“Now when all the Amorite Kings west of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings along the cost heard how the Lord had dried up the Jordan before the Israelites until they had crossed over, their hearts melted in fear and they no longer had the courage to face the Israelites” (Joshua 5:1).
“Submit yourselves then to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
Come, Lord Jesus, come!
I lift up our church family this week that we would each ready ourselves for the battle on Sunday. Consecrate us, Lord. Draw our hearts to you so that we are fully prepared in faith, devotion, endurance, and obedience to do Your will!
In Jesus name,
Joshua 3 & 4