READ: Joshua 3:1-4:24 (esp., 3:1-6)
- One key element in Israel’s preparation to cross into the Promised Land was to create respect for God and His presence. The most visible feature of that respect was distance. The people were to give God’s ark a 2,000 cubit (1,500 feet) berth before following. They were to stay approximately 500 paces away. It was a symbol of their respect for God’s holiness and power. They needn’t be near because God needed no protection from His enemies.
- But, they were also to consecrate themselves. That may have indicated a ritual bathing followed by a prayerful anointing with oil. They were to prepare themselves to be in God’s presence and to follow His lead. Consecrating oneself is a sign of respect. God is worthy of our preparation to come into His presence and to follow His lead. Anything less could indicate that our allegiance is really not fully toward Him.
- We may not have specific instructions for how to prepare for the presence of God. And in our day, it would surely be different than in Israel’s context. But, certainly our hearts should be oriented to God. Time should be spent contemplating our experience of God’s presence. Openness should be sought to hear from God. Humility should be cultivated to obey God. In other words, one’s inner world should be continually evaluated and prepared.
- Describe your preparation for coming into God’s presence.
- How does living in God’s presence constantly impact your thoughts of consecrating yourself?
- What might indicate that we are too haphazard about God’s presence?
Thank God that He receives us as we are. Pray that your heart is prepared to enter His presence. Commit yourself to a constant practice of consecration.