When I was five months pregnant with my first son I had this amazing opportunity to preach in the young adults service at the church we worked at in Houston.
While I'm sure I felt comfortable preaching, looking back I wonder how many people were really worried I was going to go into labor as I was speaking. (I should have faked them out...noted for next time)
I remember preparing for it and I remember it felt like the Holy Spirit was speaking to me faster than I could write.
The ark of the covenant.
Sounds really Indiana Jones.
When Joshua was leading the people into the promise land there were some very specific instructions that needed to be followed.
The priests had to carry the ark of the covenant a certain distance in front of the people. And the people were told not to get to close it to it. They had to keep it in front of them. The ark of the covenant is thought to have looked like this:
The scripture says:
Yet there shall be a distance between you and it, about 2,000 cubits in length. Do not come near it, in order that you may know the way you shall go, for you have not passed this way before." - Joshua 3:4
Now what's significant about the ark of the covenant wasn't just the actual ark itself but what was inside the ark.
A jar of manna
The staff of Aaron
And the stone tablets with the law
If I've learned anything about God, everything is significant.
This ark had been with the people but now we see it going forward, finally into the promise land.
The people having to keep their eyes on it. Their perspective fixed. God specifically says keep it within sight because you have not gone this way before.
They were going to a place they had not been. And God was leading them there.
He was leading them with
a jar of manna, representing his miraculous provision
the staff of Aaron, representing his authority
and the commandments, representing his word
How beautiful is that! God leading his people and telling them keep your eyes fixed on my miraculous provision, my authority, and my word as I lead you into my promise.
I need that everyday.
I need to keep my gaze fixed on who God is.
He is my provider, my authority, and my law and my grace.
And as I head into the unknown places, the place I've never been before, I need to keep my perspective on these things.
I need to keep my focus fixed.