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October 24, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Early the next morning Joshua and all the Israelites left Acacia Grove and arrived at the banks of the Jordan River, where they camped before crossing. Three days later the Israelite officers went through the camp, giving these instructions to the people: ‘When you see the Levitical priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord your God, move out from your positions and follow them. Since you have never traveled this way before, they will guide you. Stay about half a mile behind them, keeping a clear distance between you and the Ark. Make sure you don’t come any closer.’"—Joshua 3:1–4 (NLT)
There’s something so powerful and beautiful about this passage to me. Here, the soldiers were instructed to get up and follow when they saw “the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord your God.”
Some of you may be wondering what the Ark of the Covenant is. Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I heard the Ark referenced in church, so it’s possible this is the first time you’re reading about it. It’s also possible that your only exposure to the Ark of the Covenant comes from the 1981 Raiders of the Lost Ark film.
So, what is the Ark? Well, In Exodus 25:10, God commands Moses to build an ark from acacia wood. Inside would be the tablets upon which the Law was written, Aaron’s staff, and a jar of manna. It was adorned with a gold plate with two cherubs with raised wings on top. It was beautiful. But here’s the most amazing and profound thing about the Ark: it represented the presence of God in the midst of His people.
This is why this verse speaks to me so strongly. When the presence of the Lord moves, we move! When we hear His voice, we listen. When the Lord leads, we follow. When we die, this passage should be what is used to summarize how we lived our lives. It should be said of each and every believer that we were always following after the presence of God.
So, you may be wondering how this applies to our everyday life. Well, speaking practically, we embody the idea of this passage by living in accordance with Scripture. We exemplify it by modeling our lives after Christ and His apostles. We do not move in pursuit of our own desires, we do not move in pursuit of worldly distractions, we are not moved by philosophies or movements that stand in opposition to the truth of God’s Word. In fact, we consider the pursuit of anything else “worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8 NLT).
It won’t always be convenient or easy to move only when we see Him move. Sometimes it will require a lot of self-control, perseverance, and prayer to resist the temptation of moving as the world moves or as our sinful nature desires. But if we are faithful in moving in pursuit of His presence, our lives will honor our Heavenly Father and bring glory to the name of Jesus!
DIG: What was so special about the Ark of the Covenant?
DISCOVER: How have you seen the Spirit moving you in the past? What’s happened in your life when you have found yourself following something other than the presence of the Lord?
DO: Commit today to moving only when the Lord leads, following after His presence and His will. Repeat this commitment tomorrow and every day
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.