Set Apart With a Promise
A survey regarding the Holidays, 72 % of Americans enjoyed best going home and having people coming in to visit.
Preparation for going home for God’s people: today we are going to look back, look around, and look ahead.
God says to “Consecrate yourselves TODAY.” Genesis 15:18, God gave the descendants the land. For tomorrow, God will do something amazing in your midst. Consecrate means “set apart with a purpose.” Does God want to do something new in my life, my job, or my family? The people of Israel are about to step into a brand new chapter in their lives. Joshua and the spies had seen the land, Jericho was on the horizon. Their forty years of wandering have come to a close.
Look Back: Commanded the people regarding the ark, when it was time to move, they would break camp and follow the ark. Yet, they are told “don’t go near it.” It is Holy. Why keep your eyes on the ark? Because you have never gone this way before. To a place you’ve never been (geography) in a way you have never traveled (procedure). The point is: Don’t miss the way of the Lord, especially since this is all new.
There is a Problem – you’ve never gone here before. Luke 1:57, Jesus is to guide our feet in peace. Perhaps you have received a diagnosis, you never traveled this way before, a career change or obstacle, in your relationships, there are time we don’t know how to react. Jesus came to give light in darkness.
There is a Resolution – keep your eyes on the ark. Don’t perform a routine ceremony, but at his presence, we find he is in the past, present, and future. Looking back is okay, so we can see where God was faithful in the past. But don’t be like the minority report and the people, preferring to go back to Egypt, preferring the way things were before. Remember Keith Green, “So, you wanna go back to Egypt…”
The ark represented God moving his people in the right direction. In Numbers 14:40-45, God and the ark were a constant presence even in murmuring. The ark represented guidance. The tablets were in the ark, which was a testimony of God among his people.
Ken spoke of an Indian tradition, of boys transitioning to manhood, they would spend all night in the darkness, then when the sun rises, each would see the silhouette of their father with arrow drawn, protecting the boy all night. Psalm 125, always with us and faithful.
Look Around: Consecrate YOURSELVES. Is is not all on God, but some is on me. Holiness is my work, righteousness is on God. We are not passive in holiness, hoping God’s righteousness will rub off on us. It is not our attempt at goodness. Holiness will not happen unless we totally abandon ourselves to God.
Why travel 1000 yards behind the ark? To see it out front. They will no longer see the fire and the cloud. This is a procedural change that blew their minds. Also, the holiness of God’s presence, this is non-negotiable, they are to keep their eyes on the ark. This washing of clothing is not to look good, but represents a clean heart that belongs to God.
Application, 1 Peter 1:15, be Holy as God is holy. What in my life is not surrendered to Jesus? When we think we are clean, God says, “what about this, or that?”
Look Ahead: How much will I be a part of what God is going to do, in my life of in this church? What we do will not stop God’s plan. 1) This promise is THOROUGH, all people made it across the river. 2) God always MAKES a WAY, he may not act until we first step out in faith. 3) It was COMPLETE, all he said actually happened. This is Genesis 15:18 fulfilled, because the land was a step toward the full blessings for those alive in Christ.
Whatever is in the Jordan, these are the things which are between you and God’s promises. God will be with us, so don’t miss what he desires.